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Faculty of Engineering
UNB Fredericton

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Available projects

For more details about the topics below, contact Dr. Jeff Rankin (rankin@unb.ca).

Some general themes for projects would consist of:

  • Analyses of sustainable municipal infrastructure projects and practices
  • Alternative financing and procurement of municipal infrastructure projects
  • Assessing performance impacts of technology adoption in construction projects

Please contact Dr. Xiomara Sanchez (xiomara.sanchez@unb.ca) if you have any questions about projects listed below.

Comparison of different additives to improve aggregate bonding in asphalt mixtures

  • The study will involve a through literature review on the techniques used to improve aggregate- asphalt bonding and testing of some mixtures with different additives to measure the relative improvement regarding to moisture damage.

Low cost performance tests for quality control of asphalt mixtures

  • The student will research literature looking for different techniques to assess the performance of thermal cracking, fatigue and rutting of hot mix asphalt with low cost techniques, and will have the opportunity to test one of those techniques in the lab.

A fourth year student interested in completing an undergraduate research thesis (CE5963) project is needed.

This project is to be completed under the joint supervision of Dr. Alan Lloyd (Civil Engineering) and Dr. Gobinda Saha (Mechanical Engineering). The project is to be completed over the Fall and Winter semesters of the 2016/2017 academic year. It is open to a student interested in structural engineering and civil engineering materials. The research thesis course is worth 6ch and replaces two technical elective courses in the final year.

The project scope includes the following:

  • Develop knowledge on current design principles related to ultimate strength and ductility of structures under extreme loads such a seismic and blast as well as the use of internal fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement bars in reinforced concrete (RC).
  • Collect literature to assess the state of the art of ductile FRP materials for use in civil engineering structures.
  • Using computational methods, assess RC structures reinforced with ductile FRP to determine the feasibility of the material.

Please contact Dr. Alan Lloyd directly (alan.lloyd@unb.ca) if you are interested in this project.


The following projects focus on numerical, analytical and practical analysis and design methods in the structural and geotechnical engineering fields.

Please contact Dr. Kaveh Arjomandi (kaveh.arjomandi@unb.ca) if you have any questions about the projects listed below:

Structural Steel Design

  • Using Component Based Models to Analyze and Design Steel Connections
  • Design Methods for Cantilevered Beams Subjected to Bending
  • Analysis and Design methods for Simple Shear Connections Subjected to Combined Loading
  • Nonlinear Analysis and Design of Gusset Plates

Soil-Structure Interaction

  • Deep Foundations Subjected to Dynamic Loads
  • Strip Foundations on Layered Soil Slope
  • Earth Pressure on Facial Retaining Walls
  • Use of Compressible Layer Behind Integral-Abutment Bridge Walls

Structural Health Monitoring

  • Structural Health Monitoring Methods - Theory and Practice

Structural Reliability

  • Reliability Analysis of Existing Steel Structures
  • Reliability Analysis of Existing Concrete Structures
  • Reliability Analysis of Structures with Significant Soil-Structure Interaction

Design projects

  • Design projects may also be considered as research thesis topics.

Please contact Dr. Won Taek Oh (woh@unb.ca) if you have any questions about the projects listed below:

The research listed below will provide students with opportunities to learn the mechanics of unsaturated soils and its application into geotechnical engineering practice. Students are encouraged to read Introduction to Unsaturated Soil Mechanics to understand basic concepts of the mechanics of unsaturated soils before applying for these research topics.

Soil-Water Characteristic Curve and its application

Soil-Water Characteristic Curve (SWCC) is the relationship between degree of saturation and soil suction, which is the most commonly used tool to analyze mechanical properties of unsaturated soils. This research focuses on various models to predict the SWCC and to understand how it can be used in estimating mechanical properties of unsaturated soils.

Bearing capacity of unsaturated soils

In conventional soil mechanics, bearing capacity of soils are estimated using either effective or total stress approach assuming soils are in a state of saturation. In this research, students will study how the bearing capacity changes as soils get desaturated.

Determination of elastic modulus of soils

Elastic modulus is a key parameter to estimate elastic settlement of soils. Students will investigate various experimental and analytical methodologies to determine the elastic modulus in both saturated and unsaturated soils.

Slope stability of unsaturated soils

Students will conduct slope stability analysis in unsaturated soils. This research will provide students with opportunities to learn slope stability analysis methods in unsaturated soils considering rainfall infiltration using slope stability software.


If you are interested and/or require further info on the projects below, please contact either Dr. Trevor Hanson (thanson@unb.ca) or Eric Hildebrand (edh@unb.ca).

  • Developing a travel data collection plan for New Brunswick’s volunteer driver programs.
  • The influence of physical and spatial attributes of bus stops on transit ridership in Fredericton.
  • Operational Performance of the Smythe Street Roundabout Project.

Student research theses 2021

B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Simulation of Off-site Construction Productivity

Alyssa van de Riet

The construction industry is moving towards off-site production for both safety and quality improvements. As with any production line, the goal in off-site construction is to be as efficient as possible. For her undergraduate research thesis, Alyssa developed a simplified simulation of the production process at Alantra Leasing. The project is now being continued as the topic for her master’s degree thesis, incorporating various productivity improvement techniques.

Alyssa is from Shubenacadie Nova Scotia. After graduation, she will be continuing with her master’s degree at UNB. When she is not doing research or on a construction site, she enjoys hiking, highland dance, being active and hanging out with friends!


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Excavation Design of Storage Rooms for a Hypothetical Deep Geological Repository

Caleb Coulson

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has proposed the Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for the long-term storage of nuclear waste in Canada. This facility consists of many long storage rooms, 500-700m underground in stable rock formations. The rooms of the DGR needs to remain strong and isolate the waste from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years. To ensure the safety of the facility, an analysis of how the rock will respond to the presence of exaction is necessary. This project was undergone to see how a hypothetical rock formation would respond the presence of different size storage rooms and evaluate the safety of the rooms under different stress conditions.

Caleb is a graduating civil engineering student from Bible Hill, NS. He has spent the last year focusing on geotechnical engineering, concrete technologies, hydrogeology, and project management practices. After graduation, Caleb is beginning his master’s of science in engineering at UNB under the supervision of Dr. Othman Nasir.


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Roundabout Collision Study

Kari Anderson

In recent years, roundabouts have been introduced to communities across New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island as a safe and efficient alternative to traditional signalized intersections. Designed with both single and double lanes and located on all classes of roadway, the safety performance of these structures with respect to vehicle collisions was never formally investigated.

This research thesis provides an analysis of collisions which have occurred at roundabouts in the provinces of NB and PEI to reinforce the performance and safety of roundabout intersections. Collisions obtained from police reports (>$1,000 damages) were analyzed for patterns, rates and the potential for improvement calculated.

The results of this study will assist in decision making and support research for future roundabout construction in the province and promote the safety of roundabouts.

Having the opportunity to live in four different Canadian provinces, it is difficult to choose a hometown; however, Kari has lived in Oromocto, NB during her years at UNB. She enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and the environment of continuous learning provided by engineering. After graduation, Kari is excited to be pursuing work in transportation engineering in Calgary, Alberta.


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

A Review of Canadian Highway Bridge Inspection

Keagan Hudson Rankin

This undergraduate research project completed a review of bridge inspection in Canada. The review looked at the evolution of bridge inspection demand and technology since the 1940s and forecasted the future of bridge inspection. It included a case study and a potential high-level inspection plan for New Brunswick.

Keagan is an engineering student from Fredericton, New Brunswick. After graduation, he will begin his M.A.Sc at the University of Toronto in the fall. Keagan is interested in applying technical knowledge to solve problems in sustainable infrastructure. In his spare time, Keagan participates in university/club rowing, plays various sports with his friends, and enjoys reading literature.


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Active Transportation Connection

Kristen Burns

Route 8 in Fredericton, New Brunswick separates College Hill and Skyline Acres. It can be over a three-kilometre drive to travel to a point that is a couple of hundred metres in straight line distance between the two neighbourhoods. Pedestrians currently attempt to cross the busy highway, which poses a safety risk to both drivers and pedestrians. The Active Transportation Connection will provide an accessible pedestrian and cycling bridge across Route 8, with hopes to facilitate the transition of people from motorized models to more active modes through a change in their travel behaviour.

The goal of this research was to create a travel demand model for the use of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge as part of the first phase of the Active Transportation Connection and to quantify its impact on travel behaviour of the people in the city. The travel behaviour was examined before and after the active transportation infrastructure was modelled to quantify any impacts of introducing the link into the network.

This research and model displayed that active transportation can be incorporated into different models to estimate users of new active transportation infrastructure. Expanding the model to the entire City of Fredericton would create an even more accurate model to determine the number of users crossing the new link.

Kristen is originally from Mississauga, Ontario and came to UNB to study engineering and play volleyball for the Varsity Reds. Kristen’s family moved to Douglas, New Brunswick 3 years ago and are all enjoying exploring this province. After graduation, Kristen is pursuing a master’s degree at UNB. This will continue with research completed during her undergrad and will look at active transportation planning and forecasting.


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Volunteer Driver Programs for Rural Transportation in PEI

Garrett Murray

The purpose of this project was to assess the ability for volunteer driver programs to function in Prince Edward Island as a solution to their limited rural transportation options, and to model the estimated demand for the program in PEI. Volunteer driver programs (VDPs) are organized transportation programs where volunteers offer to drive community members to their desired locations, which is often a significantly attractive option for older adults.

Using previously collected data for New Brunswick VDPs, the number of older-adults aged 65+ that are expected to use a VDP, and the number of volunteers that are expected to provide services for the program were estimated. From these numbers, and using several New Brunswick transportation planning statistics, a transportation model showing all VDP trips across PEI was created. This model displayed where all VDP trips would theoretically be travelling to and from if a VDP was started on PEI and allowed the overall usage of the service to be predicted and compared to the numbers of existing VDP’s.

Garrett Murray grew up in the rural community of Augustine Cove, Prince Edward Island. After earning his Civil Engineering degree, Garrett’s immediate plans include stepping into the industry and working for a civil engineering consultant on PEI. In the future, Garrett would like to move away and either work or attend graduate school in a larger city with the goal of gaining more valuable experience in the engineering industry.


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Study of the Effects of Using Recycled Plastic Containing Low Density Polyethylene as a Portion of Aggregates in Asphalt Concrete

Shelby Benjamin Banfield

Pollution is a huge concern in today's world, and a large contributor of this pollution is plastics. Research has been conducted around the world on using recycled polymers from plastics to benefit asphalt concrete (pavement). Positive benefits were discovered including improved water sensitivity and better rutting resistance. The research conducted so far was primarily in warm climate areas.

This research project involved taking recycled Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), which is typically used in plastic bags, and incorporating it as part of an asphalt mix in a laboratory setting. This mix is going to be compared with a conventional (control) asphalt mix. A preliminary mix containing 3% of plastic (by weight of the mineral aggregates), was prepared using a dry process. This involves adding the plastic to heated aggregates in which the plastic will melt and coat the aggregates. This is done before mixing with the binder to create asphalt mixes. To date, a volumetric analysis was completed which showed that the plastic mix requires less compaction effort to achieve desired air voids. Semi-circular bending tests were also completed. Results showed that the control mix has a higher cracking resistance over the plastic mix, but both samples are considered to have excellent cracking resistance after long term aging. Several additional studies will be conducted on these mixes, as well as mixes containing plastics from additional sources in a master’s thesis project. Such testing will include dynamic modulus to predict behaviour of mixes over a range of temperatures; flow number to determine how many vehicles the pavement can handle; and resistance to moisture, using several freeze-thaw cycles to determine long-term stripping capability.

Shelby is from McCallum, NL, which consists of a population below 100 people. He came to Fredericton, NB to complete a degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation, Shelby is undergoing an Accelerated Masters at UNB with Dr. Sanchez. Shelby plans to remain in Atlantic Canada upon graduation and work with Asphalt testing for a career.


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Can the gravity model be an effective health transportation planning tool for New Brunswick?

Barry Riordon

With over 50% of New Brunswick’s population living in rural areas, it is noted that there are various difficulties to healthcare accessibility when considering the rural senior population. This issue is exemplified by referring to the effects of aging, making driving very challenging or impossible over time. It is also very common that rural areas don’t have the means to public transportation, where older adults may not even have access to a vehicle. Not only is there a problem surrounding transportation usage, but there are also significant challenges to recruit and retain staff members in smaller rural facilities, which leads to temporary closures. These conditions ultimately contribute to the engulfed and overwhelming distances required by seniors to travel to a healthcare facility.

To understand this growing problem in the province, where the average age in most regions is constantly increasing, the goal of my exploratory research was concerned with determining whether the gravity model can be used to estimate quantified senior trip behaviors to healthcare facilities in New Brunswick. Subsequent to the success of this main research objective, the study proceeded to modify the produced model to see how changes in healthcare facilities, such as a hospital closure or a reduction in bed numbers, would change the allocation of health trips. This exploratory study is very significant, as transportation planners and policy decision makers often require reliable forms of accessibility data to address certain transportation problems. Considering that the majority of research and policy efforts to improve access and eradicate disparities in healthcare have focused on reducing costs, which has typically involved consolidating rural health facilities to urban ones, this original study could potentially improve the understanding and approach to the province’s healthcare accessibility concerns.

This study expanded on the distinguished research efforts of Brianna Morehouse with the supervision of Dr. Trevor Hanson.

Barry Riordon is from a small village in North East New Brunswick called Pokeshaw. With his recently found passion for transportation engineering, Barry intends to pursue his interests by continuing his research in a M.Sc.E in the Fall of 2021. Until the start of his graduate program, Barry will be working with Roy Consultants as a junior engineer in the transportation department. Following the completion of his masters, Barry plans to return to the workforce as a transportation engineer.


B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Evaluation of Accelerated Test Methods for Alkali-Silica Reaction Prevention: Miniature Concrete Prism Test

Riley Taweel

For his undergraduate research thesis project, Riley worked under Dr. Michael Thomas and conducted research pertaining to a newly developed test method used to screen aggregates used in concrete for their potential to undergo a reaction known as Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR). In addition to determining the reactivity potential of aggregates, the Miniature Concrete Prism Test (MCPT) was used to determine the efficacy of techniques used to mitigate ASR.

The motivation for this study was to determine the viability of the MCPT for routine use in the concrete industry – currently, the tests that are available are either too slow, or are unreliable, and the MCPT was designed to be the solution to these issues. A common symptom of ASR is the expansion of hardened concrete as it ages. As such, concrete test specimens were cast and stored in a sodium hydroxide solution and the expansions of the specimens were measures and recorded at various ages up to 84 days (12 weeks). More expansion is associated with higher reactivity and lower efficacy of mitigation techniques, and lower expansion is associated with the opposite. From this experimental testing, it was found that the MCPT was a good test for identifying the reactivity of aggregates, but not so good for determining the efficacy of techniques used to prevent ASR. Due to the size and scope of this study, there is further investigation required before the MCPT and its results can be widely accepted as industry best practice for ASR testing.

Riley’s hometown is Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, a small town just west of Charlottetown. After graduation, Riley plans to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering. Until the beginning of his master’s program, Riley will be working for the City of Charlottetown’s Public Works Department as an E.I.T. Outside of work and school, Riley’s hobbies include playing golf, woodworking, and beach-going.