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Research into better bridges gets attention internationally


University of Canterbury PhD student and Quake Centre scholarship recipient Royce Liu has been progressing steadily with his research into improving the performance of bridge structures under seismic loading since we last caught up with him in 2014. It’s always great to see research having real-world applications and outcomes, and Royce’s work is particularly timely in the context of Christchurch, with the retrofitting and replacement of bridges being an important part of the rebuild. 


The research programme, under the banner of Advanced Bridge Construction and Design (ABCD), has seen Royce present at conferences both in New Zealand and internationally, including a well-received presentation at the prestigious Hellenic Society for Theoretical & Applied Mechanics (HSTAM) International Congress on Mechanics in Athens, Greece. Royce’s work has also been featured as a 6pm news story on One News and on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Our Changing World’ Science and Technology programme.


Phase One of experimental testing for the project was completed in 2015 and Royce is now moving into Phase Two of his experimental work, which sees him testing a 2/3 scale low-damage bridge pier in the University of Canterbury’s brand new Structural Engineering Laboratory. This experimental work is set to commence in December 2016 and it will be the first large-scale test to be conducted in this facility.


“The second phase of testing will be the largest scale test yet to be conducted on a low damage bridge column in the southern hemisphere.”


Royce says the the large-scale bridge pier will have great benefits as a practice model for engineers.


“Not only will it provide me with useful information related to my research about the performance of columns with multiple rocking interfaces for improved energy dissipation, but, the specimen itself will be valuable for practicing engineers as a design example. This is due to its sheer scale allowing it to have realistic design details and challenges which engineers would face in practice.”


Royce will present more of his findings at the upcoming 2017 World Conference of Earthquake Engineering in Santiago, Chile, during a special session on bridges being invited by notable US bridge engineering academic, Associate Professor Mohamed ElGawady.

















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