Inspiring Minds seeks to broaden awareness and impact of graduate student research, while enhancing transferable skills. Students were challenged to describe their research, scholarship or creative activity in 150 or fewer words to share with our community.




Performance-based design of sound wall foundation under freeze-thaw cycle effects

Sound walls are designed to mitigate the impact of noise pollution in sensitive areas and buildings. At present, the design process of sound wall foundations, specifically those involving steel piles, is greatly affected by freeze-thaw cycles. These cycles induce deformations, leading to structural damage and playing a significant role in determining the stability of structures in colder regions. The number of studies that have delved into steel pile design in the context of sound wall foundations, particularly their behaviour under cumulative freeze-thaw deformations, remains limited. Current design approaches overdesign the steel piles’ length or resort to concrete piles that are non-environmentally friendly. The experimental program aims to develop a performance-based design approach that yields tangible outcomes, replacing concrete piles and reducing the amount of steel used. This initiative will contribute to the construction of structures that are not only aesthetically pleasing and functional, but also energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable.

Omar Bolbol
MESc candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Faculty of Engineering - Western University

M. Hesham El Naggar


Omar is a Master of Engineering Science (MESc) candidate specializing in Geotechnical/Geoenvironmental Engineering. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering from Beirut Arab University (ABET Accredited) in Lebanon. Omar's research is concentrated in the niche field of frozen ground engineering, specifically examining the effects of freeze-thaw cycles on the structural stability of structures in cold regions and steel design in the context of sound wall foundations. He aims to address a crucial gap in existing design approaches which often overdesign the length of steel piles or default to the environmentally unfriendly option of concrete piles. The experimental program seeks to develop a performance-based design approach, promoting energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in construction. Recognized for his contributions, Omar is a recipient of the Mitacs Accelerate Scholarship. Beyond academia, his passion for sustainability extends into his voluntary roles at Mercy Corps and the How To Change The World Organization, working towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

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