Aug 07, 2022  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2018-2019 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2018-2019 [-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

Faculty / Fall 2018


Samir E. Chidiac, B.Eng., M.Eng., Ph.D. (McMaster), P.Eng.
Paulin Coulibaly, B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc. (Nice), Ph.D. (Laval), 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
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.
Stan Pietruszczak, B.Eng., M.Sc. (Warsaw), Ph.D. (Polish Academy of Science)
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.
Michael Tait, B.E.Sc., Ph.D. (Western), P. Eng. / Joe Ng / JNE Consulting Chair in Design, Construction and Management in Infrastructure Renewal / Chair

Associate Professors

Sarah Dickson, B.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Waterloo), P.Eng.
Younggy Kim, B.S., M.S. (Korea), Ph.D. (Texas)
Dimitrios A. Konstantinidis, B.S., M.S., Ph.D. (UC Berkeley), LEL. / Chair in Effective Design of Structures
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), P.Eng.

Assistant Professors

Tracy Becker, B.Sc. (UC San Diego), M.S., Ph.D. (UC Berkeley), P.Eng.
Cameron Churchill, B.Eng., M.Eng. (McMaster), LEL.
Zoe (Zhong) Li,  B.Eng. (Beijing Normal), M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Regina)
Moataz Mohamed, B.E. (Assiut), M.A.Sc. (Rome), Ph.D. (Ulster)
Mohamed Hussein, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Ain Shams), Ph.D. (British Columbia)

Associate Members

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

Adjunct Members

Mark Bomberg, M.Sc. (Warsaw), D.Sc. (Eng.) (Warsaw)

Gordon Huang, Ph.D. (McMaster)
Bryan Karney, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., Ph.D. (British Columbia)
Sobhy Masoud, Ph.D. (Waterloo), P.Eng.
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)
Corrine Schuster-Wallace, Ph.D. (Laurier).
Spencer Snowling, Ph.D. (McMaster), P.Eng.

Industry Professor

Mohamed Attala, B.Sci. (Ain Shams), M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Waterloo)
Youngseck Hong, M.Sc (Korea)., M.A.Sc. (Guelph)

Professor Emeritus

Brian W. Baetz, B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Duke), P.Eng., F.C.S.C.E.
Ghani Razaqpur, B.Sc. (American University of Beirut), M.Sc.(Hawaii), Ph.D. (Calgary), P.Eng., F.C.S.C.E.
Ioannis K. Tsanis, Dipl.Eng. (Thessaloniki), M.A.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), 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, and Transportation and Construction Management.

The Department of Civil Engineering provides opportunities for research in a broad range of fundamental and applied research topics. Research in Civil Engineering includes: 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); hydrogeology, fractured rock, contaminant transport, point-of-use water treatment, local water security (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); AI, machine learning, computer vision and agent-based modeling in analyzing road users’ behaviour, interactions between non-motorized road users and connected/autonomous vehicles (M. Hussein); water/wastewater treatment processes, ion-exchange membrane systems, and microbial fuel cells (Y. Kim); dynamics, earthquake engineering (D. Konstantinidis);reliability, vulnerability and risk of environmental infrastructure, climate change modeling and impact accessment, hydrological risk modeling and probabilistic forecasting (Z. Li); constitutive modeling of engineering materials, finite element applications (S. Pietruszczak); system impacts and risk analysis, electrification of transit systems, intelligent transportation systems, optimization models and adaptize systems (M. Mohamed); 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); 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.

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, with over 250 GPM of hydraulic pump capacity, can 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 that cannot be tested on a shake table.

The main hydraulic system is also used to power three shake tables (1 DOF, 2 DOF, and 6DOF) for seismic engineering studies. In addition, there is a wide selection of hydraulic jacks, computer controlled data acquisition equipment, MTS and Shore Western 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 large shock tube are also available for blast and out-of-plane testing of walls.

Recently Acquired Equipment

Major research equipment that has recently been acquired includes a Simulator for Innovative Next-Generation Structural Systems (SINGSS). The SINGSS can test a specimen as large as 3 m x 5 m, under a vertical load of up to 2000 kN, while applying a horizontal load of up to 1000 kN with a 1000 mm stroke at a peak velocity of up to 500 mm/s. These large displacement, velocity, and force capabilities, together with hybrid testing capabilities, allow the SINGSS to reproduce large- to full-scale earthquake demands on innovative new structural systems that are being developed at McMaster University.

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 in the design of Civil Engineering structures and infrastructure is the consideration of the material properties.  For cementitious materials such as concrete, considerations need to include workability, durability, and mechanical properties.  The Civil Engineering material’s laboratory, located at the ADL, possesses the facility and equipment to characterize these properties at both macro and micro-scale.  Test equipment and corresponding functions available are listed below:

  1. Mixers - Concrete, mortar, paste and grout
  2. Workability - Automated slump rate machine, L-Box, J-Ring, Static segregation column test that are used to assess the workability of normal-slump concrete and self-consolidating concrete.
  3. Rheology - Premium series rotational Viscometer (Fungilab) and RheoCAD 500 concrete rheometer (CAD Instruments) that are used to determine the rheological properties of the cementitious materials, yield stress and plastic viscosity.
  4. Material instrument used to characterize the hydration, composition and micro-structure of the concrete
    1. Isothermal calorimeter: Calmetrix I-Cal 8000 HPC - heat of hydration testing (isothermal temperature up to 70oC, 8 channels)
    2. TGA: SDT Q600 TA Instruments - measures weight change (TGA) and differential heat flow (DSC) (max temperature = 1500oC)
    3. Mercury Intrusion Porosimeter: Poremaster Quantachrome - (pore size range 1100 micron to 0.0064 micron pore diameter)
    4. pH probe: Thermo Scientific Orion Star A211 Benchtop pH Meter
    5. OHAUS MB23/MB25 Moisture Analyzer - precise moisture content determination
    6. Microscope with camera
    7. Electronic precision balance: Denver instrument (0.1mg) with draft shield
    8. Titrator (components: 836 Titrando, 800 Dosimo, 801 stirrer, 804 Ti Stand) (Metrohm) - capable of dynamic (DET) and monotonic (MET) titration, endpoint titration (SET) and ion selective electrodes
    9. Precision balance: OHAUS Explorer (0.01g)
  5. Durability
    1. Torrent permeability tester to measure surface permeability coefficients of concrete
    2. Rapid freeze-thaw cabinet - Freeze-Thaw Test ASTM C 666
    3. Temperature controlled freezers for other F/T tests including Scaling Resistance Test MTO- LS-412
    4. Ultrasonic instrument TICO to measure concrete core properties
    5. Restrained shrinkage ring - ASTM C1581
    6. Ultrasonic cleaner (VWR) - to clean lab glassware
    7. Freezers with freeze-thaw settings
    8. Giatec Perma2, Rapid Chloride Permeability
    9. Modified Giatec Perma 2, Chloride migration test equipment
    10. Giatec RCON, Concrete Electrical resistivity test
  6. Others
    1. Profile grinder: Germann Instruments Concrete Profile Grinder PF-1100 Metabo GE 700
    2. Rotary tool kit (PowerFist)
    3. Desiccator
    4. StableTemp water bath - maintain stable temperature
    5. Caframo Real Torque Digital Stirrer - digital overhead stirrer
    6. ENERAC 700 Integrated Emissions System - emission monitoring system

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. Special testing equipment such as rigid triaxial cell for K0-tests and controlled strain paths, is available. The impact of freeze-thaw on soil behaviour can also be explored in the Geotechnical Laboratory. Moreover, various components and instrumentation 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 aggregate, asphalt concrete, Portland cement concrete and slag. 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 asphalt concrete technology laboratory. An asphalt foamer and gyratory compactor can be used for research of foamed asphalt concrete.

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
  • a gas chromatography (GC) with a thermal conductivity detector (TCD)
  • an X-ray fluorescence
  • two potentiostat instruments for electrochemical experiments

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.

Transportation & Construction Management

Transportation and construction management research labs are equipped with advanced computer simulation tools that enable the design, modelling, and simulation of real-world projects. These tools span to cover multiple research areas including Data Processing with advanced statistical analysis, discrete choice, econometric modelling, data mining, and neural network models. X2X interaction modelling that addresses the interaction/communication between vehicle to vehicle (V2V), V2Pedestrians, and V2Infrastrcuture, which are modelled through Agent-based micro-simulation models and computer vision algorism. Transportation Planning and Traffic Simulation software that are capable of addressing transportation and traffic research at the Micro, Meso, and Macro levels. Similarly, Transit Network Design simulation tools are available to model city-level transit systems. Taken together, the available tools and software at the transportation and construction management labs enable students to perform advanced research studies.


    MasterDoctoralCourse Offerings

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