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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L504683/1
Title: Optimisation of large concrete DfMA structures for the Nuclear Industry
Principal Investigator: Angeloudis, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Ochieng, Professor WY
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 05 July 2013 Ends: 04 July 2016 Value (£): 267,098
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The overall aim of the project proposed is to optimise the design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) of large

preassembled components for reinforced concrete construction in nuclear and other large construction projects. To bring

these benefits and capability to the UK nuclear construction supply chain, and to establish a world-leading capability, the

project will verify the reliability of preassembled structural components currently available in the UK and develop new ones

that meet the stringent design and assembly requirements of the nuclear environment. The project team includes Laing

O'Rourke (a current nuclear new build constructor), Imperial College London (expertise in optimisation, logistics and

intelligent transport systems), ARUP (expertise in the design of new nuclear power plants) and BRE (capability of testing

prototype designs).

The project will explore the potential of a number of construction approaches, consisting of a range of elemental sizes and

jointing techniques, for both sub- and super-structure applications in nuclear construction. Key considerations for research

are the structural performance of such systems and joints, their reliability, and innovation with regards to associated

manufacturing and assembly techniques. Therefore, the project consists of six main sub-projects as follows:

1) Design of large underground components,

2) Design of large superstructure components,

3) Joint small scale reliability,

4) Reliability assessment of systems,

5) Optimisation and automation of manufacturing techniques and

6) Optimisation and automation of assembly techniques.

The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London will lead research in the optimisation and

automation of assembly techniques. The use of preassembled components in nuclear construction presents a significant

opportunity to apply this expertise in the construction sector. The combination of these technologies will allow the industry

to rethink and streamline the entire design and assembly process in nuclear plant construction and beyond.

The aim of the research carried out at Imperial will be to address the difficulties in handling larger-than-usual construction

components as well as taking advantage of their prefabricated nature. The three key quantities to be determined will be the

number, size and location of tower cranes to be used in the construction process, with each combination having direct

consequences on the overall layout of the construction site and the rate at which the assembly process is accomplished.

As the scale of preassembled components that will be considered can vary significantly (with weights between 20 and

1000t) a variety of scenarios will be considered.

The optimisation models and solution approaches to be developed will seek to balance overall transport and handling costs

against the speed of construction, while ensuring that safety and other operational constraints are satisfied. The models

and solutions will be tested through the use of simulation informed with real data and provide feedback to the parties

responsible for the design of the components used, in an iterative approach that will ensure that the overall design and

construction process will be able to extract the maximum benefit from the use of preassembly.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk