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Research Lines

SCMASS envisions two major research tracks consisting of a series of projects involving industry partners, faculty members, research fellows and graduate students. These research tracks involve different integral research components such as durability of construction materials, advanced cement-based composites, low-carbon cementitious binders, advanced polymer-based materials, structural applications using emerging advanced composite materials, rehabilitation of structures, seismic assessment of metal, concrete and composite structures, innovative structural systems and components for seismic applications.
The research is carried out using rigorous and advanced analytical and experimental techniques in line with the projects’ requirements. The two research lines are as follows:

Sustainable Construction Materials
This research line intends to develop and promote sustainable, durable and high-performance construction materials that serve to meet the new and emerging needs for sustainable structural systems.
The research line will focus on development and characterization of advanced construction materials like high-performance fiber reinforced concrete (HPFRC), fiber reinforced polymers (FRP), low-carbon cementitious binders, engineered cementitious composites (ECC) and integration of such materials for structural applications including upgrading and retrofitting of existing structures. Furthermore, this line will include research to improve the use of recycled and reclaimed materials in the construction industry.

Sound and Sustainable Structural Systems
This research line intends to promote sustainable and long-lasting structures under severe loads and environmental conditions. Of particular interest, are research activities focusing on seismic-resilient systems, blast- and impact-resistant structures, and novel energy dissipation and isolation materials and devices.
This research line involves design, testing, evaluation and analysis of structural systems/components including buildings and bridges that incorporate new and emerging composite and high-performance materials under static, dynamic, impact, blast, and cyclic loading.

  1. Title of the project: Rapid Strengthening of Unreinforced Masonry Walls for Out-of-Plain Action Using Fiber Reinforced Shotcrete.

    Principal Investigator: Salah Altoubat

    Co Investigators: Mohmed Maalej, Samer Barakat, Moussa Leblouba

    External Collaborators: Dr. Pierre Estephane

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: Unreinforced masonry elements are primarily designed to withstand in-plane compression loads with little consideration of the forces generated in accidental events such as earthquake and impact loads. In the occurrence of such events, the unreinforced masonry elements experience in-plane and/or out-of-plane horizontal loads, which they are not designed for, and thus, they will not be able to withstand these additional forces. Further, significant efforts have been devoted in recent years to develop effective methods of enhancing the out-of-plane resistance of URM walls driven by the need to develop impact & blast-resistant designs & retrofits for buildings. For these structures, the first real defense against the effect of impact & blast loadings is the building exterior, which is commonly made of masonry. The objective of the proposed research is to develop a rapid method of strengthening URM walls by the use of fiber reinforced shotcrete (FRS) with and without steel reinforcement and investigate experimentally the performance of strengthened URM walls subjected to out-of-plane static loading as well as projectile impact so as to demonstrate the viability of FRS in applications for hardening of structures against blast and impact.

  2. Title of the project: Innovative Vibration Attenuation Devices for Equipment and Structures

    Principal Investigator: Mohmed Maalej

    Co Investigators: Moussa Leblouba, Salah Altoubat, Samer Barakat

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: This study concerns the development of new vibration attenuation and energy dissipation systems. These devices, which are a kind of passive control systems, can be incorporated into equipment or structures to reduce the undesirable effects of vibrating forces. A combination of numerical analysis and experimental tests are used to assess the behavior of these devices under different loading conditions. To assess the vibration attenuation capabilities of the proposed control systems, isolated equipment and structures are analyzed and experimentally tested.

  3. Title of the project: Experimental Study on Shear strength of trapezoidal corrugated steel webs

    Principal Investigator: Samer Barakat

    Co Investigators: Salah Altoubat, Mohmed Maalej, Moussa Leblouba,

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: The objective of this experimental study is to manufacture and test a set of wide-flange steel beams with corrugated webs. The results will be used to validate a numerical model that was developed to predict the shear strength of such beams. It was recognized from theoretical and experimental results that the shear buckling strength of a steel beam with corrugated web is complicated and affected by several parameters. A model that predicts the shear strength of a steel beam with corrugated web with reasonable accuracy was sought. To that end, a total of 93 experimental data points were collected from different sources. Then mathematical models for the key response parameter (shear buckling strength of a steel beam with corrugated web) were established via multiple regression analysis (MRA) in terms of different input geometric, loading and materials parameters. Results indicated that, with a minimal processing of data, MRA could accurately predict the shear buckling strength of a steel beam with corrugated web within a 95% confidence interval, having an R2 value of 0.93 and passing the F- and t-tests. To validate the above models it was decided to carry out a controlled experimental study to get more data points. The results of this proposed experimental study will be used to validate and enhance the numerical models obtained based on theoretical analysis and propose to the steel structures industry a simplified shear capacity model for beams with corrugated webs.

  4. Title of the project: Investigation on the behavior and performance of wire rope isolators

    Principal Investigator: Moussa Leblouba

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: Wire rope isolators have found numerous applications in both civil and military industries. The proposed research project aims at studying the nonlinear hysteresis behavior of individual wire rope isolators and develop mathematical models suitable to predict this behavior in all directions (compression/tension, roll, and shear). After calibration with experimental data, the proposed mathematical models will be used to simulate the hysteresis behavior of wire rope isolators having different configurations and different properties.

  5. Title of the project: Management of Load Transfer to Underground Structures by Using Geocell Soil Reinforcement 

    Principal Investigator: Maher Omar

    Co Investigators: Abdallah Shanableh, Waleed Zeiada, Ali Tahmaz

    External Collaborators: Mohammed Fattah

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: Arching effect is usually common and encountered in soils both in the field and in the laboratory. This effect is mostly recognized in underground structures such as underground conduits or pipelines. The aim of the research is to investigate the mitigation of strain in buried flexible pipelines and ground response in term settlement over such pipes using 3-Dimensional geocell reinforcement. These conduits or pipelines buried at shallow depths are likely to experience bending and damage due to the application of repeated loads or heavy static loads from temporary structures. Therefore, critical issues that should be considered include settlement of the soil surface, transfer of pressure onto the pipe and, consequentially, greater pipe wall strain. All are considered critical and require safety considerations during the design phase, which will actually reflect on cost, implementation phases, and performance. As goecell reinforcement is an effective and reliable technique for improving strength, stability, and in reducing settlement, this research will help understand the actual factors behind soil settlement above the pipe and how to reduce the pipe diametral and accumulating strains.

  6. Title of the project: Development of Weather, Soil, and Traffic Database for the Implementation of Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design in Sharjah

    Principal Investigator: Waleed Zeiada

    Co Investigators: Maher Omar, Khaled Hamad, Tarek Merabtene

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: The recently introduced Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) and the associated design software known as AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design, provides a state-of-the art mechanistic-empirical pavement design methodology. The implementations and calibration of the MEPDG has been recently attempted by various agencies throughout the entire globe and replaced AASHTO 1993 pavement design method. The MEPDG methodology is based on pavement responses computed using detailed traffic loading, material properties, and environmental data. The main objective of this proposed research is to develop a database of local subgrade material properties, environmental factors, and traffic information as an initial step towards the implementation of the MEPDG in city of Sharjah. This would enhance the design process, solve existing structural pavement problems, and improve the pavement performance, consequently reduces highway construction and maintenance costs, and reduce travel time and user costs.

  7. Title of the project: Polycal Wire Rope Vibration Isolator for Industrial Equipment – A Mathematical Model

    Principal Investigator: Moussa Leblouba

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: Vibration is a phenomenon whereby oscillations occur about an equilibrium point. Vibration sources can be an earthquake, wind, ocean waves, operation of machinery, traffic and construction works etc. In most of the cases, the effects of vibration become unacceptable and it may cause structural damage or affect the operation of the equipment. Hence, adding a discrete system to isolate the vibration from source becomes necessary. Polycal wire rope isolator (PWRI) is a newly developed vibration isolator consisting of stranded wire rope held between two metal retainer bars and the metal wire rope is made up of individual wire strands that are in frictional contact with each other, hence, it is a kind of friction–type isolator. This proposed research aims to develop a mathematical model to calculate the vertical & lateral stiffness of PWRI. The mathematical model for the vertical & lateral stiffness of PWRI can be developed using the Castigliano's second theorem and will be validated with the monotonic loading test results. The proposed work will provide a mathematical model to calculate the vertical & lateral stiffness, which will assist in the selection and design of PWRI and will avoid the costly and time-consuming experimental work. In addition, the proposed research would be an advantage to the Malaysian industry through a better protection of equipment.

  8. Title of the project: Investigation on the Performance of Geopolymer Concrete (GPC) reinforced with Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP)

    Principal Investigator: M. Talha Junaid

    Co Investigators: Salah Altoubat

    Sponsors: University of Sharjah

    Abstract: Geopolymer Concrete (GPC) has been recently identified as a sustainable and low carbon impact construction material that can replace Ordinary Portland Cement Concrete (OPC). However, research in this area has been largely focused on the material properties of GPC. The current project aims at a continuous, consistent and engineered in-house production of GPC, using industrial by-product materials. Essential material properties of the produced GPC will be determined and used to assess the suitability of such concrete in main stream construction. To further utilize the potential of GPC as a sustainable construction material; the use of Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymers in such concretes to replace conventional steel reinforcement, would be investigated.