The University of Newcastle, Australia

The Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability (CIPAR) is at the international forefront in assessing the reliability, safety, durability and management of buildings, bridges, pipelines, aviation, and other infrastructure systems. The pioneering research at CIPAR includes risk and reliability assessment, corrosion of infrastructure, and structural masonry.

The Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability (CIPAR) comprises the following areas of international research strength:

  • Modelling of deterioration of steel, reinforced concrete structures,
  • Performance, durability and reliability of structural masonry,
  • Probabilistic terrorism risk assessment,
  • Structural response to explosive blast loading,
  • Security risk assessment and infrastructure protection,
  • Corrosion of cast iron bridge piers in marine environments,
  • Long-term corrosion of steel reinforcement in marine concrete structures
  • Energy performance of buildings and building materials,
  • Risk-based assessment of climate change adaptation strategies,
  • Influence of natural and man-made hazards on infrastructure risk and safety,
  • Risk-based decision-making,
  • Structuralreliability and risk assessment of complex systems, and
  • Life-cycle and sustainability issues for new materials, buildings and infrastructure.

The Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability comprises twelve academic and research staff. In the past five years CIPAR staff have published over 300 peer-reviewed research papers and obtained over $8 million in research funding from the Australian Research Council and industry. This places CIPAR at the forefront of international research in structural and reliability engineering. The three main research groups within CIPAR are:

Risk and Reliability

Risk and reliability research efforts are directed to structural aspects of bridges, buildings, and other new and existing built infrastructure, as well as other engineering systems. Emphasis is placed on predicting service life performance, particularly the effect of deterioration and maintenance on safety, life-cycle costs and remaining service life of structural steel, masonry and concrete structures. Recent work on risk-based decision-making includes security risks due to explosive blast loading, housing damage due to cyclones and maintenance of existing infrastructure. The principles of risk and reliability have been applied to a range of other hazards and engineering systems, such as the risk-cost-effectiveness of counter-terrorism measures for aviation security, and the effects of climate change on built infrastructure.

Corrosion of Infrastructure

Long-term corrosion and corrosion protection increasingly is of interest in maintaining existing infrastructure in use for longer periods but at acceptable levels of risk and reliability. This includes offshore structures, ships, pipelines, coastal structures, sheet piling, bridges, and buildings. To help predict long-term marine corrosion and pitting in immersed, tidal and atmospheric conditions probabilistic models are being developed. Similar work is progressing on the external corrosion of cast iron water pipes buried in soils, the internal corrosion of concrete sewer pipes, the internal corrosion of water injection pipelines and the corrosion of mooring chain and wire ropes for the offshore industry. Climate change has the potential to accelerate corrosion processes, and its effect on safety and durability of reinforced concrete structures is being assessed. The research is funded by private industry through several national and international Joint Industry Projects and by the Australian Research Council.

Structural Masonry

In the area of structural masonry there has been a long-standing interest in the behaviour of masonry under a variety of loading conditions from both experimental and theoretical perspectives. Both basic properties of masonry assemblages and the behaviour of masonry structures are of interest, with input being made to Australian Standards. Major areas of research include  the serviceability performance (cracking and durability) of masonry, seismic behaviour of unreinforced masonry, lateral load design methods for masonry wall panels, structural reliability of masonry, retrofitting of unreinforced masonry using fibre reinforced polymers, fundamental bond studies, and the thermal performance of masonry housing.  There are close links to the brick industry through Think Brick Australia.