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Faculty of Applied Science Engineering News

Structural Materials Group Addresses Infrastructure Concerns by Nemkumar Banthia, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Nemy Banthia shown here with the environmental chamber that simulates the combined effects of global warming and increases in atmospheric CO2 on reinforced concrete elements

Throughout North America and in many parts of the world, the state of the infrastructure is poor. Not surprisingly, Statistics Canada reports that the average lifespan of a structure in Canada is only 37 years. Decades of negligence have created an infrastructure crisis or ‘backlog’ of unprecedented proportions in Canada and around the world. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates that major Canadian cities face an infrastructure deficit of approximately $44 billion just to maintain current infrastructure, and worldwide the problem is pegged at nearly $900 billion. Canada has nearly 60,000 bridges

and 10,000 parking garages that require repair and/or strengthening and over 20% of these are in need of major rehabilitation or outright replacement. Professor Nemy Banthia of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia is dedicated to finding ways of remedying our infrastructure-related problems and developing materials and methods to increase the lifespans of our structures. He is taking a three-pronged approach to dealing with this pressing issue: (1) DEVELOP: developing new low carbon footprint construction materials that are not only strong and durable but are also damagetolerant; (2) SUSTAIN: monitoring current structures to ensure their safety so that they can be sustained for a longer lifespan; and (3) EXTEND: using innovative repair materials and techniques to extend the lifespan of infrastructure currently in place. DEVELOP: Concrete is the world’s most used construction material. The exponential growth of infrastructure, especially in developing countries, further increases the demand for concrete materials such that the worldwide production and use of concrete will soon surpass 10 billion tons per year. Humanity’s use of concrete is surpassed only by its use of water. However, the production of concrete is not an environmentally friendly process. Production of one tonne of cement powder releases approximately one tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere. Therefore, in the interest of mitigating climate change by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, it is absolutely imperative that we look at ways of lowering the carbon footprint of concrete. Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs) such as blast furnace slag, silica fume

Continued on page 10



The Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia provides an outstanding learning and research environment inspiring technical innovation, and leadership, in social and environmental responsibility, to address current and future challenges.

Outstanding Students

Message from the Head Welcome to this issue of the civil@ubc newsletter. The past academic year 2011-2012 marked a period of change. A search is currently underway for a new Dean for the Faculty of Applied Science. Professor Eric Hall, who preceded me as the Head of Civil Engineering, was appointed as the Dean Pro Tem and will be serving in this capacity until a new Dean is appointed. The university has responded to economic challenges and adopted a new budget model and administrative structure that is intended to provide all of its Faculties and units with more autonomy on their budgetary decisions. We are fully committed to maintaining the quality of our educational and research programs and strive to enhance them as we gain more familiarity with operating under this new budget model. Our program continues to enjoy an exceptionally strong demand and our co-op students have been finding a wide array of job placement opportunities at various companies and government organizations. During the two convocation ceremonies of the year that were held in November 2011 and May 2012, a total of 137 students graduated with a B.A.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering and, in addition, 67 graduated with a M.Eng. degree, 21 were awarded M.A.Sc. degrees, and 14 students received their Ph.D. degrees. Our graduate students have been recognized with various awards and, in particular, we have had four students (3 Ph.D. and 1 M.A.Sc.) awarded the prestigious NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) which reflects the superior quality of the research students that we attract. Our faculty members continue to conduct leading-edge research and receive various national and international recognitions. Professor Nemy Banthia, Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Rehabilitation, whose research is featured in this newsletter, was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. This Fellowship is awarded to “distinguished scholars on the basis of their exceptional contributions to Canadian intellectual life”. We welcome our newest faculty member, Thomas Tannert, who has joined us as an Assistant Professor in the area of Timber Structures; a position shared jointly between the departments of Wood Science, in the Faculty of Forestry, and Civil Engineering. Thanks to the generous support of our local industries, municipalities and communities, our students continue to benefit from several courses that have been enriched with real life learning experiences through a variety of projects introduced in the community service learning course and in the senior level design courses. Examples of these projects are highlighted in this newsletter. I hope you will find this newsletter of interest and welcome receiving any comments or suggestions that you may have by sending me an e-mail at: reza.vaziri@ubc.ca Reza Vaziri, Ph.D., P.Eng. Professor and Head, Department of Civil Engineering


Prestigious Awards

Zaki Syed Abdullah, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering, was the recipient of the Student Best Paper Award at the 2012 American Water Works Association Membrane Technology Conference for his paper “Effect of Chemical Cleaning on Membrane Operating Lifetime” (co-authored by Pierre Bérubé). The AWWA MTC is the largest Membrane Technology Conference focusing on water treatment in North America. UBC students have now won the Student Best Paper Award at three of the past four AWWA Membrane Technology Conferences! Paul Slangen, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering, entered the UBC 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition, in which students are given just three minutes and a single power-point image to communicate the highlights of their research before a live audience of fellow students and faculty. Paul advanced through heats within Civil Engineering, the Faculty of Applied Science and university-wide semi-finals to represent the Department in a closely contested final held in March 2012. He has set the bar very high for those students in next year’s competition. Kaley Crawford-Flett, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering, was the recipient of a UBC VicePresident Research, Research Mobility Award which provided travel support for her to visit and work at the University of Canterbury (UC), New Zealand, in October 2011. Kaley’s research examines factors governing seepage-induced erosion in earth dams. Working alongside a UC graduate student, she reconstituted specimens that were chosen to complement experiments she has performed at UBC, in order to examine their behaviour in a custom-built test device with advanced laser-image capacity. The novel insights gained from laser imagery are proving very beneficial to her interpretation of the UBC test data, in support of a mechanics-based understanding of internal erosion processes. Continued on page 12


CIVL 493-521 class engages in real time with the Axis Project by Alan Russell, Ph.D., Eng.

During the winter term, January – April 2012, the CIVL 493-521 Case Studies of Construction Methods class, comprised of 54 final year undergraduate and 21 graduate students, studied aspects of a mid-rise residential rental project, the Axis project, being constructed on campus as part of the portfolio of Concert Properties. Unlike previous years where student groups studied productivity-related aspects of self-selected projects, this year, the Axis project was specified, as well as the topics to be examined. This decision arose from a unique opportunity, brought about by UBC’s Residential Environmental Assessment Program (REAP), and a long-term relationship between the Senior Vice President, Construction, of Concert Properties, Mr. Arif Rahemtulla and Professor Alan Russell of the Department of Civil Engineering. In a nutshell, to qualify for REAP points, Concert Properties wished to show that the academic side of the UBC house could benefit from their Axis project—hence the initiative of Rahemtulla to contact Russell in mid 2011, which in turn led to the opportunity for CIVL493/521 students. What was unique about this opportunity? Courtesy of Concert Properties, students had access to all relevant project documentation (drawings, specifications, geotechnical reports, meeting minutes, etc.), to the Concert delivery team, to séances in Concert’s downtown offices to review their projects and ask questions, and to site management personnel of BOSA, the general contractor, and Southwest, the excavation and shoring subcontractor. The opportunity to work with actual project documentation and engage in discussion with both developer and construction personnel was a first for a significant number of students. The class as a whole was very appreciative of the opportunity to have direct access to project personnel and to come face to face with the range of decisions that have to be made to create a successful project, from the perspectives of the developer, the contractor, and the surrounding community. Concert personnel were also asked to act as the Kevin O’Leary of CBC’s Dragon’s Den fame during the student presentations of March 29 and April 5 for purposes of evaluation of student team findings—i.e. they were told to be tough, thus helping to hone student presentation skills. Students were asked to address how their ideas could contribute to project value and to comment on the potential for innovation—specifically, is there a lot of room for innovative thinking, or is the topic that you explored highly constrained in terms of feasible solutions? Concert’s reward, other than a modest number of REAP points for engaging with the academic side of UBC was meant to be an influx of bright ideas about how to build one or more of faster, more cost effectively, more safely, in a more sustainable

manner, and a more community friendly manner. In terms of challenges, the project is an infill project, surrounded by folks who don’t necessarily like construction, know their rights and are not shy about having them enforced. In a perfect world, one would build the project first and then the surrounding ones, but that is not what is happening, posing challenges for developer, contractor and local residents alike. Seventeen student teams were formed and topics assigned included: waste management, site set up and management, traffic management, tower crane positioning and set up, materials handling strategies, excavation and shoring construction, civil works (all underground utilities), foundation and substructure construction, REAP and the cost to “go green”, opportunities for prefabrication/ modularization, and monitoring site Elevation and Site Layout of Axis Project— Project progress as of 30 March 2012 operating conditions. The students did an excellent job of seeking out relevant material from the literature, observing on-going activities at the site, and thinking “outside” the box about alternative approaches that would address one or more performance metrics such as time, productivity, safety and sustainability. The collaboration exceeded all expectations and the students derived very substantial benefit from conducting targeted studies in real time on a real project. Rahemtulla observed that “it was a most worthwhile experience, and forced us to think with an open mind how we approach various aspects of a project. Some of the suggestions made would help us build faster and perhaps more cost effectively”. As a compliment to the entire class, Arif stated that he was impressed by the calibre of students in the course—“we are delighted to see the quality of the upcoming generation of civil engineers”. The Concert team is to be congratulated for a superlative relationship with the Department of Civil Engineering and their substantial generosity in terms of personnel time and provision of project documents. Our special thanks to Arif Rahemtulla, Senior Vice President, Construction, Paul McGuire, Senior Construction Manager and Project Manager, Axis Project, and Jeff Duncan, Construction Coordinator and Project Management Assistant. 3


Reshaping Transport Planning

through Dynamic Illustration, Solid Evidence and Careful Conversations On Tuesday November 15, 2012, the Department of Civil Engineering was honoured to have Dr. Michael Shiffer, VicePresident of Planning and Policy, Translink, present a special faculty seminar. In his presentation, Dr. Shiffer discussed how “smart” buses, rail stations and roadways can digitally feed maps and a planning process, how an intermodal transport network can help to shape future demand along with complementary land use, and how one can balance the need to help shape future land use in suburban areas while

still serving the needs of a densely populated urbanized setting. The seminar was extensively illustrated and described an approach to planning for sustainable mobility, noting how information technology can be used to leverage more productivity out of existing transportation networks. Dr. Shiffer commented on a systematic evidence-based approach to planning for major transportation investments. He also shared his impressions of what distinguishes his planning experiences in Canada from those in the United States.

Christchurch Earthquake: One Year Later On Tuesday February 14, 2012, Professor Ken Elwood shared his first-hand experience during the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake. Ken noted that at 12:51 p.m. on February 22, 2011, while he was attending a seminar on Seismic Assessment of Existing Masonry Buildings in Christchurch, an Mw 6.3 earthquake violently shook the city. Two reinforced concrete office buildings and hundreds of unreinforced masonry buildings experienced partial or total collapse, resulting in 182 fatalities. The financial loss grew as

unpredictable aftershocks continued to shake the city. Ken remained in Christchurch in the days following to assist with critical building assessments and co-lead a reconnaissance team from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute documenting the earthquake for international building code development and seismic mitigation policy decisions. Ken related his experiences in Christchurch and the numerous parallels with his past and ongoing research efforts, including some new directions initiated since returning home.

Cleaning Membranes with Bubbles On Tuesday March 6, 2012, Professor Pierre Bérubé presented his findings on cleaning membranes with bubbles. Pierre commented that the increased use of membrane systems in water treatment applications is due mainly to their ability to effectively retain contaminants of concern, but that some of the retained material can accumulate and, unless removed, can result in a larger volume of material (i.e. foulants) which increases the resistance of the flow through the membrane, making the membrane filtration prohibitively expensive.

Pierre noted that bubble sparging is commonly used to remove and limit the accumulation of foulants, but that its effects are poorly understood and, as a result, have historically been designed using a trial-and-error approach. Research at UBC has shed light on the effects of bubble sparging on foulant accumulation, and recent research outcomes, as presented at the seminar, have contributed to reducing the operating costs of membrane systems by as much as 50%.

The Art and Science of Engineering Modelling On Tuesday March 27, 2012, Professor Terje Haukaas expressed his opinion that the ultimate goal in engineering is to make decisions about the suitability of candidate designs and actions. Terje commented that to make such decisions, engineers utilize models of various forms and complexity, and noted that his presentation would aim to provide a somewhat provocative exposure of existing models and how they are employed. Particular emphasis was placed on uncertainties and techniques to address them, and historical lines were drawn up to present-day 4

research to expose how this question has been answered in different times. Terje drew examples from structural engineering, where a broadening of the basis for design decisions is taking place, and commented on the classical capacity-demand considerations for structural components being amended to explicitly include the cost of damage, environmental concerns, and other impacts away from the building site. Terje is hopeful this will motivate the presentation of new models and modelling techniques to foster a change.


L-R: Professor Carlos Ventura (Civil Engineering, UBC), Mr. Andy Mill (Chair, APEGBC Seismic Peer Review Committee), The Honourable George Abbott (Minister of Education), Professor Reza Vaziri (Head, Civil Engineering, UBC)

BC engineers shake out worldclass research on school safety Vancouver, BC—May 11, 2012—Engineers and geoscientists completed a comprehensive re-assessment of seismic safety at B.C. schools based on the latest scientific research, improved technology and study of recent major earthquakes around the world. The Ministry of Education engaged the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. (APEGBC) and UBC’s Department of Civil Engineering to conduct a comprehensive update of how BC schools are expected to perform in a major earthquake and to upgrade the technical guidelines for seismic retrofits. The APEGBC-UBC team has developed new assessment tools and procedures for engineers to determine how different sections of school buildings in different parts of B.C.’s seismic zones will withstand different types of earthquakes, cutting-edge technical guidelines for engineers to follow when planning school retrofits and access to ongoing support from APEGBC’s technical review committee, and a data analyzer that gives engineers access to more than eight million sets of peer-reviewed seismic retrofit analysis to assist in the assessment and retrofit design of school structures. Based on the latest research and more detailed local geotechnical information, the engineers re-evaluated more than 500 schools previously identified for potential funding under the School Seismic Mitigation Program. The new assessment has identified 152 schools with at least one

“high risk” building section that need to be addressed with structural upgrades under the School Seismic Mitigation Program. The cost to address these high-priority schools is estimated at $1.3 billion. The remaining schools have building sections classified as “low” or “medium” risk, which means seismic safety can be achieved through non-structural mitigation or through a school district’s regular capital renewal process. The Ministry of Education is exploring options to provide school districts with additional funding for non-structural safety improvements in the medium- and low-ranked schools starting in 2013-14. QUICK FACTS • Since 2001, government has spent more than $790 million on school seismic upgrades in 37 B.C. school districts. • Currently, 137 seismic upgrade projects across British Columbia have been completed, are under construction or are proceeding to construction; in addition, there are 30 supported projects working towards formal project agreements. • Seismic safety is also a key component of government’s revitalization of school infrastructure. All of the 93 new and replacement schools built since 2001 are modern, safe, seismically-sound buildings. • In 2010 the Ministry of Education, APEGBC and the UBC Department of Civil Engineering were awarded the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering’s Excellence in Innovation in Civil Engineering Award for their role in developing Performance-Based Seismic Assessments and Retrofits of Low-Rise British Columbia School Buildings. • The Ministry of Education, APEGBC and UBC have agreed to share the Seismic Retrofit Guidelines with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2012/05/bc-engineers-shake-out-world-class-research.html A version of this story also appeared on CTV, Global News and in the Vancouver Sun (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/05/11/bc-seismic-upgrades.html)



Community Service Learning Community Service Learning (CSL) is about acquiring civil engineering knowledge while doing service work. Students compare and contrast their pre-CSL knowledge with the experience they gain in the community. At UBC, teams of civil engineering second-year students involved in CSL are tasked with completing a small community project. Previously completed CSL projects include a play-house for a daycare centre in Vancouver’s downtown east side, an authentic Ming Dynasty fence for the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a fish smokehouse for the Vancouver Native Health Society, and a demonstration Pelton wheel for Richmond’s Terra Nova School Yard Society. Students learn about the process of project design, management and planning, and, more generally, the role of context in civil engineering practice. Importantly, they learn to function within a team and to communicate effectively with clients. Since 2007, over 675 students have contributed a total of more than 16,000 hours to over 110 projects for approximately 28 different local community organizations. During the five years that CSL has been part of the civil engineering professional degree program, many individuals have contributed time and effort to help our students succeed! These individuals include enthusiastic community partners, “the clients”, who, as of spring 2012, had provided more than $140,000 of in-kind resources (including time

and expertise, a portion of materials costs, space etc.) toward student learning. Thanks to all for this significant contribution! Thanks also to the team mentors (senior students, graduate students and young civil engineering professionals) who have taken on the challenging role of “leading a team from behind” by advising and providing feedback. And a huge thank you to the 10 UBC staff, including those in the Department of Civil Engineering, who have gone “above and beyond” to support the students’ service work over the past five years. In addition to playing a core role in the second-year program, CSL projects are now an option in the civil engineering program’s third-year integrated project course. During 2011/2012, student teams worked with Vancouver’s Ray-Cam Community Centre and Saint James Music Academy to develop costing estimates and construction feasibility studies for community projects. For a list of all our community partners, and to check out blogs of the students’ 2011/2012 CSL projects, please visit: http://civl202-civil.sites.olt.ubc.ca/community-servicelearning-projects/csl-project-blogs-2012/. If you and your organization are interested in becoming a community partner, please contact Susan Nesbit at nesbit@ mail.ubc.ca.

Civil Co-op by Kate Robinson, 4th year BASc student

The Engineering Co-op Program at UBC has enhanced my practical knowledge and skills and established contacts that should prove useful for many years to come. My first eight-month term was with Thurber Engineering, Calgary, working on slope stability analyses for a major dam project. I performed site investigation, laboratory analyses and construction monitoring for a variety of projects, including road construction and pile installation. A second fourmonth term with Thurber involved a major field trial start-up for mature fine tailings dewatering in Fort McMurray. My duties included modifying typical instrumentation to function for non-standard uses and 6

establishing instrument installation methods, material sampling techniques and testing procedures that required minimal apparatus and were easy to follow and cost-efficient. I worked on site and was involved in the start of the field trial. My final eight-month work term was with Klohn Crippen Berger, Vancouver, where I dealt with large-scale engineering projects. I began in the office interpreting site investigation results on a new pit design for the Quintette Mine near Chetwynd. Then I worked on site at Highland Valley Copper, near Kamloops, where I did regular seepage flow monitoring, continual quality assurance testing and sampling, laboratory testing and instrumentation monitoring. The number of major tailings dams made communication with contractors crucial for time-management, testing and inspection and provided valuable experience. Both co-op positions offered incredible and varied opportunities in the field of engineering. Upon graduation, I accepted a position with Thurber, Calgary, and look forward to many more great experiences with them.


Collaboration results in opportunities to learn and grow

by John Sherstobitoff, P.Eng.

As a professional structural engineer, I have observed increased collaboration between the consulting engineering community and UBC professors, graduate students and undergraduate students in recent years. This is beneficial to all involved, as it provides two-way learning opportunities and enables students and instructors to actively learn about the profession and key issues in the structural engineering field. I graduated from UBC in Civil Engineering (Structural) in 1978, then, in 1980, obtained a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering specializing in seismic design from the California Institute of Technology. During my studies, I cannot recall any involvement with the consulting engineering community prior to graduation. I am pleased to say this is no longer the case. As a current member of the Scientific Management Committee of the Canadian Seismic Research Network (CSRN), I have had the pleasure of seeing the great work done by engineering students—both at UBC and across Canada—and the results are becoming more readily accessible to the engineering community. Here in Vancouver, I had first-hand involvement with undergraduate students on a CSRN-sponsored project led by UBC professors. The students’ initiative, inventiveness and the results they achieved with limited resources and time were very impressive. Furthermore, the project gave the students an opportunity to interact with the consulting community, to display their communication and technical skills, and to network with a potential future employer. At Ausenco, my colleagues and I have collaborated with UBC professors and their students on several unique projects where prescriptive building code procedures do not apply. For example: 1. For an 18-story building in Chile that was damaged by their 2010 earthquake, research-based software, intimate knowledge of concrete behavior, recent concrete testing results from UBC, and previous experience in instrumentation from laboratory testing were invaluable to the project, which involved successfully repositioning and ultimately re-opening the building within one year of the earthquake. 2. During the seismic upgrade of a 12-story building in Vancouver, a professor’s intimate knowledge of the concrete portion of the ASCE 41 guidelines and related peer review were critical in obtaining a building permit. 3. For a tunnel project that involved the ductile design of a deep cylindrical concrete shaft in highly liquefiable soils,

a professor’s fundamental knowledge of reinforced concrete and its behavior in shear and flexure at extreme loading, and related peer John Sherstobitoff, P.Eng. review, were key to a successful design. Another unique and successful collaboration between the structural engineering community and UBC professors and students that I have personally been involved with for more than seven years is the Ministry of Education’s initiative to develop Seismic Retrofit Guidelines for Performance Based Seismic Upgrading of British Columbia schools. The analyses, presentations and documentation by the students, with regular interaction between local and US structural engineers, have been nothing short of amazing. The students’ work on this project will no doubt lead to career opportunities with local firms for those students interested in the field of seismic upgrading. There are many opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to get involved with the local structural engineering community through projects, seminars, presentations, code committee research and laboratory testing. I personally have found the opportunity to interact and collaborate with UBC professors and students extremely rewarding and educational. My advice to students is to embrace the chance to be involved in such collaboration opportunities. They offer a way for students to learn more about the practical side of engineering, to display their skills, to network with local consultants and to evaluate career options as they progress through the engineering program. In support of academia-practitioner collaboration, I encourage and welcome students to contact me to see if there is anything I can assist them with. John Sherstobitoff is Vice President, Seismic & Structures, for Ausenco in Vancouver. He is currently Chair of the Standing Committee on Earthquake Design, responsible for the seismic provisions for the National Building Code of Canada 2015 edition. Within that committee he is chair of a working group responsible for developing provisions for base isolation and supplemental damping. He is actively involved in many aspects of seismic design and seismic upgrading, including local courses (SEABC), presentations, papers, conferences, and committees.



IDEAS2.0– Integrative Data-enabled Approaches to Sustainability across Scales by Sheryl Staub-French, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Many Canadian communities have set aggressive economic, environmental and social sustainability targets. Meeting these ambitious targets requires better, faster and less expensive ways of evaluating different design options and tradeoffs against the most important performance measures (e.g., cost, energy consumption, quality of life). The problem is that the data and evidence needed to support this evaluation originates from many different sources, scales, Figure 1. The problem space of IDEAS2.0 — the structure, flow and representation of data within the decision contexts and scales of and formats. This built environment planning, design, construction and operation. diversity of data The project will investigate strategic need and opportunity to advance data, collaboration, design and engagement technologies makes it challenging within this space. for decision-makers to access the information they need, in the right format and at the right time in the collaborative decision-making process. IDEAS2.0 is a three-year research project aimed at developing innovative processes, methods and technologies to inform the systemic, integrative and collaborative decisionmaking crucial to planning, designing, constructing and operating sustainable buildings and communities (Figure 1). Using the Living Laboratory of the UBC campus and

communities as a case study, this research will examine how diverse types and forms of information can be channeled, managed, linked and communicated to enable the many stakeholders to achieve greater sustainability with better, more timely evidence, at less cost. The results of this research will help organizations to make more effective and better-informed decisions, leading to more sustainable and cost-effective solutions. This will help to accelerate the rate at which sustainable, carbon-neutral buildings and communities become a norm, rather than an exception. Integrated and interdisciplinary problems and opportunities such as these merit integrated and interdisciplinary solutions. Our project integrates theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches from five closely related fields through the context-sensitive lens of the built environment: Civil Engineering (Sheryl Staub-French), Architecture (Ronald Kellett), Community and Regional Planning (Maged Senbel), and Computer Science (Rachel Pottinger and Kellogg Booth). The project employs an iterative methodology, testing prototypes both in laboratory studies and field studies, then returning to observational methods to ground the results in practice, with particular emphasis on providing support for an integrated, interactive and collaborative decision-making process. The research will be carried out with multiple partners engaged in all phases of the process, and with leading-edge Canadian hardware and software companies that specialize in modeling (Autodesk, Cloverpoint, Galdos), data management and integration (SAP Canada, Pulse Energy), and collaboration technology (SMART Canada).

(Im)possibility of Sustainable Transportation in China and a Glimpse of Hope by Jinhua Zhao, Ph.D.

The news nowadays is crowded with “China Hype and China Bashing”. Does this hype and bashing extend to the transportation community? In two recent research projects focusing on urban mobility, Dr. Zhao raises the question of the “impossibilities” of sustainable transportation in Chinese cities, and describes China’s forceful implementation of bold mobility management policies as a glimpse of hope. The first project examines the narrowing path for biking in the “Kingdom of Bicycles” (Beijing’s mode share dropped from 63% in 1986 to 17% in 2010) and the stories behind this 45 percentage points decline, which contrasts with and almost ridicules the sustainable transportation efforts emphasized by many Chinese cities. China overtook the U.S. to become 8

the world’s largest automobile market in 2009; however, as the second project illustrates, the countrywide growth of car ownership often conceals great variations among cities, thanks to their diverse policy interventions. The research examines how the auctioned car licence plate in Shanghai, jokingly referred to as “the most expensive piece of iron in the world”, helps to sharply dampen car growth while providing substantial transportation funding, and how the policy— effectively charging each car owner $7,000 for a licence—has not only become largely accepted but also recruits car owners as a constituency supportive of the car deterrent policy. The former research was quoted in The Atlantic, and the New Zealand National Radio program ThisWayUp in April 2012.

Preparing for the Next Cascadia Subduction Zone Tsunami by Barbara Lence, Ph.D.

The great Andaman-Sumatra earthquake and tsunami of December 2004 and the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 have reminded everyone of the significant dangers that tsunami can pose to coastal communities. Taken together, the death toll from these two events far exceeds the sum of all global tsunami mortality in the previous 110 years. Canada faces similar tsunami exposure due to the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), which extends more than 1,000 km. from the Mendocino Fault off Northern California to Northern Vancouver Island. The last great CSZ earthquake occurred on January 26, 1700. The ongoing subduction of the Juan de Fuca Plate under the western margin of the North American Plate can be measured today using triangulation, laser ranging and the Global Positioning System. Dr. Barbara Lence, Professor, and Mr. William Johnstone, Ph.D. Candidate, UBC Department of Civil Engineering, along with Mr. David Alexander, Spatial Vision Group Inc., North Vancouver, Drs. Randal LeVeque and David George, University of Washington Department of Applied Mathematics and Dr. Nick Hedley, SFU Department of Geography have

worked with Provincial and Federal emergency management agencies to help communities such as Tofino and Ucluelet, located on Vancouver Island’s outer coastline, to develop a better understanding of the possible tsunami arrival times and intensities, to estimate the possible impacts on people and infrastructure, and to devise better response plans by estimating and comparing the reliability of protective actions such as vehicular and pedestrian egress to nearby safe havens. This Example of shoreline area that could suffer from a Great CSZ work has helped to Earthquake and Tsunami (Ucluelet, BC). inform the selection of haven locations, the placement of tsunami signage and the development of information brochures.


2012 Civil Engineering Graduation Reception On May 29, 2012, the Department of Civil Engineering hosted its graduation reception for the graduating class of 2012 and their friends and families. The students were celebrated for their achievements and recognized for their years of study and hard work. The numbers of graduates this year were 128 Bachelor of Applied Science, 9 Master of Applied Science, 55 Master of Engineering, and 3 Doctor of Philosophy. Several exceptional undergraduates were recognized with the following awards:

Leadership Award Megan Pate and Holynde Smiechowski were honoured with Department Leadership Awards. Both graduated with Distinction. Megan provided leadership to civil engineering students through her role as Civil Club President and as coordinator for the Great Concrete Toboggan Competition. Holynde was lead organizer of the graduating class trip to Las Vegas in January and was also active with Engineers Without Borders.

Academic Achievement Award YuJing Fan, Stanley Chan and Aiden Wong had the top averages in the graduating class. YuJing was also honoured at the Graduation Ceremony as the recipient of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC Gold Medal. Stanley managed to maintain his high average while also participating in the Engineering Co-op program, acting as team leader in the EERI Seismic Design Competition and participating in volunteer activities with Canadian Society of Civil Engineering, Structural Engineers Association of BC, the UBC Learning Exchange and in his local community. Aiden was also in the Engineering Co-op program and was involved in UBC AMS Club activities.

Civil Engineering Undergraduate Design Award The team of Wen Chien Jack Hsieh, JaeWon Kim, Yeo Shin Lau, Michael Jun Ming Leong, Zi Feng Li and Travis Pehlke earned the top grade in CIVL 446 – Engineering Design and Analysis II. The team designed a Multi-Purpose Building based on a conceptual design developed in CIVL 445 Engineering Design and Analysis I. This team succeeded as a result of a professional approach involving dedicated teamwork, creativity, due diligence and careful attention to detail.


Structural Materials Group Addresses Infrastructure Concerns continued from page 1 and fly ash can be used to replace a large portion of the cement in concrete, and Dr. Banthia’s group is looking at ways of utilizing other waste materials, such as recycled fine and coarse aggregates, shredded rubber tires, crushed glass, recycled cellulose and polymeric fibers and styrofoam to develop eco-friendly, “green” concretes. Emphasis is on utilizing the unreacted part of cement in old concrete to advantage and improving the pore structure of the fully cured concrete. The group is also developing binders that are entirely cement-free. Another area of research and expertise within the group is in the development of Fiber Reinforced Concrete (FRC). The addition of small dosages of various types of fibres, be they steel, different types of polymers or cellulose, has various benefits. Addition of fibres can reduce shrinkage cracking, enhance impact and fatigue strength and delay corrosion of rebar. Research with some fibres has demonstrated that the lifespan of a structure can be enhanced by as much as a factor of two. SUSTAIN: Damage or deterioration occurs in structures with aging and they may no longer meet the required standards of safety. Unfortunately, our condition assessment tools are so rudimentary that in most instances the engineers have no idea what the state of a structure is. For example, the Concorde Overpass that collapsed in Montreal in 2006 was inspected the same week of the tragedy. Dr. Banthia’s research group is tackling this problem in two ways. First, it is developing advanced techniques of Stave Lake Dam with shotcrete rehabilitation condition assessment capable of ‘seeing’ inside a structure (as is done in the medical field) by using infrared thermography, impactecho, acoustic emission, ground penetrating radar, x-ray tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and Compton Scatter Tomography. Getting a lucid picture of the “inside” of a structure will allow accurate assessments of the extent of damage and deterioration and enable timely repairs. Secondly, Dr. Banthia’s group is developing protocols for continuous Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of structures using embedded sensors. SHM can accurately monitor the behavior of a structure, constantly assessing its performance and providing continuous data on its current condition. On the side of sensors needed for SHM, Dr. Banthia’s lab has taken the lead in the development of cement-based sensors, also described as smart (selfmonitoring) structural materials. These sensors carrying carbon nano-tubes are relatively inexpensive, durable, very 10

easy to manufacture and install, and, best of all, they possess characteristics similar to concrete which makes them easy to integrate in the host structure. These sensors possess both piezo- and chemo-resistive properties such that signals can be analyzed to detect changes in both stress condition and the chemical environment within concrete. An exciting property of these sensors is that they can detect the edge of the chloride front in concrete and alert us of the impending corrosion in reinforcement much before its initiation. EXTEND: After years of use, structures are often rendered in such poor shape that the only option remaining—short of decommissioning and demolition—is to perform a major structural rehabilitation. In this regard, the use of externally bonded fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) wraps and laminates is gaining popularity. In most instances, however, these external jackets are hand-applied bringing into question the quality of their placement and consequently that of the bond developed between the FRP and concrete. Dr. Banthia and co-workers have developed a highly innovative technique of applying FRPs using a spray process. A winner of many awards, the technique has already been applied to strengthen several structures, including bridges, masonry and storage tanks, and is touted as one of the most effective means of increasing the seismic resistance of structures. However, in the case of FRP repairs, one primary concern has been the durability of the bond between concrete and the FRP. To investigate the durability of the FRP-concrete bond, the group took part in a Canadian study in which four in-service bridges, strengthened years ago using different types of externally bonded FRPs, were evaluated. It was found that after only 13 years of exposure to harsh Canadian winters, the bond between concrete and FRP was in some cases reduced to a mere 5% of its initial value. Since then, Dr. Banthia’s team has embarked on a study of the durability of the bond between FRP and concrete and a search for cost-effective methods of in-situ bond strengthening. While the challenges facing us regarding our infrastructure are daunting, initiatives taken by the UBC Civil Engineering Structural Materials Group are going a long way towards addressing these concerns and enhancing public safety. An article regarding Dr. Banthia’s work, entitled “Building a Better City— The high cost of aging infrastructure inspires researchers seeking the longevity of the Parthenon” can be found in MacLean’s Magazine (Dec. 2011).


Meet the People of Civil Engineering Thomas Tannert, Ph.D., was jointly appointed to the Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Wood Science, Faculty of Forestry, as an Assistant Professor and Associate Chair in Wood Building Design and Construction in April 2011. The mission for the Chair is to implement a world class research and education program that will place UBC at the forefront of innovation and knowledge development in the field of wood building design and construction. Thomas received

his Ph.D. in Timber Engineering at the University of British Columbia (2008), his M.Sc. in Wood Science & Technology at the Universidad del Bio-Bio, Concepción, Chile (2002), and his Dipl.-Ing. in Civil Engineering at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany (2001). Before joining UBC, Dr. Tannert worked as Research Associate and Lecturer at the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland.

Michael J. Shiffer, Ph.D., joined the Department of Civil Engineering in July 2010 as an Adjunct Professor jointly appointed with the School of Community and Regional Planning. Dr. Shiffer is the former Executive Vice President for Planning & Policy at TransLink. There, he was responsible for planning activities that supported the transportation network in the Vancouver region. Previously, he served as Vice President for Planning and Development at the Chicago Transit Authority. Dr. Shiffer has also held faculty posts at both the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and

the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research has focused on how information technologies (such as data visualization) can better inform civic decision-making. His former students have moved on to positions of leadership and responsibility in the public, private and academic sectors around the world. Dr. Shiffer earned a Ph.D. in Regional Planning and Master’s of Urban Planning from the University of Illinois and a B.A. in Geography from DePaul University. In addition to his UBC duties, Dr. Shiffer consults for the transportation sector.

The Industry Advisory Council (IAC) meeting was held on Tuesday, February 21, 2012. The main purpose of the IAC is to allow a useful and candid exchange of views between the Department and industry, with the latter being defined in its broadest sense. Of particular interest is industry input and advice on issues and knowledge areas of importance not currently represented within the Department. The orientation of the Council is not intended to be one of tasks and hard deliverables, although from time to time the Department will ask Council members to provide feedback on specific proposals or initiatives or ask for oral reports on issues that currently confront industry. The undergraduate and graduate curricula are also viewed as works in progress—as they are constantly

being reviewed and modified in response to identified needs and trends. The same can be said of the research activities of the Department. Thus, feedback to the Department on needs and trends and how it should be responding to them will be sought from Council members. The Industry Advisory Council members are: Mark Ferguson (Metro Vancouver), Kathleen Groves (BC Hydro), Doug Hinton (Hatch Mott MacDonald), Frank Huber (Metro Vancouver), Brian Johnson (Stantec Consulting Ltd.), Peter Judd (City of Vancouver), Frank Margitan (Kiewit Infrastructure Group), Stephan Mehr (SNC Lavalin), Robert Neville (Read Jones Christofferson), Marian Podlovsky (Fluor Canada Ltd.), Peter Steblin (Coquitlam City Hall) and Anibal Valente (PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc.).

flashback@civil On August 18, 2011, the Civil Engineering Class of 1948 had a Reunion Luncheon at the UBC Golf Club. Of the original 30-member graduation group, there are seven known survivors: one living in Ottawa and the remaining six in the Greater Vancouver area. Of these six, five attended the luncheon as shown (from left to right) in the photograph: Raymond Pillman, Alan Burnham, Mervin Stewart, Leonard Narod, and Gordon Wolfram. Missing from the picture are survivors Cyril Barras and Thomas Smith.




to the following faculty for their achievements Professor Nemy Banthia received the Horst Leipholz Medal of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering for outstanding contributions to engineering mechanics research and practice in Canada,a Killam Research Prize (Senior Category), and was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, which is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the Arts, Humanities and Sciences in Canada. Professor Ken Elwood was named Fellow of the American Concrete Institute in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the areas of education and research, in addition to his significant contributions to ACI through committees and/or local chapters. Professor Jonathan Fannin received an Erskine Fellowship from the University of Canterbury,

New Zealand, for a 1-month thematic visit to collaborate on lab and field research on seepageinduced internal erosion in earth dams, levees and canal liners. Professor John Howie received the Co-op Faculty Member of the Year Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution to the success of the UBC Engineering Co-op Program. Senior Instructor Greg Johnson received a Killam Teaching Prize in recognition of his excellent undergraduate and graduate level teaching. Professor Greg Lawrence was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Dr. Lawrence also received the Camille Dagenais Award for outstanding contributions by a civil engineer to the development and practice

in the February 2011 issue of the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering. The Norman Medal is the highest honor granted by the American Society of Civil Engineers for technical papers that make definitive contributions to engineering science.

of hydrotechnical engineering in Canada. Professor Don Mavinic was the recipient of the APEGBC Meritorious Achievement Award in recognition of his determination, personal drive, and dedication to professional excellence.

The Civil Club announced that its choices for Top Undergraduate Professors for 2010-2011 were Professors Jonathan Fannin and Mahdi Taiebat for second year, Professors Rob Millar and Tarek Sayed for third year, and Professors Perry Adebar and Michael Isaacson for fourth year. The Civil Club choices for 2011-2012 were Professors Perry Adebar and Jonathan Fannin for second year, Professors Terje Haukass and Dharma Wijewickreme for third year, and Professors Pierre Bérubé and Ken Elwood for fourth year.

Professor Tarek Sayed was presented with the prestigious Wilbur S. Smith Distinguished Transportation Educator Award in recognition of his outstanding research and achievements in the education and mentoring of students in the field of transportation. Professor Mahdi Taiebat (and co-authors), were awarded the Norman Medal for their technical paper entitled “SANISTEEL: Simple Anisotropic Steel Plasticity Model”, published

Outstanding Students Prestigious Awards (cont'd from pg 2)

Manuel Archila, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering, is conducting research at the UBC Earthquake Engineering Research Facility with scholarship support from the Organization of American States. William M. Johnstone, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering received the 2012 INCOSE Foundation/ Stevens Institute Doctoral Award for Promising Research in Systems Engineering and Integration. Sardar Malekmohammadi, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering, received the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement to support his 4 month research at Ecole Nationale Superieure de Mecanique et d'Aerotechnique, France. NSERC Graduate Scholarships and UBC Four-Year Fellowships The Department of Civil Engineering congratulates the following graduate students. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) awarded the 2011 Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) to Ph.D. candidates Chaoyang Yue, Sardar Malekmohammadi and Osmar Penner, and M.A.Sc. candidates Jarvis Autey and Michael Dupuis; the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship (PGS-D) was awarded to Ph.D. candidate Dorian Tung. The UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowships (4YF) provide financial support to outstanding Ph.D. candidates for the first four years of their doctoral

studies and research. Congratulations to Rony Das, Osmar Penner, Paul Slangen, Dorian Tung and Chaoyang Yue. Concrete Toboggan Team 2012 placed 3rd in top speed out of 19 teams, and on race day placed 7th overall. This is the oldest and largest engineering student competition in Canada. Team members applied technical skills learned in class (e.g., concrete mix design, woodworking, and steel fabrication). UBC Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition (Memphis, Tennessee, April 11-13, 2012). One of 27 undergraduate teams, the UBC EERI Undergraduate Seismic Design Team was honoured to represent UBC, and was nominated for the Communication Award for its presentation and poster session. This competition is proudly sponsored by Hatch, UBC Department of Civil Engineering, UBC Faculty of Applied Science (Professional Activities Fund), Bush Bohlman & Partners, Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd., Omicron Canada Inc., APEGBC, and SEABC. Abdullah Al Mamun, won the 2012 CSCE Hydrotechnical Division award for his M.A.Sc. thesis entitled “A Goal Programming Algorithm to Incorporate the Columbia River Non-Power Flow Requirements in the Columbia River Treaty Model”.

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UBC Civil Engineering Newsletter  

The Department of Civil Engineering offers exciting opportunities for students and faculty to pursue an Education for Life at the University...

UBC Civil Engineering Newsletter  

The Department of Civil Engineering offers exciting opportunities for students and faculty to pursue an Education for Life at the University...