This is a guest post and part of our ongoing Student Life series

By Tanaz Dhondy, PhD candidate, School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering

I was given the privilege of attending, presenting two papers on my completed and ongoing research and representing the University of Wollongong at the Australasian Structural Engineering Conference (ASEC) from the 26-28 September 2018, in Adelaide.

The conference was themed “Engineering our Future” which was closely relatable to my ongoing PhD research. My ongoing research aims to use innovative and sustainable materials – sea sand and seawater – for use in concrete, given the rapid depletion in river sand and fresh water globally. The conference gave me the opportunity to share my research and insight with many academic and industrial professionals who attended the conference. This was a great conversation starter and I had the privilege of discussing this topic with many delegates after my presentation. Obtaining interesting insights into their thoughts and opinions on the matter.

The conference discussed a broad range of topics, most importantly it displayed a wide range of innovative engineering materials and solutions which have been adopted by academics and the industry, with on going research in these fields.

A panel discussion session on the relationship between industry and academics was extremely insightful. On how universities prepare students for the industry and what the industry demands of their students. In conclusion it was noted that the industry is constantly changing, and the academics provide the students with the best basic knowledge to allow them to understand the fundamentals, which can then flourish within the industry. It is the industry which is needing to be willing to accept the challenge of nurturing graduates and developing their skills.

Key note presentation by Prof. Robert Melcher also provided some key insights into the deterioration of concrete and concrete spalling. Which brought together the knowledge and understanding that the deterioration of concrete is related to many environmental and material conditions, such as relative humidity of the environment, pH of the concrete and concrete porosity.

Overall the conference was extremely insightful and a wealth of knowledge. It was also a great opportunity to discuss my ongoing research with fellow academics and industry specialist.