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Innovation & Research

Issue No. 55


Heavy vehicle impact on bridge piers 6 Buildings

Appearance criteria for façades 4 Carbon-neutral buildings Design of composite beams

Low water use in domestic buildings 6 Design

Design of composite beams Enabling social inclusion


Escaping sediment Environment

CEEQUAL launch

Carbon-neutral buildings ConGlassCrete

Easy Access management Escaping sediment


8 3 7 5 4

Non-ferrous waste in new roads 2 Innovation

Investment for future prosperity 7 Materials

Appearance criteria for façades 4 ConGlassCrete


Heavy vehicle impact on bridge piers 6 Non-ferrous waste in new roads 2

Public Health Engineering Beware super bugs!

Sustainable Construction New SCiP roadshow

Water Low water use in domestic buildings 6 8 3

5 4

3 5

Slope stabilisation:

plants-soil-slope interaction The Academy’s Global Research Awards scheme provides an exciting opportunity

for engineers currently engaged in R&D in the UK to extend their research in centres of excellence overseas, for periods of three to twelve months.

T he scheme

encourages the involvement of

engineers in

advanced engineering techniques, in partic- ular where such technologies are novel, or not readily available in the UK, and in networking around the world. The Academy will fund 50% of the costs of the visit(s) up to a ceiling of £35,000.

An indication of the broad spread of projects is exemplified by The Academy’s support of Dr David Barker who is com- pleting a series of sec- ondments on slope stabilisation totalling nine months over three years.

The research – in the Unites States and in New Zealand – focuses on in situ tree root architecture characterisation and

of Forest Resources, under Professor Ron Hendrick, is also part of the minihrizotron network. Here, David Barker and French co- researchers have exhumed trees using high-velocity air jet (greater than Mach II) lances to remove soil with high rates of fine root recovery.

Specialist digitisa- tion, graphical visuali- sation and data-process- ing software is being used to obtain root architecture data for the slope stability modelling being undertaken by Barker and Emeritus Professor T H Wu of Ohio State University, USA.

Exhumed roots of white oaks

computer modelling for slope stability analysis. Seasonal root growth patterns in forests have been observed for nearly 20 years using video images gained from minirhizotrons – small transparent tubes sunk 1m into shallow holes drilled into forest floors at sites extend- ing from New Mexico to Alaska.

This work is centred at Michigan Technical University at Houghton. US foresters, under Forestry Professor Kurt Pregitzer, have been carrying out this work in forest carbon-seques- tration research related to global warming con- cerns. The purpose of the secondments has been to adapt this work for assessing the mechanical contributions to slope stabilisation by tree roots.

The University of Georgia’s Warnell School

These techniques have been used on exhumed root matrices of white oaks (see photo) growing on slopes in the University of Georgia’s Whitehall Research Forest.

Barker is carrying out further root slope stabilising modelling with colleagues from Landcare in New Zealand.

International networking and dissemina- tion are vital components of The Academy’s scheme and to this end David Barker has presented his research at many conferences throughout the world.

For further information on all The Academy’s Research Support schemes, please contact Mr Rob Barrett, Manager, Research Support, The Royal Academy of Engineering (020 7227 0500; E-mail:; website:

Innovation & Research Focus Issue 55 NOVEMBER 2003 1 November 2003

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