Resilient Infrastructure


Resilient Infrastructure research at UNSW Canberra focuses on the design, operation, maintenance, and protection of infrastructure to mitigate disaster risks that arise from a variety of hazards. Our team of experts have developed significant research capability in vulnerability modelling and assessing the effects of man-made, cyberspace, and natural hazards on buildings and critical infrastructure. We aim to ensure infrastructure systems can withstand, adapt to, and recover quickly from anticipated or unexpected shocks and stresses - now and in the future. 

Natural & Man-made Hazards

Natural disasters, extreme weather events, the changing climate, and man-made hazards have destructive and devastating consequences on human society and the natural environment. This includes earthquakes, tsunami, flooding, fire, and war. Critical infrastructure often sustains a high amount of damage as a result of these events. 

Our research supports adaptation to ensure critical building and infrastructure projects can withstand significant and unexpected changes in the social and physical environment within which they are designed, built, and operated, beyond the normal day-to-day demands of their strengths and capacities. Our research covers the: 

  • development of new resilient structures using advanced protective systems and new materials such as high strength steel, polymers, ceramics, auxetics, and fabrics. 
  • planning, design, and management of sustainable and resilient transportation systems to guarantee a timely response to natural or man-made disruptions. 
  • development of efficient and effective solutions to technological challenges against natural and man-made threats such as gas explosions, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), combined impact and base loading, vehicle collisions, and hail damage. 
  • development of advanced simulation, validated numerical platforms, and finite element analysis (FEA) codes and the provision of a wide range of consultations and training opportunities to relevant stakeholders. 
  • provision of risk management and modelling, and innovative protection solutions to improve the resilience of geotechnical structures such as bridges, tunnels, or dams. 
  • design and operation of flexible off-grid renewable energy supply systems. 

Cyber Threats

Services such as water, gas, electricity, and transportation systems are enhanced with the digitisation of critical infrastructure and widespread adoption of network and remote monitoring and control technologies. However, this evolution has also extended the attack surface for cybersecurity incidents to impact critical operations.  

Given the increasing number of cyber-attacks globally, our research explores the resilience of critical infrastructure systems with a focus on: 

  • intrusion detection and prevention for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), industrial internet of things (IoT), and cyber-physical systems. These systems are part of a network and use computer-based algorithms to remotely monitor and control functions of pipeline operations. 
  • the use of artificial intelligence to analyse abnormal data. This data can be used to pinpoint and address cyber vulnerabilities quickly and protect computer systems, networks, and individuals from potential threats. 

Research conducted in the area of Resilient Infrastructure is closely linked to research in Advanced Materials and Impact Dynamics, Sustainable Infrastructure, Cyber-Physical Systems, Intelligent Security, and Complex Systems Security.  

Competitive Advantage

  • An award-winning team of experts with high industry recognition, strong connections, and high visibility on both national and international levels. 
  • A unique combination of skills covering blast and impact physics and experiments, numerical modelling of the response of structures to high-rate loads, and high-velocity impacts using non-linear hydrocodes. 
  • State-of-the-art facilities such as an Impact Dynamics Lab for testing how structures behave under extreme loading conditions, including blast and high-velocity impact and dynamic material testing. 
  • Extensive experience in a wide range of dynamic testing including blast and impact trials, and dynamic materials. 
  • A unique ability to integrate human factors in transport network resilience and conduct probabilistic-based design of soil structures (embankment, footings, and landfill) and pavement. 

Successful Applications

  • Experimental and numerical studies on combined blast and fragments effects on steel and steel-concrete sandwich structures for foreign decision-makers. 
  • Probing the blast and ballistic performance of a new fast-jet bunker design for a foreign entity. 
  • Successful engagement of designing protective structures and critical infrastructures in key development projects. 
  • Successful development of a numerical framework to predict the simultaneously detonated multiple charge interactions within a confined volume. 
  • Numerical modelling of vehicle crash analysis of Captain-Cook and Iron Bark Bridges (NSW). 
  • Impact assessment of falling girders on steel protective beam system - Level crossing removal project, Melbourne  
  • Probabilistic based design method will affect the design philosophy of geotechnical structures considering the variation of soil and environmental impact  
  • A flexible off-grid rural electricity supply system in India for hundreds of houses.
  • PluS Alliance Seed project (12 months, 2020-2021): Risk Management-based Framework for Developing Intelligent Systems for Natural Disasters
  • Combined Blast and Fragment Test for Steel and Concrete-steel Panels & Impact of High-speed Fragments on Steel and Concrete-steel Composite Samples 
  • Cooperative Isolated Renewable Energy Systems for Enhancing Reliability of Power in Rural India 
  • Cooperative Micro Grids Integrated Smart Electric Transportation Systems (CMGISETS): Coordinated Technologies for Seamless Energy Management, Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration
  • Application of CFD in Shock Wave Propagation (2021) -DSP Research Agreement—10303
  • Comprehensive numerical simulation of multiple charge interaction within a confined volume (2020) -DSP Research Agreement - 9278.

Study with Us

Undergraduate students studying aeronautical, civil, and mechanical engineering programs who are interested in exploring resilient infrastructure can study the following courses in their final year: 

Projects focused on resilient infrastructure systems are also available to final year students.