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Innovative Research Project Wins IStructE And CIOB Awards

Innovative research project wins IStructE and CIOB awards

22 February 2017

Costain Graduate Civil Engineer and sponsored student, Gemma Small, has won two impressive awards from The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) for her final year dissertation, since completing her Civil Engineering degree at the University of Salford.

Inspired by Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect who has pioneered the use of cardboard in structures, her dissertation 'Engineered Cardboard Origami Floor Joists’ investigated the feasibility of cardboard as an alternative joist material.

The joists were created using GatorDuct, a cardboard product currently used for ducting, and rigid foldable origami techniques, a type of origami which allows folds to be created in a thick material without causing local deformation.

She enjoyed being able to investigate sustainable materials and guide her own research. Gemma said: "I was given the opportunity to use advanced methodologies including developing numerical algorithms to optimise computer numerical control (CNC) cutting procedures, particle image velocimetry (PIV) analysis to measure deformation and strain measurement equipment, all of which enhanced my understanding of material behaviour."

Tim Embley, Costain Innovation & Knowledge Manager, encouraged her entry into the CIOB International Innovation and Research Awards whilst her university nominated her for the Michael Horne Prize by the IStructE. “To win both the Premier Award and Michael Horne Prize was a fantastic achievement for me and has given me the drive and confidence to continue working hard and exploring sustainable technologies,” said Gemma.

As a sponsored student, she worked on the Tunnel Remediation project at Heathrow and H2M6 Link Road on her placements at university. Gemma currently works as a Structural Engineer in the Oil and Gas sector.