Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Niki is currently a PhD student at the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, after being awarded a scholarship from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Sheffield (Doctoral Academy Award). She holds an MSc degree (2016) in Structural and Concrete Engineering from the University of Sheffield and an MEng degree (2015) in Civil and Structural Engineering from the University of Patras (Greece). During her postgraduate studies, Niki focused on the use of Textile-Reinforced Mortar (TRM) in seismic retrofitting of masonry-infilled RC frames by investigating numerically the effect of various parameters such as the type of textile fibres, the number of TRM layers and the masonry compressive strength substrate. In parallel, she was involved in the “Clean Steel” Innovate UK project dealing with experimental and analytical work on Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete using reused steel fibres.
During her undergraduate studies, Niki undertook extensive research on analytical and experimental work related to the damage detection in reinforced concrete beams retrofitted with Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) jackets using piezoelectric transducers (PZT) to detect FRP debonding at early stage.
In January 2015, she was awarded with the 2nd best paper prize of the ‘’21st Student Conference on Strengthening and Repair of Structures, Patras, Greece’’. In parallel to her undergraduate studies, Niki worked as an assistant Structural Engineer performing structural analysis of RC buildings.
Recent activities and achievements
Project title: Innovative Retrofitting of Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Structures Using Natural Fibres Embedded in Inorganic Matrices
- evelopment of a novel strengthening technique comprising the use of environmentally friendly and low-cost composite materials, for preventing collapse of masonry structures under strong earthquakes.
- Design of novel natural fibre fabrics to be used as external reinforcement for applications in the construction sector.
- Development of practical design guidelines for adoption by European standards to use the new technology for strengthening of deficient masonry structures.
Tasks and methodology: Extensive experimental work will be carried out including tests on medium-scale specimens (i.e. masonry walls), examining the effect of different parameters such as the type of natural fibres, the type of bonding agent, the number of reinforcing fabric layers, the type of masonry substrate (brick, stone) and the type of anchorage length. These tests will aim at the characterisation of the mechanical behaviour of fabric-reinforced composites and of the bond behaviour and the stress transfer mechanism between the composite material and the masonry surfaces. In-plane and out-of-plane behaviour of wall panels strengthened with the developed binder will also be examined. Numerical modelling will be achieved using a finite element software aiming at validating the numerical analysis with the experimental results.
- Development of an affordable and sustainable strengthening system for masonry structures.
- Experimental investigation on bio-composite materials and development of analytical models.
- Investigation of the influence of the parameters examined in the behaviour of the composite material.
Supervisor: Dr Maurizio Guadagnini