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Dr Lu Zhuo wins prestigious Royal Society International Exchange Grant for collaborative study.

7 May 2024

Dr Lu Zhuo has won a prestigious Royal Society International Exchange Grant to stimulate the development of a new research collaboration with Chengdu University of Technology in China.

International Exchange grants provide support for scientists based in the UK to develop new research collaborations with leading scientists overseas. Taking place from March 2024 until February 2026, Dr Lu Zhuo’s study “Assessing Wind-Rainfall Interacting Effects on Bridge Slope Stability Degradation in Mountainous Terrain” will be conducted with colleagues at Cardiff University and Chengdu University of Technology.

China, home to numerous towering bridges, grapples with the relentless onslaught of extreme weather phenomena such as fierce winds and torrential rains. These pose significant threats not only to the bridges themselves, but also to the surrounding communities and commerce. In the UK, many of our bridges are also exposed to changeable and inclement weather, creating a similar need to understand the interaction of how wind and soil moisture affect bridge stability. However, environmental conditions vary between bridge sites, and it is unclear how to apply results from one site to another.

Dr Zhuo and her team will use field measurement, advanced weather modelling, satellite remote sensing, and the Computational Fluid Dynamics method to make a high-precision computer simulation of the wind speed and direction, obtaining accurate soil moisture information in mountain terrain. Combining these approaches with physical experimental tests, the project will develop an improved understanding of how the wind and rainfall reduce the strength of the bridge slope.

Dr Zhuo said “I am excited to begin this collaboration with Chengdu University of Technology, focusing on how wind and rainfall impact the strength of bridge slopes. This critical knowledge will enhance bridge engineering practices in complex terrains.”

By shedding light on how weather phenomena affect the landscapes surrounding bridges, Dr Zhuo's endeavour will yield invaluable insights crucial for enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure in mountainous regions worldwide.

Dr Lu Zhuo is a Lecturer in Remote Sensing and Environmental Systems at Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Her research lies between engineering, science and social science, analysing the impacts of natural hazards and extreme weather conditions on societies.

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