Introducing the Recipients of the 2022 CSA Group Graduate Scholarship

In 2019, CSA Group launched its Graduate Scholarship Program to support students enrolled in Master’s programs whose research is related to standards. Entering its 4th year, the Program welcomes a new cohort of young researchers, the recipients of the 2022 Scholarship.

Shakil Mahmud, University of Alberta
Advanced electronic textiles can open the door to many exciting therapeutic and warming applications in health care, sportswear, and beyond. But as the technology evolves, there is a strong need to develop standardized testing protocols to ensure these products are reliable and safe. Conducted in collaboration with CTT Group, Shakil’s research aims to develop universal testing and quality control methods for assessing the durability and safety of Joule heating textile products. He hopes his work will help lift some of the barriers to growth of the electronic textile industry.

Anas Badreddine, University of Alberta
With all the advantages it brings to the industry, modular, off-site construction, where buildings are assembled from factory-built modules, is emerging as a new paradigm within the Canadian construction sector. The building authorities are not always familiar with this method, which can lead to a lengthy permitting process. Anas believes that building information modeling (BIM) can help. His goal is to develop a BIM-based automated checking system that can expedite the review process of modular construction projects in Alberta and help verify their compliance with building codes and standards.

Ismail Mohammed, York University
Tension hardening fiber reinforced concrete (THFRC) has many mechanical and resilient properties that make it suitable for constructing and retrofitting structures designed for high durability and long service life, such as bridges. In order to introduce THFRC into CSA S6, Canadian highway bridge design code, a dependable method for determining the tensile strength of this material is needed. Ismail is working on a new inverse analysis that can help define tension stiffening characteristics of THFRC and establish standardized repair techniques for deteriorated concrete structures. Moreover, he is working on the tension stiffening properties of THFRC and its interaction with reinforcement in retrofits of corrosion-damaged, existing construction.

Julia Koppernaes, Dalhousie University
Universities across Canada are adopting and implementing the national standard CSA Z2003:20, Mental health and well-being for post-secondary students. The market offers many technologies and mobile apps that can help improve access to care for students needing mental health services. Julia wants to evaluate one of these platforms, the Q-Life program, and explore the effectiveness of its psychological well-being and resilience-building strategies. Her work will help determine if this program can serve as a useful resource for post-secondary institutions and support efforts to implement CSA Z2003.

Ashwin Joseph Mathews, University of Saskatchewan
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are often used to create healthy and comfortable indoor environments, however, these systems also account for a major portion of the building energy demand. Air-to-air energy recovery exchangers (AAEEs) can significantly reduce the energy consumption of HVAC systems. One area of concern with these exchangers is the potential transfer of contaminants, especially during pandemics. Ashwin wants to experimentally quantify the pathogen and gaseous contaminant transfer in membrane-based AAEEs. His work can help advance the CSA standard on test methods for heat/energy-recovery ventilators.

Arsenii Maximenko, University of Waterloo
The rapid melting of the Arctic Ocean caused by climate change opens up new opportunities for commercial shipping. While this may benefit many Northern and Indigenous communities, unregulated exploitation of such a fragile region may have severe and irreversible consequences. Through his research, Arsenii wants to contribute to developing a sustainable Arctic shipping standard that could be recognized and applied by all stakeholders. His work will mostly focus on the environmental dimensions of sustainability and define the possible negative outcomes of shipping on the Arctic environment and High North communities. More importantly, Arsenii’s research can help identify what actions should be taken on the governmental and corporate levels to avoid such disruptions.

Navid Nourian, University of Calgary
The requirements of the CSA S6, Canadian highway bridge design code, are focused on design safety and reliability. Navid’s objective is to develop a novel model for the optimal design of bridge truss structures that considers not only strength and serviceability but also provides the most economical and sustainable solution. He hopes that by developing and using trained artificial neural networks, his method will allow for simultaneous truss size and shape optimization at significantly lower computational and design costs than at present. Navid’s work can help improve the design procedure specified by the Code and contribute to reductions in total structural weight and overall construction costs.

Megan Coghill, University of Guelph
Risky play is important for children’s development and can improve their health, physical fitness, interpersonal skills, and resilience. Playgrounds that include trees, uneven terrain, water features, and other natural elements can help support more risky play than traditional playgrounds. Megan’s research seeks to better understand the prevalence of risky play in Canada and how children use natural features for risk-taking. She hopes that these findings can help inform future editions of the standard CSA Z614:20, Children’s playground equipment and surfacing, widely adopted by Canadian municipalities and school boards.

Giuseppe Garisto, York University
Fiber-reinforced concrete presents many new opportunities for the construction industry. Structural components can be thinner and lighter while retaining outstanding crack control, durability, improved load resistance, and ductility. The 2019 edition of CSA S6, Canadian highway bridge design code, introduced the first provisions for the use of these materials in bridge design. Giuseppe hopes his research will help further improve these provisions. Combining both advanced numerical analysis and experimental testing involving distributed fiber optic sensors will allow him to study the structural behaviour of reinforced and prestressed concrete elements at an unprecedented level of detail. The results of his work can contribute to developing new, more optimized design approaches, reducing construction material usage and costs while improving structural performance.

Tonushri Das, McGill University
Cavity walls, typically consisting of inner concrete blocks and outer clay bricks separated by an air gap, are a common masonry type used in Canada. Unfortunately, climate change has a negative impact on these walls, causing cracks and compromising the durability of the whole structure. Tonushri’s work, conducted within a larger research program on climate change design adaptation, will focus on innovative testing of clay and concrete masonry. These tests will help inform future updates of CSA standards for concrete block masonry units (CSA A1665.1-14) and fired masonry bricks made from clay or shale (CSA A82-14). Tonushri’s research will also contribute to developing climate-adapted cavity wall designs for more resilient and sustainable buildings in Canada.

“The 2022 recipients of the CSA Group Graduate Scholarship are tackling questions of great relevance for today,” says Dr. Jennifer Teague, Vice President, Standards Research & Planning at CSA Group. “From health and safety to the environment and more economical solutions for industry, the findings will be of tremendous benefit to the standards development community, as well as to Canadians across the country. We are proud to support these young researchers in their efforts and look forward to the results of this important work.”

Visit the CSA Group Graduate Scholarship webpage to learn more about this program and how it supports research that helps create a better, safer, and more sustainable world.


November 1, 2022