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Research Areas

Research Areas

For the purposes of organizing teaching and research, the Civil Engineering Department is organized into four sections which coincide with the traditional areas of specialization in civil engineering practice.
1. Structural Engineering
2. Geotechnical Engineering
3. Highway and Transport Engineering
4. Water Resources Engineering
5. Environmental Quality Engineering
Each section has a sectional head who coordinates activities the section. Most of the courses at the undergraduate level in the department fall under one of the sections. The major research output during the year is indicated by the listed publication below: by the staff of the different sections are presented below.

Structural Engineering

Research is on structural and material engineering. The research area includes the theoretical and experimental analysis of strength characteristics of reinforcing steel rods milled from scrap metals; the use of these construction steels for the improvement of structural durability and reliability characteristics of reinforced
precise concrete beams, columns and slabs, especially slabs reinforced in both directions and subjected to long-term service loads. Some of the current structural engineering research involves the use of low density polyethylene sheets to strengthen reinforced concrete beams and slabs. Other important research
activities include the use of local materials (bamboo, palm kernel additives etc) as reinforcement material for concrete, investigating the engineering properties of sandcrete blocks and the performance of pavement blocks. There is also research work on the suitability of weathered granite, recycled concrete and phyllite aggregates for structural concrete design and analysis. Furthermore, the section is conducting research into the numerical simulation of the seismic behaviour of existing reinforced concrete frame buildings subjected to earthquake loads in Ghana.

Geotechnical Engineering

For the year 2008, research on the use of the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer as a simple and economical in-situ testing equipment for foundation design of simple structures continued. The division studies into unsaturated soil mechanics continues. To be able to effectively use the cyclic triaxial apparatus acquired last year as part of the Ministry of Transportation's support to the Road and Transportation Engineering Programme in the Department Mr. Ahiamadi visited the geotechnical engineering laboratory of the Tokyo Science University from September 1 to 31st October 2008 as part of the preparations for his PhD studies on cyclic behaviour of lateritic soils. The Department continues to host the Ghana Geotechnical Society and early this year hosted a well patronized International Conference on Soil Improvement in Accra. The Division also combines with the Highway and Transportation Engineering Division to constitute the Geotechnical and Transportation Research Group which is conducting various studies into the use of local resources for the construction of rural roads. The study, which is on-going seeks to reduce the support employment creation in construction through the promoting of the use of labour-based methods.

Highway and Transportation Engineering

The Division has been researching into Laboratory Modeling of voids in graded aggregate mats. With the help of laboratory models, the voids in graded aggregate mats (natural and crushed) are being studied to establish the influence of particle size distribution on the voids in such mats. The outcome of the study is expected to provide inputs for the design of Otta seals which are a type of chip seal for upgrading low-volume gravel roads to surfaced standards. The current design of Otta seals relies on preconstruction trials for material application rates for the substantive seal. The division continued its research into traffic and traffic accidents trends in different cities in Ghana including research into the characteristics of accidents on the Ejisu-KNUST section of the N6 National Highway.

Water Resources Engineering

1.Minimization of Sediment Deposition in Urban Drainage channels in Ghana. This research is aimed at finding a channelsection design solution to the siltation in our channel leading to reduction in carrying capacities of channels, and eventually causing flooding
2. Sustainable Erosion Control measures in Rural Housing.
3. Risk Analysis in Supplementary Irrigation.
4. Urban Flood Management and Draught analysis in Ghana
5.Contaminati on of boreholes (used for water supply) in Ghana and Hydrological Modelling of some River Basins in Ghana and the development of Approximate models for open channel flows.

Environmental Quality Engineering

The following Research Activities are going on in the Environmental Quality Engineering section of the Department:
1. Rain water harvesting
2. Pathogen removal mechanisms in macrophyte and algal waste stabilization ponds
3. Drinking water sector in Ghana: Drivers for performance
4. Municipal solid waste management
5. Soil aquifer treatment of waste; Technology implementation in a Developing Country.
6. Adsorptive removal of arsenic, manganese and iron from groundwater
7. Faecal sludge dewatering