Department of Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering Research Club (CERC) is a platform for the full-time PhD, MPhil and MScEng students to give recognition for their work and it also motivates students to carry out their research in an efficient and effective manner while building up a friendly environment among the students and staff. Providing a peer-learning environment to open up possibilities for collaborative research is one of the intended outcomes.

Upcoming Presentations

Date 11th January 2022
Time 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Venue Online ( ZOOM Link )
Meeting ID: 685 9328 8859
Passcode: hw+uf8$H
Presenter/s Research Title Abstract
Ms. Thilini Gunawardhana
MSc. Eng. Candidate (Geo-Environmental Engineering), University of Peradeniya/td>
Many researchers presumed that the CKDu has a strong coexistence with the presence of agrochemicals and heavy metals in groundwater, which is the prime drinking source of the agricultural community of the North Central province. These chemicals can potentially migrate to groundwater via soil colloids by a process called colloid-facilitated transport (CFT). In this study, soil characterization in CKDu-affected areas were done and colloid-facilitated heavy metal transport is investigated using a series of batch and column experiments. Observed data will be numerically simulated and parameterized using numerical models to predict transportability of colloid-mediated agrochemicals to groundwater. Results would provide implications to unravel the role of colloidal domain and numerical models will forecast the extent and time for CFT of heavy metals
Mr. Makeswaran Jenothan
MSc. Eng. Candidate (Structural Engineering), University of Peradeniya
Lateral Performance of the Thin-Walled Steel Columns by Introducing Axial-Moment Hybrid System
Thin-walled steel piers are becoming more popular in urban areas due to their high strength-to-mass ratio, high torsional rigidity and shorter construction time. Several studies have been conducted to improve the strength and ductility of steel piers. However, many techniques still exhibit issues related to recovering seismic resistance after a large earthquake load. This study suggests an axial-moment hybrid column arrangement with low yield strength steel to address these challenges. Where the inner column resists the axial load and the replaceable outer column resists the lateral load. So that following a major earthquake, the damaged outer column can be quickly replaced, while the inner column can support the axial load. As a result, the seismic capacity of the steel box pier could be quickly rebuilt without interfering with the bridge's operation following the earthquake
Ms. Samanthi Wijerathna
MSc. Eng. Candidate (Environmental Engineering), University of Peradeniya
Improvement of Anoxic-Oxic (A/O) MBR treated landfill leachate, using adsorption technique
Landfill leachate contains toxic contaminants which adversely affect the ecosystem if not properly treated prior to discharge. Effluent obtained using A/O MBR exceeded the specified discharge standards for organics and colour. Hence, this work investigates the efficiency of low cost adsorbents, with a focus on removal of organics and color from the permeate of an A/O MBR system. Biochar derived from sawdust and rice husk are used as base materials and further modifications are carried out to investigate the increase in the adsorption capacities. Different analytical techniques are used to characterize the adsorbent materials. Regeneration studies for the spent adsorbents along with adsorption kinetic and isotherm studies are carried out in identifying adsorption processes considering all variants of the adsorbents

Presenter/s Research Title Abstract

Previous Presentations

Date 02nd November 2021
Time 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Venue Via ZOOM
Presenter/s Research Title Abstract
Mr. Sachintha Tennekoon
Ph.D. Candidate (Structural Engineering), RMIT UOP Split Ph.D. Programme
Rockfill dams which are commonly found worldwide bear large water bodies and to assess the stability, numerical methods have been used by previous researchers However, it is commonly observed in literature that the initial configuration of the Finite Element model has not been defined properly In this research a two dimensional model of the Kotmale dam is analyzed under two cases considering the construction sequence and without considering the construction sequence The deformations obtained are compared with the actual deformations obtained from the site A significant variation can be observed without construction stage analysis whereas when the construction stages are considered the deformation values agree with the observed readings Furthermore, it is evident that without construction stage analysis the deformed shape is completely different, and it is incorrect
Ms. Oshini Peramuna
Ph.D. Candidate (Hydraulics Engineering), RMIT UOP Split Ph.D. Programme
Effect of Available Topographic Maps on Flood Modeling Studies in Sri Lanka
Topography of a model will highly influence the uncertainty of hydraulic model predictions, thus making it a critical factor in urban flood modeling studies Currently, there are numerous methods to represent the actual terrain with topographic data other than traditional geographic surveys Such derived topographic maps are Digital Elevation Model ( from LiDAR and SRTM based on remote sensing methods However, these models and DEM from other sources have their own advantages and limitations Thus, main concern lies in improving the detailed representation of terrain incorporating all these models while balancing requirements and demands The research is focused on the development of an accurate terrain using different models which possess different characteristics which would ultimately fuel optimal meshing in modeling software
Mr. Dhanushka Madusanka
M.Phil. Candidate Transporation Engineering), University of Peradeniya
Analysis of Network Features and Choice Behaviour of Passengers for Enhancing Bus Based Public Transport System
Due to numerous reasons, commuters tend to shift from public transport modes to private modes causing an increased demand to road network which eventually resulted in numerous issues like congestion, environmental pollution and accidents While investigating the reasons behind the mode shift, this study investigates the service intensity in the existing bus transport system in Kandy district by developing an index which covers capacity, frequency and route coverage As the second stage, the travel behaviour of passengers is assessed using a choice model based on the utility maximization theory Adjusted likelihood ratio index, t statistics and respective sign of parameters are used to show the model accuracy The outcome shows that travel time and cost are the significant factors affecting the mode choice behaviour of commuters
Date 07th September 2021
Time 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Venue Via ZOOM
Presenter/s Research Title Abstract
Dr. Sahan Bandara
B.Sc. Eng. (Peradeniya), Ph.D. (Swinburne University, Australia)
Timber utility poles are extensively used in Australia for power distribution and telecommunication networks. There are an estimated 5.3 million timber utility poles in Australia with an estimated value of more than $12 billion. Due to various deterioration processes, strength of poles degrades with time, which potentially reduces the life time of the poles. Failure of poles can have serious safety concerns and economic implications. Thus, it is crucial to optimise the life of existing timber poles. This can be done through application of effective asset management programs (i.e., inspection, assessment and decision making programs) that can bring about significant savings to the utilities. This study aims to improve in-service inspection of timber poles through the use of non-destructive stress wave propagation (SWP) methodology.
Ms. Nuwani Jayakody
Ph.D. Candidate (Geotechnical Engineering), RMIT-UOP Split Ph.D. Programme
Prioritization Model for Road Pavement Maintenance Prediction Considering Cross Assets
More than 90% of the Sri Lankan land transportation is facilitated by roads. Their condition has been deteriorated mainly by ongoing traffic loads and environmental loading and the deterioration is further accelerated due to inefficient road monitoring and management. The cost related with the maintenance of road infrastructure without considering the cross-asset interdependency has made an extra burden on the country's economy. Therefore, the main aim of this project is to develop a prioritization framework to support fund allocation decision of asset managers considering an integrated approach of cross assets (road pavements, bridges and water pipes) using monitoring data and integrated degradation modelling tool. The research for the first time, will integrate multiple assets related to the road network to a strategic prioritization platform for fund allocation for rehabilitation of roads.
Mr. Vidura Herath
B.Sc. Eng. (Peradeniya), Ph.D. Candidate (NUS, Singapore)
Hydrologically Informed Machine Learning for Rainfall-Runoff Modelling
Despite showing a great success of applications in many commercial fields, machine learning (ML) and data science models in general, show a limited success in scientific fields, including hydrology. The approach is often criticised for its lack of interpretability and physical consistency. This has led to the emergence of new paradigms, such as Theory Guided Data Science and physics informed machine learning. The motivation behind such approaches is to improve ML models' physical meaningfulness by blending existing scientific knowledge with learning algorithms. Following the same principles, in this contribution, existing hydrological knowledge is incorporated to guide the learning algorithms to automatically build readily interpretable rainfall-runoff models with good prediction accuracies. Here, Genetic Programming is used as the ML technique.

Date 22nd June 2021
Time 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Venue Via ZOOM
Presenter/s Research Title Abstract
Ms. S. Venuja
Ph.D. Candidate (Geotechnical Engineering), University of Peradeniya [AHEAD Grant]
Enhancing the performance of ballasted rail tracks using geosynthetic inclusions
Ballasted rail tracks are the most popular and conventional rail track foundation system. The ballast layer is the prominent load-bearing layer that distributes loads from the superstructure (wheel, rail, and sleeper) to the underlying layers (sub-ballast and subgrade) at a minimal level through a wider area. Ballast particles breakage with time due to high cyclic and impact loads is the main crisis that affects the shear capacity and service life of tracks, which leads to increased maintenance cost. One of the popular methods to maintain required shear resistance and decrease ballast degradation is the adaption of geosynthetics into the substructure. Thus, this study aims to analyze the improvement in the degradation and deformation behavior of railway ballast by the introduction of geosynthetics.
Mr. M.D.Y.N. Lamawansa
M.Phil. Candidate (Structural Engineering), University of Peradeniya
Evaluation of shear critical reinforced concrete element behaviour using different numerical approaches
Predicting the shear behaviour accounting for the axial-flexure-shear (N-M-V) interaction is vital in structural analysis. Existing numerical approaches to predict such responses include sectional analysis, displacement based finite element analysis (using line elements, area elements and solid elements) and force-based finite element analysis (using line elements). In line element formulations the axial strain and the shear strain distribution along sections are commonly assumed to be linear and parabolic, respectively. This study aims to investigate the impact of such kinematic constraints at the section level towards the response of RC elements with respect to the initial stiffness, post-cracking stiffness, load carrying capacity and post-peak ductility. For this purpose, a selected series of beams was analyzed. The analysis results suggest that in the nonlinear region, the section kinematic assumptions in line element formulations and sectional models results in an underestimation of the shear strain distribution along the sections and an overestimation of the axial strains of the tensile zone near the loading point.
Ms. J. Ketharani
M. Phil. Candidate (Environmental Engineering), University of Peradeniya [NSF-NSFC Project]
Identification of the fouling mechanism in nanofiltration membranes during the purification of groundwater with high hardness and dissolve organic matter
Nanofiltration (NF) is a pressure-driven membrane technology, generally applicable for the purification of hard groundwater. Membrane technology is an appropriate option for small-scale water treatment applications compared to conventional treatments for immediate implementation in remote areas. Such systems have been established in the chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) prevalence areas of the North Central Province (NCP), Sri Lanka for groundwater treatment. The NCP groundwater quality investigations have revealed that, low molecular weight dissolved organic carbon (DOC) moieties, ranging from 100-3000 Daltons, are present in the water and hinder the performances of the membranes in water treatment plants. The existence of DOC together with hardness will predominantly affect the membrane performance via exaggeration of fouling due to the formation of DOC-ion ternary complexes. Investigation on membrane fouling mechanism by DOC and hardness will therefore help to identify fouling mitigation measures and facilitate the design of an effective NF treatment system.

Date 20th April 2021
Time 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Venue Via ZOOM
Presenter/s Research Title Abstract
Eng. H.M.P. Wijeyawardana
Ph.D. Candidate (Environmental Engineering), RMIT-UOP Split Ph.D. Programme
Urban runoff (UR) is a major nonpoint source pollutant degrading the water quality of the receiving waters and heavy metals are identified as a most critical pollutant group in UR. The limited availability of land poses tight constrains to common methods adopted for managing UR like detention and retention basins such as swales, bio retention basins, settlement ponds and wetlands to improve water quality. Although evidence of use of pervious concrete in the urban environment is present, little effort is made towards enhancing its pollutant removal capability. Therefore, this study will focus on enhancing the heavy metal removal ability of pervious concrete using a low-cost adsorbent material, bio char.
Eng. (Ms.) K.S.D.M. Fernando
Ph.D. Candidate (Geotechnical Engineering), RMIT-UOP Split Ph.D. Programme
Fly ash and Rice Husk Ash (RHA) are abundantly available waste products, principally located in Asian countries. Currently, a significant proportion of these materials are disposed of in landfills, lagoons and rivers but offer potential to utilize in AAC. This study quantifies the environmental and economic factors by assessing the Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, environmental impacts and benefits, and cost analysis of utilizing fly ash and RHA in AAC compared to Portland Cement (PC) concrete. Alkaline activator is a key component responsible for the highest GHG emission, cost and environmental impact amounts obtained for fly ash geopolymer and blended alkali-activated concrete compared with PC concrete. Utilization of waste fly ash and RHA is responsible for providing significant benefits in terms of fresh and marine water ecotoxicity by avoiding waste disposal at the dumpsites, rivers, and storage lagoons.
Eng. M. Kesavan
Ph.D. Candidate (Materials Engineering), University of Peradeniya
This study intended to extensively investigate on the factors influencing labour performance in the Sri Lankan construction industry. A qualitative study conducted from a literature review and a series of interviews revealed 117 factors under 6 categories. Subsequently, a questionnaire survey was carried out among the construction firms in Sri Lanka and the responses were received from 217 contractors. Overall, 73 factors were identified as critical based on their Relative Importance Index values. Lack of training facilities, delay in salary payments, lack of labour motivation, low salary for labourers and poor performance evaluation of labour skills were found as the top five ranking factors. This study also highlights the need for training programmes that contain the direct scope of productivity improvement, and identified the expected programme outcomes for the effective design of new training programmes to improve the practices on labour operations.

Date 16th February 2021
Time 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.
Venue E.O.E. Pereira Theatre
Presenter/s Research Title Abstract
Eng. L.M.L.K.B. Lindamulla
Ph.D. Candidate (Environmental Engineering), RMIT-UOP Split Ph.D. Programme
Landfill leachate management is one of the major concerns when it comes to solid waste management through landfilling or open dumping. This liquid consists of dissolved organic matter, inorganic macro compounds, heavy metals and xenobiotic organic compounds. In recent studies, leachate has been identified to be a main secondary source of emerging contaminants. In order to eliminate the environmental impacts and to satisfy regulatory requirements of leachate discharge, leachate should be managed properly. Treatment of landfill leachate is the mostly used method of leachate management. Different treatment technologies have been utilized to treat leachate and membrane bioreactor has proven to perform well in leachate treatment.
Eng. H.G.S. Mayuranga
Ph.D. Candidate (Geotechnical Engineering), University of Peradeniya
Railway transportation is becoming popular with the growing demand and the numerous advantages of the presence of high-speed trains in many countries. In spite of its advantages, acceleration of track deterioration due to heavier loads and higher speeds is one of the major challenges in its development. Under repetitive train loads, the degradation of the key load-bearing ballast layer is vital and leading to a decrease in shear strength, excessive track settlements and hinder track drainage. To overcome these drawbacks, adoption of resilient rubber pads such as rail pads (RP), under sleeper pads (USP) and under ballast mats (UBM) has become the most popular method in many countries. However, only limited studies have been conducted on the geotechnical behaviour of ballast when these rubber pads are adopted. Therefore, this study focuses on evaluating the stress-strain and degradation behaviour of ballast with and without the inclusion of rubber elements to track.
Eng. (Ms) R.M.D.L. Rathnayake
M.Phil. Candidate (Structural Engineering), University of Peradeniya
Railway network is one of the main transportation modes which is economical and widely used all over the world. A typical railway track of ballast consists of the superstructure and the substructure. The superstructure consists of the rails, the fastening systems, and the sleepers, whereas the substructure consists of the ballast, the sub-ballast and the subgrade. The behaviour of the superstructure and substructure below is always interdependent. Although software with advanced soil models is often used to represent the complex soil characteristics, merging such a model with the superstructure modelled in detail will demand unrealistic large computational cost. Adopting a law fidelity model which can represent the railway substructure with a sufficient accuracy can reduce the computational cost significantly. This study focuses on coupling simplified substructure models with high fidelity finite element superstructure model with acceptable accuracy and recommending the best simplified model to be used in a particular case.

Department of Civil Engineering