Welcome to my personal research web page. My name is Liam Butler and I am currently an Assistant Professor at the Lassonde School of Engineering (Civil Engineering) at York University. I am also a cross-appointed group leader within the Lloyd's Register Foundation program on data-centric engineering at the Alan Turing Institute.
My research interests are centered on the development, investigation and implementation of sustainable and intelligent structures and material sytems.
Experiential teaching (and learning) has always been a focal point in my academic career. Lecturing, supervising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students has been a constant source of inspiration and motivation in my own work as a researcher and as an engineer.
In 2012, I was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo for my research work involving recycling of old concrete structures into new concrete which combined materials, structural experimental testing and statistical analysis. Under the direction of Prof. Jeffrey West and Prof. Susan Tighe, my project represented the largest study to date on the bond behaviour of reinforced concrete structures incorporating recycled concrete aggregates (RCA). This work culminated in the development of statistically-derived design equations for development length of RCA concrete and the completion of a material characterization framework to enable the more efficient and widespread use of RCA in new concrete infrastructure. Following my PhD, I worked as a structural engineer at Read Jones Christoffersen in Toronto where I carried out the structural design of a wide variety of complex structures and consulted on several challenging concrete materials-related projects. I am an active member of the American Concrete Institute's Technical Committee 555 on Concrete with Recycled Materials where I serve as a subcommittee chair tasked with updating a state-of-the-art report on the Recycling and Reuse of Hardened Concrete. I am also a collaborating researcher at the Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology and am a registered professional engineer (P.Eng.) in the Province of Ontario, Canada.
In my continued pursuit to address research challenges in infrastructure engineering, I joined the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge in October 2014 as a research associate working with Prof. Campbell Middleton and Dr. Mohammed Elshafie. As a researcher within the CSIC, I work in the broad area of infrastructure sensing largely focused on bridges and prestressed concrete railway sleepers containing embedded fibre-optic sensor networks.
Concurrently, I am collaborating with Prof. Janet Lees (U of Cambridge) and industry partners at the Tony Gee Partnership, to develop strengthening systems for concrete structures using smart textile-reinforced cementitious composites. The aim is to combine sensing and strengthening techniques to create a hybrid ‘dual-purpose sensing’ system which will lead to more effective retrofits, provide information on long-term performance, and improve overall resilience of concrete infrastructure.
In 2018, I became a Group Leader working with Prof. Mark Girolami at the Alan Turing Institute's program on Data-Centric Engineering (DCE). In this new role I will investigate how disruptive sensing technologies combined with DCE approaches can be used to better understand critical structures, next-generation materials and the long-term resiliency of our built environment. My projects have led to numerous successful collaborations with industry and academic partners including Laing O'Rourke, CEMEX, Network Rail, Atkins, Imperial College London, Heriot-Watt University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Waseda University and the University of Pretoria.