MSE Research Project Database

An innovative light weight composite panel system for high speed modular construction

Project Leader: Tuan Ngo
Staff: Prof Priyan Mendis
Collaborators: Prof Hong Hao (Curtin University) Prof Jose L. Torero (The University of Queensland) Prof Jay Sanjayan (Swinburne University of Technology) Mr David Visser (Speedpanel Australia Ltd)
Sponsors: Australian Research Council, Speedpanel Australia Ltd
Primary Contact: A/Prof Tuan Ngo (
Keywords: civil engineering; energy efficiency; geopolymers; numerical modelling
Disciplines: Infrastructure Engineering
Domains: Optimisation of resources and infrastructure

This proposed project aims to develop an innovative composite panel system using aerated geopolymer and a thin high strength steel casing. The new panel system will have a number of significant enhancements compared to the traditional panels in terms of load resistance, much lower carbon footprint and life-cycle costs. It will offer desirable properties, such as being light-weight, easy to construct, economical, recyclable and reusable. A significant gap in knowledge exists in the material and system behaviour of the aerated geopolymer and its fire performance. A comprehensive research program will be carried out to address those challenges and to provide design guidelines to rapidly progress this technologies in Australia and overseas.


  1. Ngo, T., Hajimohammadi, A., Sanjayan, J., & Mendis, P. (2017). Characterisation tests and design of foam concrete for prefabricated modular construction. Concrete in Australia.
  2. Hajimohammadi, A., Ngo, T., & Mendis, P. (2017). How does aluminium foaming agent impact the geopolymer formation mechanism? Cement and Concrete Composites.
  3. Kashani, A., Ngo, T. D., Walkley, B., & Mendis, P. (2017). Thermal performance of calcium-rich alkali-activated materials: A microstructural and mechanical study. Construction and Building Materials.
  4. Gunawardena, T., Ngo, T., Mendis, P., & Alfano, J. (2016). Innovative Flexible Structural System Using Prefabricated Modules. Journal of Architectural Engineering.

Further information:

Lightweight SIP with steel shell and foam concrete core (Photograph courtesy of Speedpanel Australia Ltd)
Microscopic images of fly ash geopolymers foamed with aluminium powder