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The laboratory explores various aspects of soil-structure interaction problems through novel sensing techniques and investigation of strain distribution and stress mobilisations in composite structures and foundation systems. The research focuses on the use of high-performance materials, such as high-strength steel materials, in foundation engineering and underground construction. Advanced instrumentation techniques including those with fibre optics sensing are investigated and deployed in field and laboratory studies.

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Figure (left): Laboratory for development and calibration of advanced sensing equipment
(right) Fibre optic sensing equipment based on Optical Frequency Domain Reflectometry, and examples of fibre optic cables for field deployment

Research Team


Dr Andy Leung

  • Members

  Prof. K. F. Chung (Director of CNERC for Steel Construction – Hong Kong Branch)
Prof. T. M. Chan (Deputy Director of CNERC for Steel Construction – Hong Kong Branch)
Dr H. C. Ho (Deputy Executive Secretary of CNERC for Steel Construction – Hong Kong Branch)
Miss Xiaoyu Chen (PhD student)
Mr A Abdullah (PhD student)
Mr Dingjian Zhang (PhD student)

  • Collaborators

Dr Horace MK Lo (Postdoctoral fellow)
Dr Maoxin Wang (Postdoctoral fellow)
Dr Daoyuan Tan (Associate Professor, Nanjing University)


Selected Projects

Project 1: Strain developments in composite structural elements & high-strength steel in foundations 

Composite structural elements, such as concrete-filled steel tube utilises the confinements provided by steel tube to enhance the performance of concrete column, and can have wide range of applications in superstructures and substructures. The strain developments and interaction between these elements are, however, not well understood. The high-resolution optical fibre optic sensors enable the strain developments can be accurately captured, providing a new means to understand the interaction between concrete and steel tubular structures of different geometries. 
The use of high-strength steel as foundation elements, such as socketed H-piles, is associated with clear benefits. With the abovementioned sensing technology, the strain developments in the steel H section, grout and surrounding geomaterials can be revealed. The available bond strengths between different components can be determined and the new data shed new insights to the behaviour of these foundation components, in order to promote their application in construction.


Figure. Examples of composite structures and H-section specimens with fibre optic sensors, and strain development patterns 


Project 2:  Fibre optic sensing in field investigation of soil-structure interaction

The research team actively explores opportunities for field deployment of new sensing technologies in underground construction projects, with recent examples including the monitoring of deep excavation, foundation piles, soil nails, tunnels, etc. Field instrumentation provides information on the response of underground infrastructure in complex and variable ground conditions, and helps to verify design assumptions on phenomena of soil-structure interaction. 


Figure: Site deployment of fibre optic sensing to investigate soil-structure interaction in diaphragm walls (Lin et al. 2023)



Contact Us

  • Address: Chinese National Engineering Research Centre for Steel Construction (Hong Kong Branch) The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Phase 8, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
  • +852 3400 8451

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