Research

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The Urban and Environment Engineering RU’s research activities are all linked to urban and environmental engineering. They are built around 4 closely linked axes, built on a dynamic understanding of the urban environment. These 4 axes are interdisciplinary within the department and the different sectors that make it up.

 

Building design, structures and transport network

The UR’s first research axis is about the concept, the analysis, the stability, the work method, the quality assessment and the building, structure and transport network maintenance. The methods developed within this framework can be applied to different types of materials used in civil engineering such as steel, concrete, wood, soil and rock or any combination of these. The methods developed in this setting focus on static, cyclic and loads. The built environment’s contribution to the power consumption and production of energy constitutes an important aspect of the research axis.

 

The research unit is extremely committed to developing methods for monitoring buildings and work in real time in order to optimise maintenance and repairs. The goal is to develop stochastic models that are more likely to take into account factors of vulnerability and uncertainty linked to the behaviour of users and environmental risks (seismic shock, fire, floods, terrorism).

 

Materials and efficient management of resources

This research axis is solely dedicated to identifying, characterising and exploiting mineral and material resources specific to our natural (georesources) and artificial (backfill and urban mines) environment. It focusses on the durability of building materials: concrete, steel, wood, masonry, soil and rock as well as all secondary materials such as construction and demolition waste, industrial by-products, etc. Multi-scale and multi-physics digital modelling tools are developed with this end in mind, parallel to in-situ measuring campaigns.

 

The research unit excels at creating pioneering and efficient processes in terms of resources (especially regarding water and energy usage) through innovating dismantling, crushing and sorting processes, as well as modelling the behaviour of building materials throughout their life cycle, while focussing particularly on bio-sourced and geo-sourced materials.

 

Risks and environmental engineering

One of the objectives of this research axis is to improve the understanding and predictability of a large array of processes in order to create solid management strategies to deal with natural and artificial risks, such as floods, contamination of subterranean water or geo-risks. A second aspect of this research aims to develop scientific knowledge and technological solutions for the engineering and restoration of urban subsoils which have often been contaminated, and also affected by centuries of occupation and different assignations. Building on and in, with these materials is always a challenge, especially because they are not well-known.

 

The research covers multidisciplinary subjects, integrating different aspects of mechanics, hydraulics, transport and biochemical reactions of the processes and energy transfers as well as the evaluation of the vulnerability and resistance of systems.

 

The fields in which the research unit is active go from the deep geological underground to infrastructures and superstructures, keeping their interactions with ground and surface waters. The constraints induced by global change are considered during all the steps of research, including those that are induced by socio-economical evolution.

 

Human activities and built environment

This research theme explores the interactions between human activities, at the level of individuals, families and organisations and the building environment. These interactions are studied using an analytical approach in order to have a better understanding of urban systems, whether they are envisaged or inherited from the past (diagnostics, polls, modelling, surveillance, life cycle analysis, etc.) and prospective, in order to consider the future needs and behaviours such as mobility, housing or in response to climate change, etc. for example.

 

These interactions are also considered in a design approach: design of spaces, of systems and of the building and living environments generally speaking, in a search for durability, quality, functionality, readability, comfort or even resilience. The process of conception itself constitutes an important axis of research, through the monitoring and the analysis of the process of conception and the development of tools to support the processes of collaborative conception, more integrated and innovative.