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The Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) is pleased that a project led by Prof. Jin-Guang Teng of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) to develop a new type of concrete structures for marine infrastructure has been awarded more than HK$47 million, the largest amount of funding from the Research Grants Council Theme-based Research Scheme 2018/19. The local participating universities will provide more than HK$ 5 million as matching funding, bringing the total budget to above HK$ 52 million.

Entitled “Sustainable Marine Infrastructure Enabled by the Innovative Use of Seawater Sea-Sand Concrete and Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Composites,” the project addresses the severe deterioration problem of marine infrastructure caused by steel corrosion by replacing steel with fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) as the reinforcing material. This replacement then also allows the direct use of seawater and sea-sand in making the concrete (i.e., seawater-sea-sand concrete or SSC). Great environmental and economical benefits can be derived from the use of this new type of structures (referred to as FRP-SSC structures) in marine infrastructure. The research programme will include the development of innovative steel-free structural forms as well as new methods for the design, construction and performance monitoring of FRP-SSC structures. A key scientific challenge for the team is the establishment of a multi-scale, multi-physics approach for predicting the long-term performance of FRP-SSC structures in a marine environment over a service life of more than 50 or even 100 years. Results obtained with this method will assist greatly in the formulation of safe and economical design methods for FRP/SSC structures.

Co-principal investigators include Prof. Christopher Leung from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Prof. Zongjin Li from the University of Macau, CEE colleagues Prof. Yiqing Ni and Prof. Chi-sun Poon, Dr Florence Sanchez from Vanderbilt University in the US, Prof. Tong Sun from the University of London, Mr Sheng-Nian Wang of the CCCC Fourth Harbour Engineering Institute Co. Ltd. in mainland China, and Prof. Limin Zhou of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Since the Theme-based Research Scheme began in 2011/12, PolyU has had 2 projects funded by this highly competitive scheme, in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively, both with the theme of developing a sustainable environment. The previous winning project was led by Prof. Tao Wang of CEE.