Student Spotlight – Youli Lin, Swinburne University of Technology

SmartCrete is proud to share the profiles of our student cohort and showcase the projects they are working on to deliver tangible impact for the sector.

This week, we shine the spotlight on Youli Lin from Swinburne University of Technology.

We chatted to Youli about the project he is currently working on and how it is relevant to the concrete world.

Please describe the project you’re working on.

The project is called: Ground Improvement Using Demolition Wastes as Semirigid Inclusion Columns
I am working on evaluating the usage of recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) as unbound and lightly bound semi-rigid ground inclusion columns. I met my supervisor Dr Farshid Maghool, and Prof Arul Arulrajah during my Master study at Swinburne University of Technology and joined the project in July 2020.

What are the goals/objectives for this project including timing, milestones?

Over 3 years, this project aims to review the usage of recycled demolition wastes and geopolymers in ground improvement projects and identify the resource, quantities, cost and location of these materials. Laboratory testing will be carried out on the engineering characteristics of unbound and lightly bound RCA, with geopolymers as ground inclusions. A full report will on ground improvement using RCA as semi-rigid ground inclusion columns will follow including recommendations and pathways to the national and international use of the new product.

What are the objectives for this project, including timing and milestones?

In total, the project must be completed in 3 years. It focuses on the requalification of the waste material problem by finding alternative solutions in the concrete construction industry. The project will deliver a mix ensuring green star rating and satisfactory performance in terms of workability, mechanical properties, and durability.

What have your success to date been?

The report on the laboratory findings of the engineering characteristics of unbound RCA as ground inclusions was published online before the scheduled milestone. We are currently working on stabilization of RCA with geopolymer as semi-rigid ground inclusion columns, so the project is ahead of schedule.

What have been the challenges?

The biggest challenge is the continuous lockdown for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The closure of campus and laboratory resulted in time pressures for the repetition of sample preparation as specimens that were made previously could not be tested on time.

What do you enjoy most about this project?

I enjoy working in the geotechnical research team at the Swinburne University of Technology, led by Professor Arul Arulrajah and Dr Farshid Maghool. The team environment is dynamic and positive. I appreciate the valuable guidance and support from both my supervisors. The advanced facilities at Swinburne University of Technology provides a great environment for conducting my PhD research project.

Do you have opportunities to connect with other students who are engaging in similar projects either with SmartCrete or elsewhere?

Yes, I can connect with other PhD students discussing research and sharing ideas monthly through the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Digital Construction (CSIDC) research at the Swinburne University of Technology, and some external online webinars hosted by various universities and industry associations.

What does this project mean to the concrete world and the impact on concrete research?

As concrete is the most widely used construction material worldwide, the disposal of concrete waste generated from the demolition of old concrete infrastructures has always been a significant concern in the construction industry. This research sheds new light on the utilization of recycled concrete aggregate in stone column application with greater economic and environmental benefits. I am looking forward to the outcome of this project that can provide a feasible end-of-life option to convert the concrete wastes from landfills into a usable form, mitigate the pressure on land and natural resources, and lower the carbon footprint of future civil infrastructure projects.