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不少香港學子前往海外升學,希望升讀大學排名前列的優良大學。事實上,香港不乏傑出學府,大學排名機構QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) 最新公布的2018年世界大學學科排名顯示,香港理工大學於工程- 土木及結構(Engineering - Civil & Structural)學科,榮獲全球第十及全港第一的排名。

香港理工大學土木及環境工程學系系主任林興強講座教授表示,土木及環境工程學牽涉範疇廣泛,當中包括橋樑建造、房屋結構、環境工程及交通運輸等,是社會中不可或缺的部分。學系自1984年起提供學士學位課程,並開始作科研探
討,而當時並未得到世界排名。「在這三十多年間,學系的排名躍升至QS 排名全球第十及全港第一。而學系發展至今,科研團隊來自世界各地,有150名研究員及165名博士研究生;學術課程亦已開辦高級文憑、全日制學士、碩士及博士課程。」另外,由上海交通大學高等教育研究院世界一流大學研究中心發布的世界大學學術排名(Academic Ranking of World Universities,簡稱ARWU),當中理大土木及環境工程學系分別有六位及兩位的教授在土木工程和環境科學及工程領域被評為引用次數最高的科學家。他表示,對學系得到不俗排名感到高興。「全因學系學者的傑出表現,學系發表的論文數量及質素,以及論文的引用次數,促使學系能名列前茅。」

20180411 HoD

▲香港理工大學土木及環境工程學系系主任林興強講座教授表示,全因學系學者的傑出表現,使學系得到世界認可,名列前茅

研究項目多應用層面遍布全球

多年來,學系發表多項傑出研究成果,應用層面極廣,包括智能交通系統、環保磚、鐵路光纖監測和空氣質素監察等,採用地點亦多,在香港、內地,以至海外國家都有其身影。香港方面,林教授研發出智能交通系統,創作出一套結合儲存及即時數據的隨機算法軟件,實時計算交通網絡的不確定因素,在主要公路、隧道顯示牌上列出可選擇的不同路線所需的行車時間及有關路段的擠塞情況,讓司機選取最合適的道路,而這套智慧交通系統已在香港及曼谷應用。學系教授又以固體建築廢料和光催化劑,製成可改善空氣質素的環保路磚。透過陽光催化,減低空氣中的氮氧化物濃度,林教授表示,這種土磚更可以將汽車排放的氮氧化物轉變成非氮氧化物,改善空氣污染。現時已有本地公司生產理大研發的環保磚,並在香港各中小學、公園及遊樂場等地鋪設。此外,學系的「大氣污染小組」一直進行空氣質素監察,在鶴咀設空氣質素監察站,收集大氣數據,協助香港政府進行空氣質素監察及霧霾分析。

20180411 news1

▲學系研發的環保路磚由固體建築廢料製成,並加入光催化劑,透過陽光照射,減低空氣中氮氧化物的濃度。

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▲智能交通系統列出可選擇的不同路線所需的行車時間及有關路段的擠塞情況,讓司機選取最合適的道路。

內地方面,近十年來,內地積極建構高鐵網絡,西九高鐵站的興建工程亦步入最後階段。高鐵列車能否安全且順利接載乘客,依靠鐵路軌道的安全。學系與內地大學合作研發出光纖監測裝置,安裝在列車和路軌等不同位置,能即時監測行駛和勞損狀況,如檢查路軌有否出現裂縫,從而計算列車出軌的風險,避免意外發生。林教授表示,光纖監測裝置已於內地高鐵系統使用, 「2016年暑假,學系更獲委託在奧運會前監測里約熱內盧的新地鐵列車。」再者,學系又開發出先進的NIDA軟件,這是一款鋼鐵結構的二階綜合分析與設計軟件,協助工程師計算使用不同粗幼度的鋼鐵興建創新及安全的非線性鋼建築。林教授指: 「使用NIDA可更準確地計算需要的鋼鐵量,一方面可減低不必要的鋼鐵耗用量,另一方面可減少支出。與此同時,仍可建造安全及創新的鋼鐵建築物。」他更舉例,不少知名建築均使用NIDA分析及設計,包括現為國家體育場的北京奧運主場館「鳥巢」,新加坡濱海灣花園。由此可見,學系著重理論和實踐,對社會、基建、持續發展有影響力的研究。學系的發明不但得到實際應用,更得到國家政府認可。2015年,學系獲中國科學技術部批准授牌成立兩個國家工程技術研究中心香港分中心:國家軌道交通電氣化與自動化工程技術研究
中心香港分中心,以及國家鋼結構工程技術研究中心香港分中心。林教授指前者專注研發適用於鐵路的先進技術,以提高內地高鐵的安全、可靠和舒適度;而後者將凝聚香港建造業的力量,建立國際工程技術平台,提高國產鋼材的品質至世界水準。林教授表示: 「我們亦期望與更多國際院校作科研合作,為世界塑造一個可持續的未來。2015年,學系牽頭成立了『亞洲大學土木工程卓越中心』,推進亞洲區土木及環境工程學科的合作。」

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▲學系與內地大學合作研發出光纖監測裝置,安裝在高鐵列車和路軌等不同位置,可即時監測列車的行駛和勞損狀況,避免意外發生。

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▲不少世界知名的鋼結構建築,如北京的「鳥巢」,均利用學系開發的NIDA 軟體,計算建築物需用多少鋼鐵以建造安全及創新的建築物。

展望未來 繼續保持國際級領導地位

林教授指: 「展望未來,透過培育香港及區內人才,以及與世界知名的院校作科研和學術合作,期望理大土木及環境工程學系的研究及課程能繼續保持國際級領導地位。」他表示,學系將不斷革新課程,邀請海外學者到訪理大,審視和提高課程的質素,維持國際學術水準。有關學系的最新發展,可查看學系的網頁www.polyu.edu.hk/cee

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Translated from News in Ming Pao published on 11 April 2018

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018 - Engineering - Civil & Structural

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University - Ranked Number 10 Worldwide

Many Hong Kong students are pursuing their education overseas, in the hope of receiving education from quality and high-ranking universities. However, the fact is that the vast majority of local universities in Hong Kong are of comparable standards in terms of academic excellence. According to the 2018 World University Rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), in the subject of Engineering – Civil & Structural, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is ranked 10th worldwide and 1st in Hong Kong.

According to Professor H.K. William Lam, Chair Professor of Civil & Transportation Engineering and Head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of PolyU, the field of civil and environmental engineering involves a wide range of disciplines, including bridge and infrastructure construction, structural engineering, environmental and transportation engineering etc., each of which is indispensable to the functioning of society. In 1984, the Department started offering bachelor’s degree programmes and conducting academic research in various related disciplines. In the subsequent thirty plus years, the Department has made enormous leaps, from a relatively unknown and unranked department to being ranked number 10 worldwide and number 1 in Hong Kong.

Nowadays, research team members in the Department congregate from all over the world, with 150 researcher staff and 165 PhD research students. Education offerings have also been extended from high diploma programmes to full-time bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree programmes. In another ranking report, Academic Ranking of World Universities by ShanghaiRanking in 2016, six of the departmental academics in the field of Civil Engineering, and another two in the field of Environmental Science and Engineering are among the most cited researchers. Professor Lam was very pleased with the high ranking and the commendation, and he added, “The Department is able to attain such remarkable achievements, thanks to the academic excellence of the colleagues, the amount and quality of published works, and the frequency of references to these works.”

Multi-Disciplinary Research, with Global Application

In the past decades, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has published an abundance of first-class research results, with widespread applicability. The fruits of these studies have been applied to different areas such as the Intelligent Transportation System, Eco-block (environmentally friendly paving blocks that replaces conventional blocks), Optical Fibre sensing network for railway monitoring, and air-quality monitoring. Their applications can be found in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and overseas.

Professor Lam has developed a novel solution algorithm for an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) with consideration of uncertainty in congested road networks. By the integration of both historical and real-time traffic data, the system can estimate the journey times of alternative routes on real-time basis. The estimated traffic information are displayed on the journey time indicators on major roads and tunnels for drivers to choose the most suitable route. This ITS has already been implemented in Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Eco-block is a paving block made from construction waste with a catalyst on the surface. In addition to being environmentally friendly due to the nature of materials used, Eco-block has the ability to improve air quality be removing air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides through a process called photocatalysis that can help alleviate air pollution in highly populated urban areas. This new generation of paving block is being manufactured by local companies, and it is being used in the construction of pavements in schools, parks, and playgrounds.

In terms of air-quality monitoring, the atmospheric pollution research group of the Department has been monitoring air quality with its own monitoring station at Cape D’Aguilar. Data are collected to assist the HKSAR Government in air quality monitoring and smog analysis for sustainable urban development policy.

Optical fibre sensing network for railway monitoring is another fruit of the research by the Department. In the past decade, China has put tremendous effort into constructing the high speed rail networks. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station has entered the final phase of construction. The safety of the rail networks and their passengers is of paramount importance and must be ensured. To that end, the Department has collaborated with universities in the Mainland to create the Optical fibre sensing network in order to monitor the railway systems. Built inside individual trains and at various locations of the railways, this sensing network can monitor railway operations and the integrity of the railways. The system can, for example, identify the cracks on the railway track that appear and assess the risk of derailment, so as to prevent catastrophic accidents. Professor Lam reveals that this sensing network has been in use in high speed rail networks in China. In addition, the Department was commissioned to monitor and assess the Buenos Aires Railway to ascertain its readiness for service just before the Olympic Games in Brazil in the summer of 2016.

In the field of structural engineering, the Department has developed a state-of-the-art nonlinear steel structure analysis and design computer software, called the NIDA. According to Professor Lam, NIDA can accurately calculate the number and dimensions of steel members required for construction, which can help reduce steel usage and cost, while allowing for the design and construction of innovative and safe steel structures. He also points out that quite a few famous structures, such as the Beijing National Stadium, commonly known as the Bird’s Nest, and the Garden by the Bay in Singapore, have benefited from the use of NIDA for analysis and design of these innovative steel structures. As can be seen, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department pays equal attention to theory and practice, and its research has a great influence on infrastructure construction, and sustainable development in our society.

Not only have these inventions gained practical applications, they have also gained the recognition of the Chinese Central Government. In 2015, the Department received approval from the State Ministry of Science and Technology to establish two Hong Kong Branches of Chinese National Engineering Research Centres at PolyU – the Hong Kong Branch of National Rail Transit Electrification and Automation Engineering Technology Research Centre, and the Hong Kong Branch of National Engineering Research Centre for Steel Construction. Professor Lam indicates that the former focuses on developing advanced rail technology to enhance safety, reliability, and comfort of China’s high speed rail, and the latter works closely with the construction industry of Hong Kong to build an international technological platform for steel construction to advance China-made steel quality to world leading standard. He also said, “We hope to collaborate with more renowned international educational institutions on scientific research and development, in order to craft a sustainable future for the world. In 2015, the Department assumed the leading role in establishing the “Asian Universities Cluster – Centre of Excellence in Civil Engineering” to facilitate cooperation with leading civil engineering departments in Asia for academic collaboration such as joint research projects on various important topics with high impact on society.

Maintaining International Leadership Position into the Future

Professor Lam has high expectation for the future, “Through cultivating local and regional talents, and collaborating with world renowned educational institutions on academic and scientific research, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of PolyU hopes to maintain the international leadership position in its academic curricula and research.” He states that in order to maintain the internationally recognized academic standard, the Department will continue to innovate its academic programmes, to invite overseas scholars to visit and teach at the Department, and to assess and enhance its programme quality continually. For the latest news on the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of PolyU, please visit the website www.polyu.edu.hk/cee.