Research Associate in Steel-Concrete Composite Structures

Heriot-Watt University - School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work with Dr George Vasdravellis, Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering, for a period of one year. The position will be based within the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot-Watt University.

The successful appointee will work in the EPSRC-funded project ‘Steel-concrete composite beams using precast hollow-core slabs and a demountable shear connection mechanism’. The overall objective of the project is to develop a steel-concrete composite floor system that offers the advantages of: a) modular construction; b) easy deconstruction at the end of the service life; and c) potential for reuse of all structural members to new buildings. Therefore, the proposed system promotes a circular economy model, i.e. a ‘make-use-reuse’ model as opposed to the ‘make-use-dispose of’ model. The project is aligned with the urgent need for a more sustainable construction industry by reducing CO2 emissions, reducing the amount of construction waste, and realising a more responsible use of natural resources. The project includes large scale experimental testing and advanced numerical simulations. The experimental part of the project involves: a) pushout tests that will assess the structural properties (strength, stiffness, ductility) and the design parameters of a novel shear connection mechanism; and b) full scale beam tests that will assess the structural behaviour of composite beams using the proposed technology and the feasibility of reusing the structural components. The numerical part of the project involves: a) detailed simulations of the pushout tests using the finite element method in an advanced numerical analysis software (e.g. Abaqus). These analyses will complement the pushout test results and will serve to calibrate a set of design rules for the novel shear connection; b) detailed numerical simulations of the composite beam tests. These analyses will serve to confirm and generalise the previous test results, and study the local failure modes and their possible implications in the deconstruction and reuse process; and c) calibration of simplified beam-type composite beam elements that will be used to carry out numerous parametric studies and will be easily implemented in commercial design software (e.g. SAP2000). The final phase of the project includes a detailed design procedure in the framework of Eurocode 4, specific recommendations to ensure easy deconstruction and reuse of components, and life-cycle assessment of buildings using the proposed floor system in order to quantify the sustainability merits that emanate from reusable buildings in practice. 

Applicants must have a PhD in Structural Engineering, preferably with specialisation in steel-concrete composite structures together with a background in advanced steel and steel-concrete composite design, finite element methods, concrete behaviour, experimental testing, data interpretation, and development of design rules based on test and numerical data.

The post is available for 12 months.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr George Vasdravellis at or on 0131 451 3465.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and ethnic minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts at Heriot-Watt.

For application details and further information please go to:

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