Research in civil and environmental engineering

Research in civil and environmental engineering addresses the close links between nature and the built environment. Therefore, the research topics focus on both a better understanding of the natural conditions, with a special focus on the consequences of climate change, and the behaviour of structures in this changing environment. Natural disasters are becoming less natural, floods become more frequent, earthquakes are ever more destructive, and it is therefore necessary to design or adapt structures to these new extreme conditions.

In the field of Structural Engineering, research focuses on the optimization of structures (with an emphasis on tensegrity structures), drone-based additive manufacturing of real scale structures, development of new timber construction processes (such as reciprocal structures), and universal construction elements such as droxels. On a different front, the group performs research on numerical simulation and large-scale testing of structural response to extreme and dynamic loading, with a view to the improvement of resilience for risk reduction. Namely, the latter activities include but are not limited to the behaviour of reinforced concrete structures under seismic loading.

Researches in the field of Hydraulics mainly concern fluvial hydraulics, sediment transport and flow modelling, especially under severe transient conditions such as for example dam-break flows or breaching or earthen embankments. Both experimental and numerical simulations approaches are developed. As regards laboratory experiments, the team has developed a strong expertise in non-intrusive measurement techniques based on digital imagery, such as PIV or photogrammetry. Numerous data sets are issued from these experiments that are used worldwide by scientists to validate their numerical simulation tools.

Our Civil and Environmental Engineering Group works in close collaboration with the LEMSC laboratory, which is a large infrastructure with specialized engineers and technicians running a wide range of mechanical, electromechanical, and hydraulic equipment – including powerful actuators and pumps, specialized sensors, and an ample strong floor.