Dr. Wael El-Dakhakhni
The initiative to establish the Centre for Effective Design of Structures has resulted in the following visible impacts:
This long standing area of strength and of extensive industrial collaboration is being expanded to provide leadership and a unique ability to assist the masonry industry. Targeted educational efforts and practical application of the results of research are progressing.
McMaster’s historical strength in this area, which was reduced through recent retirements, is being re-established. The increased importance of earthquake loading in design signifies the continuing importance of research and education in this area.
Canada’s built infrastructure is aging and has reached the point that repair or replacement is a growing requirement. Methods to investigate the condition of structures and to analyze current conditions and retrofitted conditions are required. This includes upgrade and / or repair of the building envelope. In addition, retrofit techniques need to be developed and refined for effective strengthening and development of effective resistance to seismic forces.
Construction is a very traditional area making it difficult for new materials to gain market acceptance. Plastics, fiber reinforcement, and new composites are examples of emerging new materials. In addition, some materials that have existed for some time have potential that has only been partially developed. Over the long term, this focus area is likely to become the largest area of collaboration with industry.
Some of the general thrusts that will be incorporated into the above focus areas include:
Endowment of the Martini, Mascarin and George Chair in Masonry Design was an initiative of the Ontario Masonry Contractors Association unparalleled in the history of the masonry industry. The chair was named for three OMCA founding members in recognition of their service to the industry: Peter L. Martini of North York, Tiberio Mascarin of Toronto and Eugene George of Kitchener.
The Association, established in 1971, represents contractors who specialize in installing masonry as well as manufacturers, suppliers and dealers who are involved with masonry materials, equipment and accessories.
The Martini, Mascarin and George Chair in Masonry Design will help ensure that current and future undergraduate and graduate engineering students are taught cutting-edge masonry design.
It will also enable researchers to build on the current body of knowledge for building codes and standards.
“Masonry design has been under-represented at universities around the world,” said McMaster civil engineering professor Robert Drysdale, who has been named to the chair for a five-year term. “This funding will enable us to investigate, assess and build upon current practices within the industry and, ultimately, help to make the buildings that we live and work in better and safer. Our work will also lead to greater efficiencies in building construction and design.”
“We are proud of the leadership our employers are exhibiting in the establishment of this chair. Industry, consumers and future generations of masons and engineers will benefit greatly from this initiative,” said OMCA associate executive director John Blair.
Ontario’s brick, concrete block and cement-manufacturing companies will also benefit.
“This partnership with the Ontario Masonry Contractors’ Association is a vote of confidence in McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, which is known worldwide for its innovation in research and education. Engineers at McMaster and at universities around the world will benefit from the advances this funding will provide,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, Vice President, Research. “Industry will also benefit from a pool of highly qualified and talented graduates who will have a better understanding of masonry design.”
(Reprinted from The MacEngineer with permission)
Centre for Effective Design of Structures
Department of Civil Engineering
1280 Main St. West, JHE 301
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L7
905-525-9140 ext. 24917