The focus of this research program relates to the all-encompassing design, environmental impact and cost consideration associated with producing ‘sustainable structures and materials’.

Our vision is to create sustainable modern major infrastructure improving the lives of the community and future generations.

We work across different disciplines and closely with government and industry to develop integrated, realisable structural solutions.

About our research

Major infrastructures in Australia and around the world are enabling our communities and economies to function.

These buildings, bridges, roads and their foundations are susceptible to dynamic effects that needs to be monitored, especially if they have suffered some loss in structural integrity over time.

Considering the events of the last decade and the impact on structures exposed to extreme conditions, including blast and fire loading, it is now paramount to assess traditional analysis, design and construction methods.

Ultimately, developing novel experimental and numerical analysis methodologies to find ways to solve current real-world problems is paramount.

Research focus

Our research focus aligns with the science and research priorities and associated practical research challenges of the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Research is conducted into the design and analysis of complex structures and the supporting foundations. Structural loads considered include dead, live, environmental and other loads such as foundation displacement, blasting and fire.

Our group leads the investigation into alternative aspects of designing and assessing structures using newly developed experimental and numerical dynamic analysis techniques, simulated blasting techniques and fire modelling.

We also undertake structural health monitoring to assess structures that are already in-service.

Structural mechanics is a strong stream in the civil, architectural and mechanical engineering programs taught by our research members.

Related units in our teaching efforts include:

  • Solid Mechanics
  • Engineering Materials and Construction
  • Introduction to Structural Engineering Design (Steel and Timber)
  • Geomechanics
  • Highway Engineering
  • Structural Analysis
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering Design 1
  • Structural Engineering Design 1 (Concrete)
  • Structural Engineering Design 2 (Composite design)
  • Urban Development and Transportation
  • Advanced Engineering Design
  • Engineering Applications

Research themes

Read about our research expertise in various areas.

  • Strength and serviceability behaviour of concrete elements.
  • Finite element behaviour of concrete non-flexural members.
  • Structural stability.
  • Dynamic behaviour of concrete structural elements.
  • Dynamic response of structures affected by sustained use.

  • Fire resistance of alternative materials, such as polymer fibres or geo-polymer concrete, within concrete elements.
  • Full scale structural fire testing of concrete elements under extreme loads.
  • Spalling resistance and performance of slender reinforced concrete walls subjected to fire.


  • Structural behaviour of polymer fibre reinforced concrete.
  • Design implications on structures utilising high strength concrete.
  • Behaviour of structures constructed from composite materials.

  • Usability of recycled materials for sustainable building products and enhancement of their structural properties.
  • Environmental impact assessment of structures: carbon footprint or embodied energy.
  • Environmentally efficient and sustainable design methodology development for concrete residential and office buildings.

  • Performance of recycled and waste materials in geotechnical and pavement applications.
  •  Mechanical characteristics of rigid pavements including geopolymer and fibre reinforced concrete pavements.
  •  Resilient behaviour of unbound granular pavements under repeated loads.
  • Unsaturated behaviour of soils and geostructures.
  • Reactive soil behaviour and their effects on foundations.
  • Thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) behaviour of rocks, and Hydraulic fracturing for oil/gas production and geothermal energy, and associated induced seismicity.

  • Advanced composite structures.
  • Nonlinear analysis and design of concrete-filled steel tubular (CFST) columns under static and dynamic loads.
  • Computational simulations of CFST columns exposed to fire and after being exposed to fire.
  • Topology optimisation techniques for optimal design of strut-and-tie models and bracing systems for high-rise buildings.

Research facilities

Located at the Footscray Park Campus:

  • Large and small universal testing machines for the static and dynamic testing of elements.
  • Concrete mixing and testing facility.
  • Geomechanics laboratory.
  • Engineering materials laboratory.
  • Computer laboratory with latest software.

Located at the Werribee Campus, state-of-the-art fire test facilities for applications in fire safety engineering, include:

  • Large and small scale fire testing furnaces
  • Cone calorimeter
  • 3MW calorimeter and ISO room


Our researchers

Members of this emerging research area continue to publish their work in a broad range of scholarly journals and in proceedings of international learned conferences.

Our recent publications can be viewed using research staff links.


Phone & email address

Research interests

Professor Sam Fragomeni,

+61 3 9919 5212
[email protected]

High performance concrete, design and serviceability of concrete elements, fire performance of structural elements and sustainable building design.

Dr Maurice Guerrieri,
Deputy Leader

+61 3 9919 8041
[email protected]

Performance of structures in fire, particularly the effect and study of concrete spalling, a phenomenon where concrete can explode under a fire load. Investigating alternative green concretes including firemodeling.

Dr Zora Vrcelj

+61 3 9919 4459
[email protected]

Structural Stability: Composite Steel-Concrete Structures: Steel Structures
Advanced Composites: Creep and Shrinkage
Biomimetics: Innovations in Engineering Education

Dr Rudi van Staden

+61 3 9919 4795
[email protected]

Application of the Finite Element Method to corbel, pavement and dental implant research; Education in Engineering.

Professor Vincent Rouillard

+61 3 9919 4602
[email protected]

Structural vibration and modal analysis, structural health monitoring, detecting structural degradation via vibration analysis, vibration excitation of structures.

Dr Leonard

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Monash University

Structural vibration and modal analysis, structural vibration absorbers, vibration excitation of structures.

Dr Vincent Wang

+61 3 9919 9453
[email protected]

Structural health monitoring allowing for stochastic effect, resilience of civil structures against hazards, and safety assessment of in-service concrete structures

Dr Wasantha Liyanage

+61 3 9919 5887

[email protected]

Reactive soil behaviour, Rock mechanics, Hydraulic fracturing, Induced seismicity 


Dr Ehsan Yaghoubi

+ 61 3 9919 4804  

[email protected]

Sustainable geotechnical materials, Resilient characteristics of pavements, Geotechnical testing, Pavement materials and design, Unsaturated geomechanics.


Associate Professor Prof Qing Quan (Stephen) Liang

+ 61 3 9919 4344

[email protected]

Founder and President of the Australian Association for Steel-Concrete Composite Structures (AASCCS)


Research collaboration

The group's research is aligned with the research on the spread of smoke and fire in buildings, fire extinguishment and the way structures respond to fire. Our collaborative projects on fire in structures, and on aspects of sustainable buildings have been mutually beneficial.

The group’s research has collaborative links with:

  • Fire Research group
  • College of Sport, Health and Engineering
  • Engineered Packaging and Distribution.

Contact us

You can directly contact one of our research staff whose work is aligned with your enquiry or one of the following.

Professor Sam Fragomeni
Leader, Structural Mechanics & Materials Research Group
College of Sport, Health and Engineering
Phone: 03 9919 5212
Email: [email protected]

Dr Maurice Guerrieri
Deputy Leader, Structural Mechanics & Materials Research Group
Phone: 03 9919 8041
Email: [email protected]