Infrastructural health and operation monitoring are core parts of managing built assets. The project aims to develop robust cement-based sensors with integrated self-sensing and hydrophobicity, and to optimise their robustness and resilience for smart automation in future infrastructure. The new sensors are expected to assess structural health, monitor traffic-flow, decrease the costs of operation and maintenance through enhanced piezoresistivity and serviceability, and gain insights into intrinsic self-sensing and integral water repellency more accurately. The outcomes will improve predictions of performance and service, with major reductions in asset management costs through significantly more-efficient operation and maintenance.


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Area

Cement and concrete materials | Cement products and concrete materials

UNSW Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety (CIES) is a first-rate and productive research centre that has developed a world class research reputation, particularly in the areas of cement and concrete materials, and innovative decarbonised infrastructure. It consistently produces cutting-edge and high-impact research outcomes with state-of the-art facilities including a cementitious materials lab, heavy structures research lab, and advanced computational capabilities.

Objective 1: Design and fabricate cement-based sensors with highly intrinsic piezoresistivity: Analyse piezoresistive performance with hybrid functional fillers (Task 1); evaluate piezoresistivity under various loading and environmental conditions (Task 2).

Objective 2: Determine durability and resilience of integral hydrophobic cement-based sensors: Develop integral water repellent capacity for enhanced durability (Task 3); assess the robustness and serviceability under extreme environments (Task 4).

Objective 3: Explore smart automation in field application of future infrastructure: Explore field monitoring and assessing health condition of concrete structures (Task 5); validate real-time traffic-flow detection of concrete pavement and bridge (Task 6).

Scientia Associate Professor Wengui Li
Scientia Associate Professor

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Mater, 2017, 16: 698-699.

[4] Chan T, Thambiratnam D. Structural health monitoring in Australia, Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge NY, 2012.

[5] Australian Infrastructure. An Assessment of Australia’s Future Infrastructure Needs, 2019.

[6] Dong W, Li W, Tao Z, Wang K. Piezoresistive properties of cement-based sensors: Review and perspective. Constr Build Mater, 2019, 203: 146-163.