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Victoria to host impact testing facility

Monash University is leading the launch of a national drop weight impact testing facility in Melbourne, Victoria to boost the structural safety of high-risk infrastructure.

The performance of structures has come to worldwide attention due to catastrophic failure of construction materials caused by natural disasters and man-made hazards.

The facility is anticipated to support research across industries including mining, thanks to technology that can observe the behaviour of elements under severe impact loading of up to two tonnes.

This will apply across railway networks, tunnels and bridges, buildings and construction materials, as well as road safety barriers and protective equipment.

Monash University’s head of structural engineering Amin Heidarpour said understanding the behaviour of construction and geo-materials under dynamic loading is essential in dealing with engineering problems, such as excavation, mining and blasting.

“A state-of-the-art impact engineering facility provides a national research focus on behaviour of construction materials and systems under impact loading with unique observation techniques,” Heidarpour said.

“This will ensure Australia is at the forefront of impact engineering research in the international arena, promoting local innovation and industrial competitiveness contributing to the safeguarding of Australia, saving lives and reducing losses.”

The facility can create an impact energy of up to 200,000 joules and impact velocity of up to 18 metres per second.

It is supported by an Australian Research Council grant and engineered and installed by Geelong-based company, Austeng.

Austeng managing director Ross George said the company was proud to be part of this important project and collaborate with Monash University.

“I am delighted our team was able to deliver a practical and workable solution given the stringent performance parameters set by Monash and the significant engineering challenges involved,” he said.

The facility will be a collaboration among seven universities in Australia, including the University of New South Wales, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Melbourne.

The facility will be located at Monash University’s Department of Civil Engineering and accessible to the industry.

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