Research Overview

Research Thrust


There are many research groups in the School in various fields of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Within each research group, several areas of research interest have been identified in the following:


The Integrated Urban Stormwater Management group is focusing mainly on urban stormwater management under humid and tropical climate conditions, and includes the study of: (i)field monitoring and analysis of flow and water quality, (ii)dynamic rainfall - runoff and quality modeling for urbanized catchments, (iii)reservoir hydrodynamic and water quality modeling (iv)fluvial hydraulics and sediment transport, and (v)impact of long term climatic changes such as global warming on water resources. The research particularly focuses on assessing the occurrence and fate of both microbial and chemical contaminants in water, ranging from trace level organic pollutants in reclaimed water, to algal toxins and viral pathogens in surface waters.


The Sediment Transport and Coastal Management group is working on coastal hydraulics and coastal structures, sediment transport, pollutant transport and environmental protection in coastal zone. Research also spans the use of IT technologies for the maritime sector in coordination with the MRC.


The Environmental group focuses on bio-granulation and bio-film technologies in waste treatment, waste reuse and resource recovery, innovative solutions using membrane technology in water and wastewater purification, contaminated site remediation, and assessment and management of environmental impacts.

For membrane research, the earlier research has focused on the application of micro/ultra/reverse osmosis (MF/UF/RO) filtration membranes as an advanced water treatment process for producing high quality drinking water. The current focus is aimed at the next generation of membranes using novel membrane materials and/or surface modification techniques. The new generation of membranes will allow revolutionary reduction in membrane fouling along with novel hybrid membrane processes which combine membranes with, for example, distillation techniques, nano-filtration, and tailored biofilms. The overall activities are in coordination with activities in the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI).


The Transportation group focuses on the establishment of planning parameters and methodology that are appropriate for local conditions; and development of mathematical and computer models of transport systems aimed at providing tools to enhance the planning and operation of these systems, and to assist in traffic management. In addition, a number of analytical and computer models have been developed that provide tools for the systematic analysis of alternative configurations and operating procedures. They allow the planner to study the impacts of different concepts, and evaluate their benefits and disadvantages on a consistent basis, so that proper planning and design can be carried out.

Research in Construction Management: Risk and Project Finance for infrastructure projects.
This research investigates the qualitative and quantitative risk modelling techniques and proposes solutions for application in the sustainable infrastructure and environmental context. The focus is on how the risks involved can be assessed, to identify relevant factors for risk modelling purposes, and to recommend risk mitigation and management strategies.


Land Reclamation is one of the major construction activities in Singapore and thus one of the research interests of the School. In conjunction with large land reclamation projects in Singapore and the region, extensive research has been carried out on land reclamation materials and processes, site characterisation by in-situ and laboratory tests, ground improvement methods, field monitoring, and performance of constructed facilities on reclaimed land. Recent developments in this area of research include the use of sewage sludge and other industrial waste for land reclamation, developments of innovative soil improvement techniques, reliability analysis of settlement predictions, methods for assessment of degree of consolidation, coastal dike construction methods and disaster mitigation and rehabilitation techniques.

Underground Space Development
is an alternative for the future space development in Singapore. Underground space can be created in the form of caverns, tunnels and deep basement, for commercial, transportation, industrial, and institutional purposes. Research in underground space development includes construction and utilisation of underground rock caverns, geological mapping and modelling for underground space development, numerical modelling of tunnelling and tunnel support in soil and rock, study of ground shock propagation and its effect on underground structures, and properties of rock material and rock mass under dynamic loading.


Tropical Soils Engineering: The School has an advanced unsaturated soil mechanics laboratory to study the formation processes and characteristics of tropical residual soils. The research activities on tropical residual soils include characterisation and classification; hydraulic and shear strength characteristics, particularly shear strength under infiltration conditions, and small strain to large strain properties. To better understand mechanisms of rainfall-induced slope failures in tropical residual soils, numerous slopes around Singapore have been fully instrumented for real time and on-line monitoring of flux boundary conditions such as rainfall infiltrations, actual evaporation, transpiration and temperature gradients across slope surfaces. Other unique applications of unsaturated soil mechanics has also been explored for understanding the behaviour of soil mixtures for tree root stabilization through laboratory and insitu experiments and for understanding the behaviour of unsaturated soils under dynamic loading.

The research in Maritime Logistics focuses on methodological and application issues relating to the process of planning the efficient, cost effective flow of freight with an emphasis on sea-freight transport. The research addresses the issues related to the role of ocean carriers in the global supply chain as well as the intermodal interactions between sea-freight and other transport modes. On Port Economics and Management, a wide variety of perspectives are drawn from economics, management, technology, strategy and policy. Port studies are closely related to trade, in particular international trade, economic performance and maritime transportation. Hence, the research area is very significant for most countries and regions.


Research in Computational Mechanics spans the areas of material-failure models for RC concrete structures, the use of discontinuous formulations such as the extended finite element methods, the discrete deformation analysis and the manifold methods in the areas of underground tunnels and rock engineering.


In Dynamics and Seismic Engineering, the projects include the response of high-rise buildings and bridges to transient dynamic loading, the effects of long-distance major Sumatra’s earthquakes on Singapore’s infrastructure, and condition assessment and structural health monitoring of highway bridges.


Research in High strength steel structures studies the ultimate strength capacity and the fatigue performance of high strength steel long span bridging structures.


Offshore Engineering research is cross-disciplinary with foci on tubular joints, floating structure dynamics, deepwater moorings/risers, offshore hydrodynamics, safety and risk assessments of cracked offshore structures, and remote stress monitoring system for safety storage of CNG tank cylinders under high pressure.


Protective Technology research undertaken in PTRC have been on the effects of dynamic, explosion or blast loading on structural components, foundations of civil defence shelters, underground facilities, aboveground structures and progressive collapse of multi-storey buildings under column removal scenario.


Research in Fire engineering focuses on the fire effects on structures and involves experimental testing, numerical validations and proposal of mechanisms to describe physical behaviour. Fire tests have been conducted on high strength reinforced concrete columns, steel columns, composite columns, steel beams, beam-to-column joints and sub-assembly.


Structural Health Monitoring covers modeling, signal analysis, damage diagnosis and prognosis for various monitoring systems using smart sensors such as piezoceramic transducers and fibre optic sensors.