Second International Conference on High Performance Structures and Materials

02 July 2004

The Second International Conference on High Performance Structures and Materials took place recently in Portonovo, Province of Ancona in Italy, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT) and the Free University of Brussels.

Carlos Brebbia, Director of WIT acted as Co-Chairman and Co-Editor of the Proceedings, together with Patrick, Head of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Brussels, and well known for his research on material sciences and composites.

Carlos opened the meeting by explaining the latest developments that have taken place at Ashurst Lodge, in particular the new accommodation facilities and the launching of the Transactions of Wessex Institute. These Transactions will comprise all papers presented at the WIT conferences and will be permanently available on the Web. This, Carlos stressed, is a major development for all our colleagues attending the WIT conferences as it will ensure that their work is easily available to the international scientific community.

The keynote address by Professor de Wilde was entitled “Recent Developments in Structural Morphology”. He described the types of topology parameters which can be used to optimise different types of structures. Patrick described new types of techniques, including evolutionary Algorithms, which can produce new forms when used for structural optimisation. They are well adopted for complex cases. Current work is focusing on dynamic cases and structures of complex geometry, particularly shells.

There was a series of sessions on topics such as:
Damage and fracture mechanics
Composite materials and structures
Optimal design
Natural fibre composites
Material characterisation
High performance materials
High performance concretes

A number of invited contributions by well known colleagues added to the quality of the presentation, eg:
“Flexural behaviour of a polymeric foam/glass-fibre composite: FE modelling and experimental testing” by G Belingardi, Politecnico di Torino, Italy.
“Static and impact behaviour of metal foam cored sandwich beams” by R.A.W. Mines, University of Liverpool, UK
“Nonlinear finite element modelling of composite structures with integrated piezoelectric layers” by R Schmidt, RWTA Aachen University, Germany.
“Modal vibration control of submarine hulls” by B Alzehabi, Kettering University, USA.
“Effective elastic properties of random composites: approximate modelling schemes” by I Tsukrov, University of New Hampshire, USA.
“Modelling of the behaviour of beam-to-column connections at elevated temperature” by Al Jabri, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.
“Characterisation and performance of high performance concrete for pavements” by D G Goulias, University of Maryland, USA.
“Compression and heat strengthened wood as a novel construction component for innovative products” by H Martikka, Lapeeranta University of Technology, Finland

An important section of the conference was organised by Prof Tsutao Katayama of the Mechanical Engineering Department of Doshisho University in Kyoto. It consisted of 10 presentations on the topic of Natural Fibre Composites and started with an invited paper on “Mechanical properties and biodegradation behaviour of high-strength ‘green' composites” by H Takagi from Tokushina University in Japan.

Other papers in the sessions dealt with properties of different types of natural fibres, such as hemp, jute and bamboo fibres, wood, powder and cellulose composites. These sessions highly enhanced the conference.

A meeting of the International Scientific Advisory Committee was arranged to discuss reconvening the meeting in 2006. The members were happy with the contents of the conference and several new topics were discussed as well as new members of the Committee. The Co-Chairman, Professor de Wilde, suggested that the next conference be held in Belgium and the other members agreed with this idea.

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