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    McMaster University
  Dec 18, 2017
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Civil Engineering

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The Department of Civil Engineering provides facilities for students seeking the degree M.A.Sc., M.Eng. or Ph.D., and for post-doctoral research.

Enquiries: 905 525-9140 Ext. 24287
Fax: 905 529-9688

Faculty / Fall 2014


Brian W. Baetz, B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Duke), P.Eng., F.C.S.C.E./ Chair
Samir E. Chidiac, B.Eng., M.Eng., Ph.D. (McMaster), P.Eng. / Chair in Effective Design of Structures
Paulin Coulibaly, B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc. (Nice), Ph.D. (Laval), P. Eng.
Peijun Guo, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. (SWJTU), Ph.D. (Calgary), P. Eng.
Yiping Guo, B.Sc. (Zhejiang), M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), P. Eng.
Gail Krantzberg, B.Sc. (McGill), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto)
Stan Pietruszczak, B.Eng., M.Sc. (Warsaw), Ph.D. (Polish Academy of Science)
Ghani Razaqpur, B.Sc. (American University of Beirut), M.Sc.(Hawaii), Ph.D. (Calgary), P.Eng., F.C.S.C.E.
K.S. Sivakumaran, B.Sc. (C.Eng.) (Sri Lanka), M.Eng.(Asian Instituteof Technology), Ph.D. (Calgary), P.Eng.
Dieter F.E. Stolle, B.Eng., M.Eng., Ph.D. (McMaster), P.Eng.
Ioannis K. Tsanis, Dipl.Eng. (Thessaloniki), M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), P.Eng

Associate Professors

Sarah Dickson, B.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Waterloo), P.Eng.
Wael El-Dakhakhni, B.Sc. (Ain-Shans), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Drexel), P.E., P. Eng. / Martini, Mascarin and George Chair in Masonry Design
Michael Tait, B.E.Sc., Ph.D. (Western), P. Eng. / Joe Ng / JNE Consulting Chair in Design, Construction and Management in Infrastructure Renewal

Assistant Professors

Tracy Becker, B.Sc. (UC San Diego), M.S., Ph.D. (UC Berkeley)
Cameron Churchill, B.Eng., M.Eng. (McMaster)
Younggy Kim, B.S., M.S. (Korea), Ph.D. (Texas)
Dimitrios A. Konstantinidis, B.S., M.S., Ph.D. (UC Berkeley)
Saiedeh N. Razavi, B.Sc. (Sharif, Iran), M.Sc. (Iran), Ph.D. (Waterloo) / Chair in Heavy Construction
Lydell Wiebe, B.Sc. (Toronto), M.Sc. (ROSE School), Ph.D. (Toronto)

Associate Members

Altaf Arain (School of Geography and Earth Sciences)
Carlos Filipe (Chemical Engineering)
Spencer Smith (Computing and Software)
Antonio Paez (School of Geography and Earth Sciences)

Adjunct Members

Baher Adbulhai, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Cairo), Ph.D. (California)
Zafar Adeel, B.Sc. (Lahore), M.Sc. (Ames), Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon)
Mohamed Attala, B.Sci. (Ain Shams), M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Waterloo)
Mark Bomberg, M.Sc. (Warsaw), D.Sc. (Eng.) (Warsaw)
Tony Cupido, B.Eng.Sci. (Western), M.Eng., Ph.D. (McMaster)
John Emery, B.A.Sc., Ph.D. (British Columbia)
Jon K. Glasworthy, B.E.Sc., Ph.D. (Western), P.Eng.
Bryan Karney, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., Ph.D. (British Columbia).
Waleed F. Mekky, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Cairo), Ph.D. (McMaster), P.Eng.
Syed Moin, B.Sc. (Osamnia), M.S. (Nevada), Ph.D (McMaster), P.Eng
Leila Raki, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Hassan II), Ph.D. (Ottawa)

Professor Emeritus

Robert G. Drysdale, B.Sc. (Manitoba), M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), P.Eng., F.C.S.C.E., F.C.A.E.
John C. Wilson, B.Eng., M.Eng. (McMaster), Ph.D. (Caltech.), P.Eng.


Applications from candidates holding degrees in Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Science (Honours) may be considered by the Department for graduate study and research in the areas of departmental interest.

On-line application available at:

Applicants must comply with the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies as well as specific departmental regulations. The minimum academic requirement for admission to an and an M.Eng. degree is normally an average of B in the last two years of an applicant’s undergraduate program.

Research in Civil Engineering

Current research activities in the Department of Civil Engineering can be described in terms of discipline areas grouped as follows: Computational Mechanics, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Structural and Earthquake Engineering.

The Department of Civil Engineering provides opportunities for research in a broad range of fundamental and applied research topics. Research in Civil Engineering includes: decision support systems for design of sustainable communities, municipal solid waste management planning (B.W. Baetz); seismic isolation, passive and semi-active structural control, performance-based earthquake engineering, design codes, large-scale testing (T. Becker); durability/service life modeling of engineering materials, modeling heat and mass transfer in porous media, concrete technology, stone masonry, energy efficiency of buildings (S.E. Chidiac); water resources engineering, statistical hydrology, environmental data analysis (P. Coulibaly); contaminant hydrogeology (S. Dickson); masonry structures, seismic design, performance under blast loads, performance-based design, composite structures (W. El-Dakhakhni); geomechanics, geotechnical engineering and finite element applications (P. Guo); uncertainty analysis in environmental hydrology and water resources engineering, watershed planning and stormwater management (Y. Guo); water/wastewater treatment processes, ion-exchange membrane systems, and microbial fuel cells (Y. Kim); dynamics, earthquake engineering (D. Konstantinidis); Great Lakes research, public policy implications for engineering infrastructure (G. Krantzberg); constitutive modeling of engineering materials, finite element applications (S. Pietruszczak); concrete materials, concrete structures design, concrete infrastructure durability, FRP reinforced concrete design and retrofit, design and strengthening of structures against blast loads (A. Ghani Razaqpur); sensing, automation, and information technology for construction, infrastructure management, transportation (S. Razavi); steel structures, composite material structures, finite element applications (K.S. Sivakumaran); geomechanics, finite element algorithms and applications, highway materials (D.F. Stolle); structural dynamics, passive structural control systems, base isolation, structural health monitoring, retrofit/rehabilitation (M. Tait); hydraulics, hydrodynamics of water bodies, air‐water interaction, diffusion and dispersion of pollutants, environmental information systems (I.K. Tsanis); earthquake engineering, structural dynamics, nonlinear dynamic modelling techniques, steel structures, self-centering systems (L. Wiebe)

Facilities for Research

McMaster University Centre for Effective Design of Structures

The McMaster University Centre for Effective Design of Structures links research and education to produce engineers who understand durability of materials, possess advanced analytical skills, can identify client-specific needs, and satisfy sustainability concerns including reduced maintenance and extended service life of structures. The construction process, building envelope design and building services are integrated parts of design.

Matching funding from the consulting engineering and construction industries (materials, design and contracting), the Province of Ontario and McMaster University provided 9.9 million dollars to finance changes which differentiates McMaster from other universities and provides research and education suited to the changing needs of the 21st Century. The establishment of the Centre has also led to the creation of three endowed chairs and two additional faculty positions. Funding has been used to enhance support levels and increase the number of positions for graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows and research engineers, and summer research assistants as well as direct support of research. In addition to traditional areas of research in concrete, steel and analytical methods, the Centre has established the following four areas of research focus: Masonry, Remediation of Structures, Earthquake Engineering, and Enhanced Use of New and Under‐Utilized Materials.

Structures and Earthquake Engineering Laboratory

Experimental research is conducted in the Applied Dynamics Laboratory, which is designed with a cellular box foundation strong floor measuring 25 m by 40 m. The special design features make the Applied Dynamics Laboratory a particularly suitable facility for large scale structural experimental research. Clear head room of over 12 m beneath a 10 tonne overhead crane permits full scale testing as well as scaled models of structures or structural components. The Laboratory has a large strong wall, which is used to provide reaction and support for load application equipment. The strong wall is capable of providing reaction for 100 tonnes at a height of 6 m.

The main hydraulic system is an MTS 90 GPM hydraulic power unit to operate a range of servo-controlled hydraulic actuators. This test equipment permits pseudo-dynamic testing through the use of a multi-actuator test system (2 to 4 actuators simultaneously) with capacities ranging from 450 kN to 1,400 kN and an advanced data acquisition system. This multi-actuator system permits the testing of a whole class of structural applications, which cannot be tested on a shake table.

The main hydraulic system is also used to power horizontal and vertical shake tables for seismic engineering studies. In addition to a selection of hydraulic jacks, computer controlled data acquisition equipment, MTS controller units (MTS 406 and MTS 407), load cells and displacement transducers, 3 fixed in-plane test machines with capacities between 5,000 kN and 550 kN are available.

An Air-bag testing system and a full-scale rain penetration testing apparatus are also available for out-of-plane testing of walls and rain penetration evaluation of building envelope components.

Recently Acquired Equipment

Recent major research equipment acquired includes a Structural Control Test Apparatus that can be configured to operate as a biaxial shake table or a three-degree-of-freedom suspended platform and has a high displacement capacity of ±1,500 mm. In addition, a self-reacting test frame designed to test multi-storey large-scale buildings under simulated earthquake loading, is currently operational. Finally, an Extreme Dynamic Load Simulator that will enhance the seismic, blast, and impact test capabilities is expected to be operational in 2012.

Through McMaster’s collaboration with and generous support provided by the Canadian masonry industry, a Variable Scale Block Machine (VSBM) was acquired in 2008. The VSBM has been used to produce model-scale concrete-blocks which are utilized both at McMaster and by numerous researcher institutions throughout Canada.

Material Testing Facilities and Equipment

An important aspect of design is the consideration of the material properties of concrete, including workability, durability, and mechanical properties. The material’s laboratory at the ADL has loading devices for determining mechanical properties of materials, and equipment for determining the workability and durability of cementious products such as concrete and masonry. The workability equipment consists of BTRHEOMrheometer, which can be used to measure the plastic viscosity and yield strength of fresh concrete; and slump rate machine, which also allows one to determine the rheological properties of fresh concrete by using a modified, more sophisticated slump test. The durability field/laboratory testing equipment consists of: torrent permeability tester to measure permeability coefficients of concrete; electronic moisture balance to accurately measure moisture uptake; rapid freeze-thaw cabinet to subject concrete specimens to harsh environmental conditions; and ultrasonic instrument TICO, which is a non-destructive testing method that allows measurement of elastic and strength properties of hardened concrete.

Geotechnical and Materials Engineering

The geotechnical and construction materials laboratories are equipped with conventional triaxial, direct shear, consolidation (odometer) testing equipment. An MTS loading system is available for the cyclic or dynamic testing of soils and pavement construction materials. A state -of-the-art hollow cylinder apparatus can be used for advanced testing to investigate the fundamental behaviour of soils. The impact of freeze-thaw on soil behaviour can also be explored in the Geotechnical Laboratory. Moreover, various components and instrumentations for small-scale model tests are available so that various model tests can be carried out to investigate complicated soil-structure interaction problems. Computing facilities are available for finite element computations. In addition, field studies on construction projects have been a regular part of the research program.

The Construction Materials Laboratory is equipped for the characterization of a range of materials such as aggregates, asphalt cements, Portland cements and slags. In particular, the laboratory can perform resilient modulus testing for pavement aggregates and asphalt concrete, which makes the lab unique in Ontario. A concrete mixer with 0.12 m3 capacity, aggregate, shakers, and sample splitters are also parts of the concrete technology laboratory.

Environmental and Water Resources

A 20 m2 graduate research lab is available with state-of-the-art equipment. The laboratory includes common areas available to all users (e.g., balances, sample preparation, fume hoods, and analytical equipment), as well as individual work spaces that can be assigned to graduate students for longer-term experiments.

An array of analytical equipment exists in the laboratory, including:

  • two high performance liquid chromatographs (HPLC) equipped with an autosampler and full range of detectors (i.e., conductivity, ultra violet/visible, refractive index, fluorescence, and photodiode array detectors) and a computer for control and data acquisition purposes;
  • a gas chromatograph (GC) equipped with an autosampler capable of handling solid-phase microextraction (SPME), an electron capture detector (ECD) and a flame ionization detector (FID) and a computer for control and data acquisition purposes;
  • a spectrophotometer that can be employed in either a discrete sample or flow-through mode equipped with a computer for data acquisition;
  • a fluorometer that can be employed in either a discrete sample or flow-through mode equipped with a computer for data acquisition;
  • a PCR machine;
  • a DGGE system;
  • a gel documentation system;
  • a mass spectrometer equipped with a computer for data acquisition purposes;
  • a laser diffraction particle size analyzer

The lab is also well-equipped in terms of general instrumentation which serves as the basis for all research activities conducted in the lab. This instrumentation includes a water purification system, an autoclave, sample storage units, an ultrasonic cleaner, a laminar flow cabinet with flow control, an ultracentrifuge, balances, liquid and gas delivery systems, and a shaker table.

Supplementary laboratory equipment includes four fermenters equipped with computer control, water baths, digital cameras, various pH, dissolved oxygen and conductivity meters, sieve shaker and a set of sieves, data loggers, tipping bucket rain gauges, and pressure transducers. Field equipment includes water level tapes, pressure transducer/data loggers, high precision GPS, network of time domain reflectometry (TDR) systems for continuous soil moisture monitoring at three research sites, five weather stations, and 15 automated tipping bucket rain gauges, providing continuous record of meteorological data needed for hydrological model development and testing, flow meters and automatic samplers, fluid permeability test kit, and a research vehicle for fieldwork.

In addition to this in-house laboratory facility, extensive experimental facilities and support are available through Environment Canada’s National Water Research Institute.


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