{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

spring 2001

Message from the Head Expanding our outreach to the professional community, recruiting the best and the brightest faculty, enhancing our infrastructure, and providing the environment necessary to carry out firstrate research are four vital focuses of the Department highlighted in this edition of our newsletter. With the first objective in mind, the inaugural meeting of the Department’s Advisory Council was held in November 2000, and the second meeting will take place in July. The Council includes professionals drawn from the public and private sectors and from various disciplines within civil engineering. They will advise the Department on industry trends that are likely to have an impact on the knowledge needs and employment opportunities for our graduates as well as on pressing problems that require research. Specific terms of reference are outlined in a separate article, together with the current membership of the Council. Recently, two new appointments have been made: Dr. Dharma Wijewickreme (“Wije”) as Associate Professor in geotechnical engineering and Dr. Susan Nesbit as Instructor I. Dr. Wijewickreme brings a wealth of experience from industry and provides us with important continuity on the experimental front in his field. Dr. Nesbit’s appointment reflects a shift in departmental philosophy inasmuch as we are now exploring the potential of having a small cadre of highly qualified individuals whose primary interest lies in SPRING 2001

undergraduate teaching. Important advantages include the ability to address some of the heavy teaching loads in the Department and to experiment with innovative course delivery modes such as on-line and project-based learning. I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Greg Lawrence of the Department to a senior (Tier 1) Canada Research Chair (CRC) in the area of environmental fluid mechanics. The acquisition of this Chair will allow us to create an additional position in this very important field. Dr. Lawrence’s appointment is one of two to date for civil engineers in Canada and recognizes his outstanding contributions to our discipline. We continue to seek a suitable candidate, preferably with expertise in soil-structure interaction, for another CRC position in earthquake engineering. It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract the best and the brightest academics to new faculty positions. The market is highly competitive, and we are often at a disadvantage in terms of salaries, start-up monies, and infrastructure, compared to our American counterparts (and in some instances, other regions of Canada). On the positive side, the very significant contributions of several faculty members— past and present (Byrne, Finn, Navin, Vaid, and Ventura)—have been recognized with a number of awards. We continue to seek opportunities to enhance the physical infrastructure of the civil engineering environment here at UBC. A modest but important addition to our materials laboratory has just been completed. This was truly a collaborative effort, as funding was contributed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, industry, the Department, and the Dean’s

In this issue: Advisory Council formed Greg Lawrence earns Canada Research Chair People Spotlight on materials research Co-op experience counts at Delcan BC Hydro maximizes power & student potential Adjunct professorship addesses building science and building envelope design New addition provides boost Update on Earthquake 99 project Designer in Residence expands student horizons Civil students race to first place Achievements Recent events & announcements

Office. In addition, preliminary design work is progressing on the new earthquake research facility: our original concept is being modified so that two shake tables can be housed—one having six degrees of freedom, the other a large linear table that should prove to be invaluable for full-scale experiments on structures such as residential housing and underground pipelines. As in previous newsletters, the research of one of our specialty groups is highlighted in this issue: materials-related work by Professors Banthia, Mindess, and Vaziri is outlined. This work is highly significant in terms of maintaining and enhancing the vast infrastructure that is central to the effective functioning of modern society. As always, I welcome any comments you might have in regard to this issue of the newsletter. Please contact me at adr@civil.ubc.ca with your insights and suggestions. CIVIL ENGINEERING at UBC


Advisory Council formed to assist Department In place of our regular feature, “A View from the Marketplace,” we are pleased to introduce our new Civil Engineering Advisory Council. In addition to advising the Department, we hope to call upon Council members to provide their own “views on the marketplace” on an ongoing basis. We encourage you to watch for their insights and opinions in future issues of Civil Engineering News.

On November 30, 2000, the Department of Civil Engineering hosted the inaugural meeting of its newly formed Advisory Council. Current external membership draws on leaders from all corners of industry and consists of Jack Bryck (Professional Engineer, Dayton & Knight Ltd.), Steve Davis (VP, Ledcor Power Inc.), Dev Fraser (VP, Corporate Services, PCL), Tom Heath (Manager of Operations & Maintenance Department, GVRD), Al Imrie (Manager, Technical Services, B.C. Hydro), Pat Jacobsen (CEO, Translink), Bill Kendrick, (VP, Westmar Consultants Inc.), Hew McConnell, (VP, Asset Management, Earth Tech Inc.), and Dave Rudberg (General Manager of Engineering Services, City of Vancouver). “In forming Council, our main goal was to allow a useful and candid exchange of views between the Department and industry, with the latter being defined in its broadest sense,” explained Civil Engineering Department Head Alan Russell. With this in mind, the kinds of issues that the Department will seek input on include:

• Trends in the marketplace that it should be aware of and which should or could affect its undergraduate program and or graduate programs and future hiring; • Views on the strengths and weaknesses of its students; • Views on the strengths and weaknesses of its programs; • Knowledge needs and how the Department may respond to them (research, curriculum changes, short courses, workshops, distance education, presence on the web, etc); • Opportunities for collaboration with industry, including greater use of its partnership program, use of the co-op program, joint research initiatives, etc.; • Special opportunities (e.g. Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs program, etc) and how best to capitalize on them; • How to attract the best and the brightest (students and faculty); • Raising the profile of civil engineering as an essential and exciting discipline with industry, government, and the general public, particularly the younger generation;

• Other topics as deemed important from time-to-time. “From a Department perspective, the intent is to listen more than talk,” noted Dr. Russell. “We’re particularly interested in gathering input and advice on issues and areas of importance that are not currently represented within the Department.” The Council is scheduled to meet twice a year, once in the Fall, and once in the Spring. The complete Council composition is as follows: • A maximum of 10 members from industry, including government, with membership being drawn from all major areas of the discipline of Civil Eng.; • Department group leaders representing the areas of construction (T. Froese), environmental (D. Mavinic), geotechnical (J. Howie), hydrotechnical (B. Lence), materials (N. Banthia), structures (R. Sexsmith), and transportation engineering (F. Navin); • The Head of the Department, who Chairs Council meetings; and, • The Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science (ex-officio member of the Council).

Dr. Greg Lawrence awarded Canada Research Chair In its 2000 budget, the Government of Canada provided $900 million to support the establishment of 2000 Canada Research Chairs at Universities across the country. Dr. Greg Lawrence is one of only two Civil Engineers in all of Canada to have been awarded a Canada Research Chair to date. The award recognizes his reputation as a world leader in the field of Environmental Fluid Mechanics, which is the study of fluid motions that relate to human activities within, and concern about, the environment. Dr. Lawrence’s primary focus concerns the fluid mechanics of inland and coastal waters on the water quality, chemistry and biology of those waters. During this century, water is destined to replace oil as the world’s most valuable commodity. The continuing availability of clean, fresh water is the basis for the existence of human societies and economies. Even in Canada, with an estimated 40% of the world’s freshwater resources, we are far from achieving long-term sustainable strategies for water use. Dr. Lawrence is driven by a desire to solve the problems associated with the use and misuse of water —problems that often have a strong fluid mechanics component. Many of Dr. Lawrence’s research projects involve investigation and development of techniques to minimize the environmental impact of waste discharges, and to restore water systems already affected by pollution. His understanding of the fluid mechanics of lakes helped provide the City of Kelowna with an explanation for the Cryptosporidium outbreaks in 1996. The Canada Research Chair, coupled with the CFI New Opportunities program for chairholders, will enable UBC to strengthen its Environmental Fluid Mechanics Research, by providing funding for laboratory and field equipment, and enabling the Department to hire a junior professor to complement Dr. Lawrence’s work. The increased activity in this field will guide engineering practices that will help keep our water clean and safe. For more information about research activities associated with the new Canada Research Chair, contact Dr. Lawrence at (604) 822-5371 or lawrence@civil.ubc.ca. 2



People Meet the faces of Civil Engineering at UBC Dr. Dharma Wijewickreme, P.Eng., specialist in advanced geotechnical testing Dr. Wijewickreme joined the Department as an Associate Professor in January 2001. His general field of specialty is geotechnical engineering with specific expertise in the arena of advanced laboratory testing of soils. Prior to joining UBC, Dr. Wijewickreme served as an Associate Partner of Golder Associates, a global group of companies providing earth engineering and environmental science services. At Golder’s, he acquired some 11 years of industry experience in the fields of seismic design, ground improvement, soil-structure interaction analyses, and pipeline geotechnical engineering. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in geotechnical engineering at UBC, Dr. Wijewickreme’s geotechnical research interests range from element level laboratory studies involving complex stress/strain path testing, to relatively large-size physical model studies that simulate “close-to-real-life” problems. He believes that there is a strong need for the continuation and enhancement of application-oriented geotechnical research. Some of the laboratory research areas he intends to pursue include: (a) stress-strain response of natural silts; (b) earthquake response of gravelly soils; and (c) physical model (including shake-table) studies in relation to soil-structure/pipe-soil interaction as well as ground improvement. Dr. Wijewickreme intends to seek opportunities for collaborative efforts with industry partners.

Dr. Susan Nesbit, P. Eng., Instructor Dr. Nesbit joined the Department as an Instructor I in December 2000. She brings to the position a broad background encompassing expertise in colloidal chemistry, experience as a part-time owner and sometimes skipper of a West Coast salmon gill-netter, and knowledge earned through a degree in post-Confederation Canadian history. As an educator, she has had sessional lectureship appointments in UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science as well as the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. This has allowed her to explore novel teaching methods and technologies and to pursue her strong interest in the effects of social and environmental concerns on engineering practice, including sustainability. As a research engineer, she has experience in the process of scientific discovery including statistical experimental design and pilot-plant design. Dr. Nesbit contributes to the Department’s activities in a number of ways including teaching CIVL 225 – Computer Applications in Civil Engineering, CIVL 403 – Engineering Economic Analysis, and APSC 262 – Technology and Society II, and Civil 215 – Fluid Mechanics I. Dr. Nesbit holds undergraduate degrees in Arts and Applied Science and a PhD in Chemical Engineering. She completed all of her studies at UBC. She is a Professional Engineer and a member of several associations including, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, the Canadian Institute of Chemistry, and the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers.

Brian Samuels, P. Eng., Sessional Lecturer Since 1994, Brian Samuels has taught the Department’s graduate course in Construction Law as a Sessional Lecturer. He also serves as a guest lecturer to the fourth-year class, providing instruction on engineering ethics and conflict of interest. Brian is a lawyer at Samuels & Co., where he practices primarily in the area of construction litigation. He earned his B.Eng. (Civil) from McGill University in 1978 and his MBA from UBC in 1982, and practised as a construction and formwork engineer with PCL Constructors as well as Stevenson Construction in Vancouver for five years. His primary focus was high-rise office towers. After graduating in law from the University of Victoria in 1987, he practiced with Russell & DuMoulin in Vancouver and with Lee & Associates in Denver, Colorado. Brian is a former Chair of the Construction Law subsection of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, and acts as counsel to many contracting firms, engineering consultants and other participants in the construction industry. He has authored numerous articles on construction law, and wrote the textbook Construction Law (Prentice Hall, 1996). He recently served as co-editor and contributor to the textbook, Expert Evidence in British Columbia Civil Proceedings, published in 2001 by Continuing Legal Education. Brian also participates as a member of the Act and By-Laws Committee of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC. ...People continued on page 6 SPRING 2001




Spotlight on materials research activities Faculty members engaged in materials research currently comprise Drs. Sidney Mindess, Nemy Banthia and Reza Vaziri. (Dr. Vaziri is also a member of the Structures Group in Civil Engineering and has a joint appointment with the Dept. of Metals and Materials Engineering at UBC). Their activities include fundamental and applied research on a variety of topics ranging from traditional civil engineering materials (concrete and its reinforced derivatives) to advanced lightweight composite materials used in the aerospace and defence industries.

CIVIL ENGINEERING MATERIALS Research in high performance and fiber reinforced concrete and shotcrete with Professors Banthia and Mindess

Concrete is the most used construction material of our time. Canada alone consumes nearly 75 million cubic meters of concrete every year in all forms of construction. Any attempts at improving the properties of concrete including its strength, cracking resistance and durability, therefore, have far-reaching commercial and social implications. Over the years, Professors Banthia and Mindess (the Group) have led a number of round-robin test programs for the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and RILEM (Paris). These efforts have resulted in ASTM, CSA, and RILEM standards. The Group is recognized for its unique expertise in the impact testing of concrete; it has developed test techniques and instrumented impact testing machines varying in capacity from as low as 50 Joules to as high as 30000 Joules. One major research initiative is in the area of cement reduction in concrete. Every ton of cement production releases nearly one ton of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the environment. With the Kyoto Protocol in place, there is ever-increasing pressure on the industry to reduce cement in concrete. One way of achieving this is by replacing up to 50% of cement content in concrete with industrial by-products such as fly ash, silica fume, blast furnace slag and metakaolin. Through research, the Group is addressing some of the negative aspects of high volume cement replacement such as delayed setting times. Another prominent area of research being pursued is that of high performance shotcrete. Our shotcrete laboratory is possibly the best equipped in the world, with industrial scale shotcrete pumps and 4


Sprayed Composites for Repairs: A new method of sprayed fiber reinforced plastics pioneered at UBC for repair of our aging infrastructure. The project is funded by NCEIntelligent Sensing of Innovative Structures. measurement systems. Over the years, the Group has worked with major international companies; these efforts have led not only to improved shotcrete pumps and nozzles but also to improved processes, new admixtures, better quality control techniques and improved measurement methods. A major challenge being addressed by the Group is in the area of improving both short-term performance and long-term durability of concrete and shotcrete through fiber reinforcement. Concrete is reinforced with 20-60 mm long randomly distributed fibers of steel, glass or polymeric materials, resulting in very high fracture toughness so that in many applications traditional steel reinforcing bars may be completely eliminated. With an annual world-wide consumption of fibers in concrete or shotcrete exceeding 200 million kilograms, it is anticipated that fiber reinforcement will eventually replace or supplement conventional steel reinforcement in many applications including airport runways, machine foundations, earthquake resistant buildings, impact buffers, defense shelters, highway barriers, tunnel linings and heavy

duty industrial floors. The Group has been a world leader in this field and has, in conjunction with its industry partners, developed several fibers with worldwide patents. These developments have involved interfacial modifications and advanced modeling of fiber-matrix micromechanics. Through high-speed photography, the Group has developed models of fiber kinematics in shotcrete stream, laying the foundation for both process optimization and improved fiber designs. These efforts recently led to a new fiber being patented by the Group as the ‘DD’ fiber. This fiber is based on a unique ‘double-anchoring’ concept displaying the minimal rebound of all fibers and providing significantly higher toughness over all other commercially available fibers. Like most of North America and the rest of the industrialized world, British Columbia is currently facing the problem of a deteriorating concrete infrastructure. This situation, combined with an ever-present seismic risk in some areas makes the need for repair, rehab, and retrofit both urgent and critical. SPRING 2001

Fundamental research in shotcreting is a major endeavour where achievements include development of a patent new fiber with much lower rebound & highly improved toughness

Within the auspices of NCE – Intelligent Sensing of Innovative Structures, the Group has pioneered the development of a highly innovative method of repair and strengthening using sprayed fiber reinforced polymers. A composite comprised of an optimized hybrid polymer formulation and appropriate fiber type and length is sprayed on the surface of concrete such that a well-bonded composite with a 2-D random distribution of fibers is obtained on the surface. A two orders of magnitude increase in the fracture energy absorption of concrete can be obtained by using this spray, and the cost comparisons with continuous fiber wraps/laminates indicate that the spray can be up to 50% cheaper. In a major study undertaken with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Highways (MoTH), the Group compared the newly developed technique of sprayed composites with that of continuous wraps for strengthening full-scale channel beams and found that the spray method provided a much greater increase in the ultimate loadcarrying capacity and ductility to the section. The MoTH has identified a number of bridges around the Province as candidates for spray application. One such bridge in the Kamloops area will be repaired using sprayed fibre reinforced polymers with embedded fiber-optic sensors for long term remote monitoring over the Internet. SPRING 2001

ADVANCED LIGHTWEIGHT COMPOSITES Numerical simulation and experimental characterization with Professor Vaziri

An issue that has been, and continues to be, of concern is the area of the protection of personnel using lightweight materials and structures. Personal protective items such as clothing, helmets and gloves essentially attempt to protect the wearer from either penetration by a sharp object or from blunt-

trauma while being light and comfortable to wear. Canadian military personnel on peacekeeping duty wear soft fibrereinforced fragment-resistant vests; police officers and paramedics wear bullet resistant vests for day-to-day protection; and high-speed rotating components such as aircraft turbines often have fabric barriers built around them. Some materials proven effective in personal protection applications include advanced fibre-reinforced materials made of aramid (Kevlarâ), ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, and glass fibres, which are either woven to form a soft fabric (textile) structure (e.g., clothing) or moulded into shape using a binding resin material to form a hard composite structure (e.g., helmets). Over the past twelve years, Dr. Reza Vaziri and his colleague Dr. Anoush Poursartip in the Dept. of Metals and Materials Engineering have worked closely with various research agencies in the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) as well as industrial establishments such as Pacific Safety Products, Inc. in Kelowna, B.C., which manufactures protective clothing and body armour. As a result of support from NSERC, DND and industrial collaborators, Drs. Vaziri and Poursartip and their graduate students have developed a novel experimental technique and computational modelling capability that together offer a unique way to study the response of materials subjected to high intensity impact loading. These events, by their very nature, occur over extremely short time duration, and the material behaviour is quite complex. ...continued on page 6

Finite element simulation of a projectile impacting a laminated composite plate made up of layers of woven Kevlar fabric reinforced phenolic resin (courtesy of Mr. Anthony Floyd, Ph.D. student). CIVIL ENGINEERING at UBC



continued from page 3...

Andrew J. Boyd, Ph.D., sets sights on University of Florida Andrew Boyd completed his Ph.D. in December 2000 and currently holds a tenure-track faculty position at the University of Florida. His Ph.D. research under the supervision of Dr. Banthia consisted of an investigation into the potential use of sprayed fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) for the rehabilitation of reinforced concrete structures. This novel concept pioneered by Dr. Banthia and his team was funded by the Network of Centres of Excellence ISIS program, the Ministry of Transportation & Highways of B.C. and NSERC. Though the use of FRPs in this capacity has been a popular research topic for some time, this is the first such work revolving around the use of sprayed FRPs. The successful results have generated a great deal of interest in the research community, in the rehabilitation industry and with government agencies on both sides of the border. Andrew expects to continue his research into this exciting and innovative concept, in collaboration with UBC, at the University of Florida. In addition to his Ph.D. research, Andrew was also involved in a number of other research projects, working with both Dr. Banthia and Dr. Mindess, resulting in a much broader range of experience and allowing him to publish extensively. He also gained a significant amount of experience in teaching, initially filling in for the occasional lecture and later acting as a sessional lecturer for larger portions of some materials courses. Andrew believes that all of his experiences at UBC have prepared him well for his exciting new position in Florida.

Undergraduate Brian Lee takes on Northwestern “Local boy makes good” is an old, but never unwelcome, story. Following UBC’s spring convocation, 23-year old Civil Engineering undergraduate student Brian Lee, will provide the next chapter on success as he heads off to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, with a US$90,000 scholarship to pursue graduate work in transportation planning. During his time at UBC, Brian has served as president of the Civil Engineering Student Club, contributed to extracurricular teams such as the Concrete Toboggan Race, established himself as a Dean’s Honour List student, and earned numerous other academic awards, including a $34,600 postgraduate scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), which he declined in favour of the Northwestern offer. In the last five years, Brian has developed a keen interest in transportation and social issues. In 1999, he took on the role of community consultant with UBC’s Downtown Eastside Initiative where he worked with non-profit groups, residents and community leaders to help determine how UBC could best contribute to and work within the community. Reflecting on the experience, Brian acknowledged his chosen field of engineering is, or should be, a very public matter. “People need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the choices they are making with respect to urban planning and transportation. I like the idea of empowering them to make the right choice at the start by helping them to understand the cause and effect of what is being proposed.” Brian is keeping his options open with respect to a career in academia, private industry or government. In the short term, he’s contemplating spending some time overseas working in less developed countries. Brian has called a lot of places home: He was born in Edmonton, but spent the first 10 years of his life in Hong Kong. Now, as he gets ready to move on again, he’s happy to add UBC to that list. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at UBC. I’ve made a lot of close friends here and I’ll always consider it part of my home.”


continued from page 5...

Spotlight on materials research activities A cost effective and efficient instrumentation technique has been developed at UBC to measure the displacement of the projectile and the target at any instant of time during the impact event. In this technique, called an Enhanced Laser Velocity Sensor (ELVS), continuous sheets of laser are positioned along the path of the projectile and target motion. Depending on the amount and rate at which these laser sheets are obscured by the portion of the projectile and the target material crossing them, different signatures of the projectile and target displacements are captured on an oscilloscope, then recorded and analysed using special data reduction techniques to yield the complete time history of the deformations. In addition, various mathematical modelling software tools have been developed at UBC, enabling systematic analysis of materials/ structures under impact. These computational models, based on the finite element method, have customized material constitutive models and other sophisticated numerical capabilities needed to handle the extremely fast and intense dynamic events that the material/structure undergoes. 6



Experience counts Civil Engineering co-op student Alan Nicholson develops real-world skills at Delcan Experience counts. Just ask any employer, or third-year Civil Engineering co-op student Alan Nicholson. While on his fourth co-op work term with the Canadianowned consulting firm, Delcan Corporation, Alan was surprised by the vast amount of responsibility he was given and the experience he gained in a short amount of time. Drawing on skills developed in past work terms with the GVRD and the District of Vancouver, Alan assisted Delcan’s structural engineering group with several major projects including the George Massey Tunnel Counterflow and the Front Street Parkade Rehabilitation for the City of New Westminster. He also Delcan’s Vice President, Steve Russell, congratulates Civil helped write an Expression of Interest for the design and field services for a co-op student Alan Nicholson on a successful work term. recycling receiving yard and a cost estimate for a $140 million corridor study. “Looking back on these projects, I feel like I got some real-world work experience and that I made a valuable contribution to Delcan,” reflected Alan. Delcan Vice President, Steve Russell, agreed with that assessment: “Our intent was two-pronged—to show a co-op student what our organization can do and to see what a student could do for us, perhaps creating an opportunity for employment after graduation. I’m happy to say that Alan did a great job for us and that we wouldn’t hesitate to offer him a position when he completes his degree in Civil Engineering.” Established in 1953, the Delcan Corporation is entirely owned and managed by its employees. It offers clients comprehensive, multidisciplinary services related to transportation systems, communications, highways, municipal roads and transit, water supply and sewerage treatment, manufacturing facilities and commercial and residential developments. Delcan has a global presence with branch and project offices in major cities throughout North America and around the world. For more information on the UBC Civil Engineering Co-op program or to hire a co-op student, contact Shawn Swallow at (604) 822-4280 or sswallow@unixg.ubc.ca

BC Hydro maximizes power & student potential Recently, BC Hydro committed $450,000 over three years to a new research program and adjunct professorship in Civil Engineering at UBC. The program will explore hydropower systems modeling and optimization with the objective of maximizing the gains from BC’s current system while maintaining high environmental standards and continuing to meet the energy needs of British Columbians. The opportunity to launch this program has come from many years of work by Emeritus Professors Denis Russell and Bill Caselton, who specialize in systems analysis and optimization of hydropower systems. “The rapid changes in power markets and technology and benefits associated with optimization initiatives have increased the need and value of such work,” noted Civil Engineering Department Head Alan Russell. The most recent notable contribution to this work is the Ph.D. thesis of Dr. Shawwash, which has helped to position UBC at the forefront of such work. In recognition of his contribution, Dr. Shawwash has taken up the abovementioned Adjunct Professorship as well as a Research Associate position.


“This program is targeted at BC Hydro’s core business,” emphasized BC Hydro’s Resource Manager, Kelly Lail. “In addition, the grant encourages UBC to continue offering courses in water resources management and hydropower engineering. It secures the collaborative research grant from NSERC for doing practical and innovative research. The internship program allows students to learn and contribute in a working environment at BC Hydro. It is a win-win case for the students, UBC and BC Hydro, and will help develop much needed expertise in our industry.” BC Hydro also sees the program as a chance to expose UBC’s Civil Engineering graduate students to exciting career and research opportunities in hydropower systems. In his role as Adjunct Professor, Dr. Ziad Shawwash, will lead the research program and also develop a course on hydropower systems, providing interested graduate students with knowledge of the technical and economic aspects of complex hydro systems, as well as the means of optimizing system performance. Also heavily involved is Emeritus Professor Denis Russell, who was Dr. Shawwash’s Ph.D. thesis supervisor.

“Like many North American companies faced with the demographics of an aging workforce, BC Hydro is looking for the next generation of power engineers. This research program will help ensure that hydropower engineering has a presence in UBC’s Civil Engineering curriculum, thereby introducing students to the complexity and sophistication of today’s power systems,” added Lail. Topics to be explored through the program include the development of an overall framework for the optimal operation of a hydro-electric system, shortterm optimization models, a dynamic optimal unit commitment model, a shortterm marginal value model, optimal maintenance scheduling, and the application of expert systems to system operation. Further ensuring the success of the program is a recent announcement by NSERC, which pledged matching funds of $70,000 per year for three years. The principal investigators of this new grant are Alan Russell, Denis Russell, and Ziad Shawwash. For more information about the grant and research program, contact Dr. Ziad Shawwash at (604) 822-2674. CIVIL ENGINEERING at UBC


New adjunct professorship addresses building science and building envelope design In an effort to help prepare tomorrow’s architects and engineers for challenges in modern design and construction of building envelopes, Civil Engineering and the Faculty of Applied Science are supporting the creation of the new Polygon Adjunct Professorship in Building Science. The Professorship will be responsible for making links with the activities and research of architectural and engineering professionals in B.C. The Professorship is funded by a threeway partnership between UBC, Polygon Homes Ltd. and Forintek Canada Corp. Both industry partners have been active in the building industry, helping to seek solutions to the envelope failure issues affecting so many BC homeowners. Polygon Homes Ltd. is a Vancouver-owner and operated company. Since its inception in 1980, Polygon has built more than 9,500 homes throughout the lower mainland. Forintek is Canada’s wood products research institute and has a long history of supporting education and research programs at various Canadian universities, including UBC. Through this Adjunct Professorship, they hope to address an important gap in training for current and

future design professionals through better technical education and research at the university level. “We saw an excellent opportunity where we could partner with UBC and help build its research and teaching capacity in an area of importance to the development industry. It’s a good investment,” said Michael Audain, Managing Director, Polygon Homes Ltd. “We’re pleased to join forces with Polygon, one of BC’s largest home builders, in tackling some pressing issues of interest to the Canadian forest project industry – that is improving the use of wood by building industry practitioners,” said Ian de la Roche, CEO, Forintek Canada Corp. In order to establish the Adjunct Professorship, Polygon and Forintek donated $135,000 and $60,000, respectively, over three years. The Department of Civil Engineering has taken a leadership role in this initiative, and is working closely with Professor Linda Brock of the School of Architecture and the Department of Wood Science in the Faculty of Forestry. “We believe that the University has an

essential role to play in creating and transferring knowledge in the areas of building science and enclosure design, and ensuring that future generations of architects and engineers have a thorough grounding in the fundamentals. How well buildings perform touches on the day-today lives of all British Columbians. This initiative provides us with an important step toward our long-term goal of developing a critical mass of full-time faculty in these areas,” observed Alan Russell, Head of Civil Engineering. Specific activities associated with the Professorship will include the continued offering on an annual basis of Civil 478/ Wood 478 Building Science, development of a new graduate level course targeted mainly at architects but available to engineering students and practicing professionals, the co-supervision of graduate students on thesis topics of mutual interest with the building industry, an annual workshop for practicing professionals on topics of current interest, and the supervision of student term projects to produce case studies and literature searches for dissemination through the Department’s website.

New addition provides boost to Materials Group Work has just been completed on what appears, at first blush, to be a modest addition to our materials lab, but which in fact creates substantial new capacity for research and teaching. The open-air lab addition (see photo) consists of approximately 1,700 square feet of high headspace immediately adjacent to the materials laboratory in the CEME building. One of the priorities for the lab was the effective treatment of concrete water, which involved elaborate underground sump and settling tank facilities and a connection to the sanitary sewer system. The main purpose of the addition is to house equipment and experiments related to research on shotcreting and spraying Aerial view of the new open-air lab addition adjacent to the Civil & fiber reinforce plastics, and for conducting exposure and Mechanical Engineering Building at UBC. durability studies. The facility will assist Professors Banthia and Mindess in their pursuit of cutting edge work. Funding for the lab was secured through a Canada Foundation for Innovation Application (Principal Investigator: N. Banthia), and generous contributions from Synthetic Industries Inc. of Tennessee and JDG Construction Management Ltd. of North Vancouver. The Department of Civil Engineering and the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Applied Science, also provided significant financial support. 8



What’s shakin’?

An update on the Earthquake 99 project The Department of Civil Engineering at UBC is fast becoming associated with ground-breaking (pun intended!) earthquake engineering research. The tremendous efforts of professors Ventura and Prion have resulted in new funding and a series of exciting tests, most of which fall under the project name, Earthquake 99. Recently, these professors, working in concert with others from the public and private sectors, started the second and final phase of a wood-frame house testing project as well as a series of static tests of wall panels with different configurations and arrangements. According to Dr. Ventura, the intent is to seek answers to the following questions: a) What is the contribution of the drywall panels to the lateral load capacity of walls with different framing systems? Focus will be on how the load capacity is affected by the quality of the drywall, the anchoring pattern, the orientation of the boards, etc. b) What is the interaction between the wall framing and glass windows? The focus will be on the effectiveness of films used to prevent the glass from flying out when a window breaks due to earthquake shaking. Faculty members believe that this is the first time this kind of testing is being done to assess the seismic behaviour of residential glass windows during severe shaking. How large windows (such as those used for commercial applications) behave during an earthquake will also be investigated. c) What is the effectiveness of stucco in helping wood frame walls resist lateral loads? This part of the study is being sponsored by CHMC and is related to rain screen systems being considered to solve the “leaky condo” problem.


This two-story house is being rebuilt in preparation for the next round of shake table tests, beginning in June 2001.

All of these static tests are being conducted in the Structures Lab under the leadership of Dr. Helmut Prion. At the same time, the two-story house is being rebuilt in preparation for the next round of shake table tests, beginning in June and concluding in early August. This stage will involve 11 tests exploring the following topics: a) The June tests studied the effect of the stucco on the seismic behaviour of the house. These tests were complementary to the static tests on single wall panels. The focus was on comparing the behaviour of the house using two types of stucco walls subjected to ground shaking on soil due to three different types of crustal-type earthquakes.

b) The July-August tests will include shake table tests to evaluate the behaviour of glass windows of different sizes. The group will investigate the behaviour of the house with two different types of framing systems commonly used in the lower mainland and each model will be subjected to ground motions expected from a subduction earthquake and from a local crustal earthquake. The tests also will investigate possible simple and economic retrofits that may increase the earthquake resistance of the house. For more information about Earthquake Engineering research activities at UBC, contact Dr. Carlos E. Ventura at (604) 8226946 or ventura@civil.ubc.ca.



Creating what has not been

Designer in Residence David Halliday expands student horizons “The Scientist explores what is. The Engineer creates what has not been” Theodore Von Karman Most Civil Engineering Designer in Residence, graduates look Mr. David Halliday forward to making contributions to design—an improved water treatment facility, an urban freeway, a bridge, dam, or tunnel. In all of these cases, the science is important and is a large part of the teaching in any engineering program, but the key step is the design—the creation of what has not been before. UBC Civil Engineering faculty members believe strongly in the need to foster programs that will improve the design abilities of our students. Civil Engineering is an area in which the designed facilities are one-of-a-kind, not mass-produced. The first version has to function well, as there is usually no chance to test and refine. Students have to learn to combine the creative design process with the science part of prediction and confirmation of behaviour. We try to approach design in a number of ways: there are many courses on specific

Civil Engineering topics that include design and analysis together. In addition, we have recently introduced a series of courses that focus on design in each of the specialty areas, and we ensure that every student is enrolled in at least one of these designated design electives. As part of this program, we invite prominent members of the design community to give lectures to all the students so they can see the common elements of design. One of the highlights of the design program is the visit from our invited Designer-in-Residence. This year we were pleased to have Mr. Dave Halliday, Vice President of Amec Dynamic Structures Group, for a two-day visit in this role. The objective was to highlight design by maximizing contact with an accomplished designer. Mr. Halliday has been responsible for leading design teams for the structural design of large astronomy telescopes, starting with the Canada France Hawaii telescope in 1975. He is now engaged in the Gemini Project, which involves designing huge moveable telescopes that hold 8m diameter mirrors and withstand some of the harshest weather to be encountered on earth. Gemini North is operating in Hawaii, while Gemini South is being assembled 2,715 metres above sea level in the Chilean Andes. Most of the structures have been fabricated and pre-

assembled in Coquitlam, BC. Under Mr. Halliday’s leadership, Amec has also played a leading role in the design of some of the larger rides at Disney World. The common thread in all of these designs is creativity, combined with good science and management. Mr. Halliday met with faculty and students, and had a good session with the team of students engaged in a bridge design contest, where he made several suggestions that were adopted by the team. He lectured each day on the design process as it applied to his company’s projects. He showed us how exciting design can be when the outcomes can have a major influence and the problems have little precedent. He also participated in a round-table discussion with faculty and graduate students about the rapidly changing future, and tried to provide some advice to those coping with job prospects, changing technologies, and evolving educational needs. Mr. Halliday left us with ideas for future curriculum planning, and planted a lot of enthusiasm for design in the minds of many students. Mr. Halliday is the Vice President and Director of Special Projects with AMEC’s Dynamic Structures Group. The AMEC firm specializes in the design, fabrication and construction of large optical and radio telescopes and enclosures, container cranes, bridges, marine vessel components, pressure vessels, and amusement park ride for major entertainment centers.

Civil students race to first place In February, a dedicated team of mainly Civil undergraduate students captured a stunning first place finish in the 27th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race. Our UBC students bested 28 teams from universities across Canada, the US and Germany to earn awards for Top Speed of the Day and Most Improved Team, as well as the Overall Champions trophy. The results were an amazing improvement over the team’s last place finish in the 2000 competition. Fourth-year Civil Engineering students and team captains Brad Tangjerd, Radya Rifaat and Mana Arabi, attribute the success to their group’s enthusiasm and strong sense of teamwork, 10


which allowed them to reach a top speed of 46 kilometres per hour during the race and shine through the other judged categories on design, aesthetics, safety, theme, team spirit and ingenuity. “The essence of engineering is to conceive, create and use objects and this flagship competition is an excellent test of student skills,” emphasized Civil Engineering Department Head Alan Russell. “We’re delighted, not only with the results, but also with the enthusiasm and camaraderie they brought to a major competition.”

Above: The UBC Fugitives, Civil Engineering’s Concrete Toboggan Team, with their first place trophy; Left: Crossing the line on their first run of the competition. SPRING 2001

Achievements The Department of Civil Engineering is pleased to recognize the awards and achievements earned by our various faculty members, staff and students. We’re proud of their outstanding efforts and we offer our congratulations to all! Frank Navin earns Sanford Fleming Award and the Edmond R. Ricker Traffic Safety Award Professor Frank Navin was honoured with the 2001 Sanford Fleming Award by the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the development and practice of transportation engineering in Canada. Dr. Navin’s contributions in the area of road safety, accident reconstruction, and traffic flow theory are well known worldwide. He participates with numerous boards and associations and in 1999, he was appointed to the Canadian Advisory Committee for the Professional Traffic Operations Engineers Certification Program. Dr. Navin also earned a second award, the Edmond R. Ricker Traffic Safety Award, which was presented by the Institute of Transportation Engineers in recognition of his many international achievements and individual contributions to road safety engineering. The Institute is an international organization of 15,347 engineers, headquartered in Washington, DC. Peter Byrne named Fellow of EIC Professor Peter Byrne was named a Fellow of The Engineering Institute of Canada in recognition of his exceptional contributions to geotechnical engineering in Canada. Dr. Byrne has made significant contributions to the science of earthquake engineering, liquefaction and soil-structure interaction. Since joining UBC in 1967, he has become a recognized authority in improving earthquake engineering for major structures such as high dams, and his work has resulted in structures that are safer for the public. Liam Finn and Carlos Ventura named Fellows of CSCE Professors Liam Finn and Carlos Ventura were named Fellows of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers at the recent CSCE 2001 Annual Conference in recognition of their service to the society and their outstanding contributions to earthquake engineering research. Dr. Finn joined our Department in 1961 and established UBC’s earthquake engineering program in 1964. Today, he remains one of the foremost geotechnical experts in Canada with more than 350 SPRING 2001

published papers on Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering to his credit. Shortly after retiring from UBC in 1998, Dr. Finn became the first holder of the Anabuki Research Chair of Foundation Geodynamics at Kagawa University in Japan. Dr. Ventura joined our Department in 1992, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in structural engineering and serves as Director of our Earthquake Engineering Research Facility. He is actively conducting shake table of model structures and vibration tests of equipment components and major civil engineering structures around the world. He has authored more than 140 papers and reports on earthquake engineering, structural dynamics and model testing.

“Influence of Specimen Reconstituting Method on the Undrained Response of Sand,” was published in the September 1999 issue of the Geotechnical Testing Journal. The award is presented not more frequently than once a year to the author(s) of an outstanding full-length paper published in the Journal during the previous calendar year. The criteria for judgment are that the paper be outstanding in style, clarity, and significance of content, with promise of high influence in an area of practical interest to ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and Rock, and related to improvements in the performance of lab field-testing or the quality of results. Ph.D. Student Places Second in CSCE Paper Competition Mr. Jim Zhou, a Ph.D. student in the Department placed second in the National Graduate Student Research-in-Progress Competition, which was held in conjunction with the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering 29th Annual Conference in Victoria, May 30 – June 2, 2001. The paper was entitled “Floc Size Profiling to Characterize Dewatering Properties of Thermophilic and Mesophilic Aerobically Digested Biosolids,” and was co-authored with Jim’s thesis co-supervisors, Professor Don Mavinic and Mr. Harlan Kelly of Dayton and Knight Ltd. Mr. Kelly is an Adjunct Professor in the Department. Mr. Zhou is currently on leave of absence from Dayton and Knight, where he worked for four years as a Project Engineer until joining the PhD program in 1998. He is the recipient of an NSERC Industrial Scholarship (1998-2000) and a B.C. Science Council Great Scholarship, both of which have been co-sponsored by Dayton and Knight.

Yogi Vaid presented with ASTM Award for Outstanding Article Professor Yogi Vaid, and two of his recent graduate students, Dave Stedman and Sivapathasundaram Sivathayalan were officially announced on June 29, 2001 as the recipients of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Award for their Outstanding Article on the Practice of Geotechnical Testing. The article, titled CIVIL ENGINEERING at UBC


Recent events & announcements Recent events


Don Mavinic participates in Landfill Emissions Seminar in South Africa

David Nairne Memorial Scholarship creates opportunities for First Nations students

Dr. Don Mavinic was a keynote instructor at a three-day seminar and workshop hosted at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, December 6-8, 2000. The theme was “Control, Management & Treatment of Landfill Emissions”. Don delivered three one-hour presentations on landfill leachate generation and treatment and then participated in a wrap-up round-table discussion. Jonathan Fannin teaches shortcourses on geosynthetics Jonathan Fannin recently taught a series of one-day short courses on geosynthetics for soil stabilization. In November and December, he taught groups in Nanaimo and Prince George through the Forest Continuing Studies Network, and in February he spoke to a group in Portland, Oregon, as part of the Geosynthetics 2001 Conference. The course is based primarily on his new book, Geosynthetics: a guide to best practices, published by BiTech Publishers of Richmond, BC.

In April, the partners, associates and staff of the multi-disciplinary firm David Nairne and Associates Ltd., established a student scholarship to honour the firm’s founding partner who recently passed away on 30 March 2001 at the age of 61. The David Nairne Scholarship will be awarded annually to a First Nations student enrolled in Civil Engineering at UBC. David received his B.A.Sc in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1964. His engineering career started with Dominion Construction and later Great West Steel. David established David Nairne and Associates Ltd. in 1972. Under his guidance, the company grew into a thriving multi-disciplinary firm of architects, planners, engineers, and project managers, serving a diverse clientele that spans the public and private sectors, and includes federal, provincial, territorial, and First Nations governments, small business and major corporations. All members of the Nairne and Associates team have unique skills and extensive experience with aboriginal clients, small communities and remote locations. UBC assists in establishing Noel Nathan Memorial Lecture in Structural Engineering Since Noel Nathan’s passing in February 1998, informal efforts have been directed at establishing a means to recognize the great respect accorded him as a teacher, writer and practicing structural engineer. His academic colleagues, past and present, friends in industry and past students have come together to establish a tribute to appropriately honour Noel. UBC, through the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Applied Science, is establishing the Noel Nathan Memorial Lecture in Structural Engineering, which will fund an industry lecture delivered by a distinguished practitioner or academic in the structural engineering field on an annual

basis. A total endowment of $30,000 is sought. Income from this endowment will be used to cover the expenses associated with offering the lecture followed by a reception on an annual basis. Dr. Nathan was a man of great strength who no doubt helped many achieve personal and professional success. The Lecture Series (the first of its kind in the Faculty of Applied Science) will recognize his name and legacy, and in doing so, carry on his belief that academia should work closely with industry to ensure relevance. How to get involved:

If you are interested in contributing to either the David Nairne Memorial Scholarship or the Noel Nathan Memorial Lecture, cheques payable to “UBC” in support of either project may be sent to : Ms. Mona Miller-Tait Senior Development Officer Faculty of Applied Science The University of British Columbia 2324 Main Mall Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4 Donors will receive a charitable donation receipt to be applied to income tax returns (Charitable Tax Number: 10816 1779 RR001).

Civil Engineering at UBC is a publication of the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science, at The University of British Columbia Production Contributors: Dr. Alan Russell, Department Head Ms Clare Quirk, Administrative Assistant Ms Laurie Dawkins, Faculty Communications Officer, Dean’s Office Mrs Donna Shultz, Senior Instructor, Faculty of Applied Science For further information about the Department of Civil Engineering and its programs, contact us at: Department of Civil Engineering CEME Building 2324 Main Mall Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4 Tel: (604) 822-2637 www.civil.ubc.ca




Profile for UBC Engineering

civil@UBC 2001  

Civil Engineering Newsletter 2001

civil@UBC 2001  

Civil Engineering Newsletter 2001