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AUS researchers with top research productivity focus on boosting structural performance and sustainable construction materials
Two civil engineering professors from American University of Sharjah (AUS) have been making substantive contributions to their field by examining the use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics to enhance structural performance of buildings. In addition, they are working to develop a sustainable cementitious composite material that has the potential of reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry by using locally available natural sand dunes.
Dr. Jamal A. Abdalla, Professor in Civil Engineering and Riad T. Sadek Chair, and Professor Rami A. Hawileh, Professor in Civil Engineering at AUS, have been researching carbon fiber reinforced plastics, which are composite materials used in various engineering fields including structural engineering. Their work focuses on strengthening and retrofitting structural building components such as beams, columns and slabs to increase their strength and enhance their performance. Their research work in this field commenced in 2008 following the introduction of carbon fiber reinforced polymers and their applications in buildings in the UAE and around the world.
Dr. Abdalla and Dr. Hawileh have been ranked as the top two researchers in the Middle East and two of the top three in the world in scholarly productivity in the field of carbon fiber reinforced plastics in the last four years, according to renowned international research performance assessment tool SciVal. The ranking of their research work and citations, which is the number of times their work has been mentioned in other researchers’ work, is a testimony to the quality and significance of their research.
“We consider this ranking a form of recognition for our work regionally and internationally. We are also proud that our work has contributed to AUS being ranked by SciVal as one of the top 10 universities in research productivity in the world in the field of carbon fiber reinforced plastics,” said Dr. Abdalla. The two faculty members also partnered with several renowned US researchers and collaborated with Qatar University and Michigan State University, leading to several coauthored publications in highly reputed journals.
Dr. Abdalla emphasized the support AUS has provided through its state-of-the-art facilities, particularly the Structures and Construction Materials Laboratory of the Department of Civil Engineering, which allowed the two researchers to carry out their experimental work. AUS also awarded the two researchers several faculty research grants in support of their research.
Engaging students in research has been an important part of Dr. Hawileh’s and Dr. Abdalla’s teaching approach.
“Almost all the research activities carried out in carbon fiber reinforced plastics are indigenous and homegrown. Our research output was generated with the assistance of our undergraduate and graduate students in our civil engineering laboratories. This is clearly reflected in the number of high-quality journal and conference proceedings papers that were co-authored with our students. The research experience our students gained at AUS and the culture of research that was instilled in them will benefit them in their life-long learning endeavors,” said Dr. Abdalla.
Dr. Hawileh pointed out that this rich research experience has allowed the graduating students to pursue graduate studies at some of the most prestigious universities around the world as well as work in important international organizations.
“This rich research experience has allowed many of our graduate students to pursue their doctoral degrees in the US, Canada and UK as their exceptional performance showed their high level of preparedness and the strong research experience they gained at AUS. We have also seen our students appointed to teach as well as conduct research in well-known US and Canadian universities, while others worked with international companies in the repair and strengthening industry. This makes us proud of our students,” said Dr. Hawileh.
AUS is ranked number one in the UAE and among the top 150 universities globally for civil and structural engineering, according to QS World University Subject Rankings (2022). According to the same ranking, College of Engineering graduates are also the top choice for employers in the UAE. The Department of Civil Engineering is recognized throughout the region for the exceptional education it offers through undergraduate and graduate programs.
For more information about what the civil engineering program has to offer, visit www.aus.edu/cen/department-of-civil-engineering.