Researchers receive award

Victorian Award for Excellence-2019 for Technology and Innovation in Concrete

Logos of both organisations

Prof Priyan Mendis and Dr Shanaka Kristombu Baduge, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, have been awarded the 2019 Victoria Award for Excellence from Concrete Institute of Australia (CIA) for the research and innovation in Very-High Strength Concrete (VHSC) and pushing the limits of concrete tall buildings. Concrete Institute of Australia recognised that the research studies at the University of Melbourne collaborated with LafargeHolcim and BASF significantly contributed to developing suitable mix design methods, understanding of VHSC and pushing the boundary of existing codes of practice up to 150 MPa through innovative approaches and research. 

Design and construction of tall buildings is becoming more popular around the globe due to land scarcity in metropolitan areas because of rapid urbanisation.  To resist extreme loading conditions in tall buildings, high-strength concrete (HSC) (50–100 MPa) and very-high strength concrete (VHSC) (>100 MPa) are specified more regularly due to the higher performance. Since neither existing codes of practice nor research can provide design guidance for VHSC the research, project aimed to enable the use of VHSC and push the boundaries of tall buildings.

The project developed economical and sustainable mix designs methods for VHSC using experimental programs, machine learning techniques, multiscale modelling of concrete, nano-scale investigations and statistical approaches. Then, based on the experimental and analytically approaches, the project developed guidelines for the design of VHSC columns to enable the use of VHSC in super-tall buildings. The study concluded that the novel design approaches are more efficient in resisting earthquake loads and enable using VHSC columns in low-seismic areas up to 150 MPa and push the boundaries of concrete codes and limits in tall buildings.

Considering the importance of limiting embodied energy and carbon emission of VHSC, Sadeep Thilakarathne, Dr Seongwon Seo and the team carried out studies using machine learning techniques to identify optimum sustainability while satisfying the mechanical properties.

The state winners will be nominated for the national awards for excellence in concrete and the team will represent Victoria State under technology and innovation category which will be awarded CIA Concrete 2019 Conference Dinner on 10 September.