A collaboration between Monash University in Melbourne and Coates Engineering Solutions is using high-strength steel, commonly used in the automotive industry, to develop a lightweight, high-capacity propping solution for temporary construction works.
The innovative solution, called Quadshore, has undergone rigorous destructive and non-destructive experimental tests at material, component and system levels, in accordance with Australian Safety Standards, to demonstrate the durability and superior performance of the product.
According to the lead academic researcher, associate professor Amin Heidarpour from Monash University’s Department of Civil Engineering, high-strength steel hasn’t been efficiently utilised in temporary structures due to its limited plasticity. ‘Quadshore contains hybrid components that creatively maximise optimum use of both high-strength and mild steel to create lightweight, high-strength structural elements and boltless connections,’ he said. ‘The unique experimental facilities and lab environment in Monash’s Department of Civil Engineering allowed our team to undertake experimental tests on this product that replicated its behaviour in real-world settings.’
With a working load limit of up to 170 tonnes, it’s the lightest heavy-duty structural propping system available anywhere in the world.
Over the past ten years, research students and staff in Monash’s civil engineering labs have worked on materials and concept studies for this project, culminating in a multi-year collaboration with Coates Engineering Solutions. The research conducted by the last PhD student, Esmaeil Pournamazian Najafabadi, addressed the challenges with heavy conventional props, which are mainly made from mild steel with low capacity-to-weight ratios.
‘Our research has shown that by using high-strength steel, we have been able to enhance the sustainability credentials of temporary structures, where the carbon emissions and energy consumption for manufacturing of Quadshore beams is at least 30 per cent lower than for conventional props,’ Heidarpour said. ‘Industry benchmarks have measured the success of our product in terms of construction time, cost saving, safety-enhancing features and sustainability credentials.
‘The lightweight feature of Quadshore will result in a lower carbon footprint with cheaper transport costs and less shipping and handling fees,’ he continued. ‘The speed of installation also means improved productivity for our construction industry.’
This patented technology is acknowledged to be an exemplar in university–industry research collaboration that has facilitated research commercialisation and provided tangible outcomes with societal, economic and environmental benefits.
The Quadshore design, nominated by the peak body for locally made steel, the Australian Steel Institute, won the Innovation of the Year Award at the World Steel Association’s International Constructsteel Awards 2023. More recently, it received a prestigious Good Design Award Gold Winner accolade in the Engineering Design category in recognition of its outstanding design, innovation and customer-centric solution to local and global challenges.