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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Southampton showcases high performance structures at EuroSTEEL conference

Published: 11 October 2023
Dr Sheida Afshan at EuroSteel2023
Dr Sheida Afshan (DoCMEE) delivered the keynote and chaired two technical sessions at EuroSteel2023

Last September, members of the University of Southampton’s Infrastructure Research Group (DoCMEE) were present in full force in Amsterdam taking part in the tenth European Conference on Steel and Composite Structures (EuroSteel2023) which takes place every three years.

The group contributed one Keynote Lecture and three oral presentations covering a wide range of topics from advanced materials in steel construction and energy sectors, steel materials numerical characterization, and machine-learning applications in structural engineering. The talks addressed key challenges facing the construction sector including the pending net-zero targets.

Dr Sheida Afshan , Associate Professor in Structural Engineering at the DoCMEE, delivered an invited Keynote Lecture on “High performance metallic materials for applications in infrastructure and energy sectors”, and chaired two technical sessions. As part of her keynote lecture, Sheida presented her ongoing research in the area of liquid hydrogen storage tank systems for maritime applications. This work was supported by Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) HEIF grants in 2020 and 2022 and led to Dr Afshan’s RAEng/Leverhulme Fellowship in 2022.

Dr Ahmed Elkady presenting at Eurosteel2023
Dr Ahmed Elkady presenting at Eurosteel2023 conference, Amsterdam

Rebecca Presswood , PhD candidate supervised by Dr Sheida Afshan and Dr Marco Baiguera, presented results of her numerical modelling work on fracture simulation of stainless-steel shear connectors in steel-concrete composite beams. This research is part of Rebecca’s broader PhD goal of developing design guidelines for sustainable stainless steel-concrete composite bridge construction, sponsored by industry collaborators the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) and Outokumpu.

Dr. Ahmed Elkady , a lecturer in structural engineering at the DoCMEE department, and his student, PhD candidate, Zizhou Ding were also present. Zizhou gave his first presentation, as a doctoral student, in the conference’s giant “Red Hall” in front of senior researchers and industry experts. The presentation described the first phase of Zizhou’s work that highlights the limitations and problems with the current design standards and numerical tools that are used to design flexible steel connections, and the ongoing action plan to address these limitations.

Zizhou Ding presenting at Eurosteel
Zizhou Ding presenting at the Meervaart Theatre’s Red Hall

This seminal work sets the stage for future developments that aim to achieve efficient steel construction which is the sector’s current top task to reduce carbon emissions and meeting the UK net-zero carbon target by 2050. Dr. Elkady’s presentation built on this work and showcased the next generation of numerical tools that leverage state-of-the-art explainable machine-learning advances to design and optimize steel connections with much higher accuracy than existing methodologies.

All presentations received positive feedback and stimulated lively discussions during the Q&A session and throughout the conference proceedings. Finally, the group members seized the opportunity to enjoy the boat trip in the inspirational Amsterdam canals, en route to the conference dinner.

Snapshots from the conference and the group exploring Amsterdam
Snapshots from the conference and the group exploring Amsterdam
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