Firas Daghistani (pictured above), a PhD student in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical), is researching how a recycled material and sand blend could be used as backfill material in construction.
“I worked in construction for several years and became interested in geotechnics, an area in civil engineering that investigates the behaviour of earth materials,” he says.
Daghistani is currently researching the mechanical properties of recycled granular rubber and carpet fibre materials mixed with coarse sand. “I am measuring how much it compresses, and resists sliding against itself – known as shear strength – and whether it could be used in construction,” he explains.
“I hope my research demonstrates that recycled materials can be used as backfill, helping to reduce waste.”
Rayed Almasoudi is a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical), exploring the interaction between soil and construction materials.
“Concrete, steel, wood and plastics interact in different ways with soil,” he explains. “I am analysing the behaviours of these materials in different conditions to determine when they become unstable and slip.”
“It is important to consider these interactions when planning infrastructure to ensure that structures, like dams and retaining walls, can withstand high forces without failing.”
Almasoudi has enjoyed studying at La Trobe and learning from colleagues with different expertise.
“I look forward to graduating and returning to my home country, Saudi Arabia, to become an academic,” he says. “I hope to use my knowledge and experience to contribute to the booming construction market and teach the next generation of civil engineers.”