Congratulations to Junior Professor Dr. Libo Yan for the IIFC Best PhD Thesis Award

Our Junior Professor Dr. Libo Yan, has received the IIFC Best PhD Thesis Award from The International Institute for FRP in Construction (IIFC) at the 8th International Conference on Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composites in Civil Engineering (CICE2016) held in Hong Kong on 14-16 December 2016. This PhD Thesis Award was established by IIFC in 2016 in association with the Composites in Civil Engineering (CICE) conference to promote high-quality research on FRP composites for construction.

The International Institute for FRP in Construction (IIFC) was established in March 2003, which is the only international professional organisation dedicated to the use of fibre-reinforced composite materials (FRP) in Civil infrastructure. The mission of the Institute is to advance the understanding and application of FRP composites in the civil infrastructure, in the service of the engineering profession and society. With membership representing academia and industry from 34 countries on six continents, IIFC offers its members unprecedented access to the state-of-the-art and advanced research endeavours at the cutting edge of the use of FRP in infrastructure through conferences, symposia and curricular development. IIFC is a close-knit community of researchers and other professionals leading the development of FRP systems, applications, guidelines, standards and codes, and curricular material worldwide.

The IIFC Best PhD Thesis Award package includes an Award Certificate, a cash prize of 1000 US dollars and 2-year complementary IIFC membership. In this year's IIFC Best PhD Thesis Award competition, dozens of doctor applicants graduated from the past four years have submitted the application, 8 shortlisted applicants selected by the Award Panel have been invited to CICE2016 Hong Kong for the final oral presentation competition. The evaluation criteria and threshold of the award selection were based on the following criteria: – Novelty (max. 20%), – Quality of research (max. 40%), – Written summary (max. 20%) and – Oral presentation (max. 20%). To be eligible for an award, the score must be higher than half of the maximum score in each criterion.

Dr. Libo Yan's Thesis on ‘Design and characterization of natural flax fibre reinforced polymer tube encased coir fibre reinforced concrete composite structure’, provided a comprehensive understanding of design and characterization of a novel steel-free composite structure by incorporating natural fibres as reinforcement. The composite structure is composed of an outer natural fibre reinforced polymer tube and a natural fibre reinforced concrete core. The pre-fabricated tube serves as permanent formwork for fresh concrete and also protects the concrete core from possible outer aggressive environments. In addition, as confinement of concrete core, the tube increases concrete strength and ductility. Natural fibres within concrete are used to reduce concrete cracks and modify failure mode of concrete to be ductile. The results formed an important base for future application of natural fibres and natural fibre reinforced polymer composites in civil engineering. The new composite structure will make a great contribution to the future environmentally friendly building structures with lower carbon footprint.

We are proud of Libo´s achievement and congratulate him to this success!

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