Research

Broadly speaking, my research interests are primarily related to the durability and long-term performance of sustainable concrete structures. I am especially interested in the effects of concrete composition and long-term deterioration on structural behaviour. Please click on the Students tab for a summary of current projects.

Sustainable Concrete Structures

The construction industry as a whole is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases worldwide and generates huge amounts of construction and demolition waste. To break the cycle, we need to find ways to:

a) reduce our dependency on non-renewable materials and high-energy/high-emission manufacturing processes

b) re-use structural components from decommissioned structures

c) recycle materials that cannot be re-used in their present form

As the eco-efficiency of our concrete materials is optimized to minimize our environmental footprint (e.g. through the use of low cement content concrete and/or recycled concrete aggregates), the validity of conventional assumptions linking concrete materials and structural behaviour must be assessed to ensure that new sustainable infrastructure is safe, resilient, and re-usable at the end of its service life.

Aging Concrete Structures

At the same time, technology is now allowing us to build “smart” structures so that we can make performance-based decisions regarding maintenance and repairs. Advanced sensing systems are available that can give us a wide range of information about the performance of in-service structures. However, to properly apply this information through a comprehensive management strategy, more research is needed to investigate how concrete structures are actually affected by changes in material characteristics over time.

Many structures worldwide are affected by one or more forms of deterioration. The structural implications of distress in aging concrete infrastructure induced by various deterioration mechanisms (e.g. expansion caused by internal swelling reactions) are not well understood. More research is therefore needed to apply diagnostic and prognostic tools to quantify risk and select remedial measures, such that the continued performance and safety of affected structures can be ensured.

The motivation for my research is to contribute new knowledge with respect to the fundamental relationships between the characteristics of concrete materials and their intended structural application. For more information on current projects, please contact me at MartinNoel@uOttawa.ca.