University of Auckland Centre for Earthquake Engineering Research

Natural fibre reinforced composites for structures

Addressing the engineering design of structural members made of natural fibre reinforced composites. Focusing on earthquake-resistant mortar-free interlocking structures with rope reinforcement, and earthquake-resistant structures using flax-fibre reinforced polymer and coconut-fibre reinforced concrete.


Earthquake-resistant structures using natural fibre reinforced polymer and concrete

N Chouw, K Jayaraman

This project will focus on engineering design of new composite structural members and assembled structures.

Flax fibre reinforced polymer and coir fibre reinforced concrete will be used to carry the activated tensile and compressive stresses, respectively. Lab studies will be conducted to assess the interfacial bonding between flax fibre-resin, polymer-concrete and between concrete-coir fibre and the connection between the composite structural members under an earthquake loading.

Recommendations for earthquake-resistant structural design will be derived from the outcomes of this research.


Earthquake-resistant interlocking structures

N Chouw

The research focuses on earthquake resistant mortar-free structures using interlocking movable coconut fibre reinforced concrete blocks having rope reinforcement.

The specific objectives of this research are:

  • To investigate experimentally the capacity of the innovative interlocking block and wall under cyclic loading for evaluating the fatigue behaviour.
  • To quantify the variability and evaluate the long term durability of coconut fibres and ropes for civil engineering structures.
  • To determine the response of the wall having diaphragm connection under harmonic and earthquake excitations.
  • To develop the numerical model for the mortar-free structure to predict its behaviour under earthquake loading.
  • To provide design and construction guidelines for the proposed new construction technology.