Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen CPEng, NPER, RPEQ

Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen

Department of Civil Engineering
Reader in Railway and Civil Engineering
Coordinator, RISEN (www.risen2rail.eu)

Contact details

Address
School of Civil Engineering
Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education
Gisbert Kapp Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen is a positive, self-motivated technical manager and specialist with extensive experience across civil, transport and rail industry in public and private sectors. He has extensive expertise in transport infrastructure engineering and management, successfully dealing with all stages of infrastructure life cycle and assuring safety, reliability, resilience and sustainability of rail infrastructure systems.

He has outstanding skills in business management and continuous improvement of customer experience, he held visiting appointments at various institutions, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Chalmers University of Technology’s Railway Mechanics Centre in Gothenburg Sweden, The University of Tokyo, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Railway Technical Research Institute in Tokyo Japan.

He has over 300 technical publications and evidence-based consultancy reports, and has served on the editorial boards of many international journals, including Structural Monitoring and Maintenance, Shock and Vibration, Journal of Structures, and International Conferences of Railway Technology and Rail Transportation.

Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen has extensive industry experience in the field of structural, civil and track engineering both in industry and in academia. With over 14 years in rail industry and regulatory environments prior to joining academia, he has wide variety of specialisations, including rail engineering, track design, track components, structural and geotechnical engineering, maintenance and construction.

He is a Chartered Engineering in both Civil and Structural Colleges, and has research and practical experience internationally in railway systems and infrastructure engineering. His professional work had involved many industry projects worth over £5billions and has supervised/participated in railway research projects worth over £8milions (in Australia, UK, Japan, USA, Sweden, China, Malaysia and Thailand).

His industry and research work has won him numerous international and domestic awards. A few recent awards include Stephenson’s Best Paper Award (2017), Institute of Structural Engineers Midlands’ Research Award (2016), and Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences Long-term Fellowship (2015-2016).

He has membership in EU-Cost Actions: TU1404 (Towards the next generation of standards for service life of cement-based materials and structures), CA15125 (Designs for noise reducing materials and structures), CA15202 (Self-healing as preventive repair of concrete structures) and TU1409 (Mathematics for Industry Network).

Dr Kaewunruen is a member of ISO and BSI standard committees for railway sleepers (using concrete, plastic and composite materials) and recycling of rolling stocks. He successfully coordinates EU-funded RISEN and is a CI of S-CODE. He is also a committee member of Concrete Society Midlands and is Chief Editor of Frontiers in Transportation and Transit Systems.

His current research focuses cover a wide range of civil and railway engineering, including:

  • Civil and rail infrastructure
  • Lifecycle assessment and sustainability
  • Train/track interface and interaction
  • Structural dynamics reliability and resilience
  • Shock/blast and impact
  • Railway and transportation systems
  • Risks economics, strategy, systems and urbanisation

Qualifications

  • Emerging Leader Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
  • Ph.D. Civil Engineering (Structures / Railway Infrastructure), University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia
  • MBA (Executive), 2011 – date, Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), Australia
  • G.Cert. in Business (Distinction), University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia
  • Cert. (Sustainable Urban Development) International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training, Taiwan, Republic of China
  • M.Eng. Civil Engineering (Offshore structures), King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • B.Eng. (Hons), Civil Engineering, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
  • Cooperative Education, Central Queensland University, QLD, Australia
  • Chartered Professional Engineer, Civil and Structural Colleges, Engineers Australia
  • RPEQ, Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland, Australia
  • Licensed Civil Engineer, Engineering Council of Thailand

Biography

Zac (Sakdirat Kaewunruen) has joined the University of Birmingham in early October 2014, within the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education. Prior to that, he has had over 14 years industry experience, and recently spent over 6 years as a Technical Specialist (Senior Project Manager Level), Track Engineering, with RailCorp, Sydney Trains, and Transport for NSW (TfNSW) in Sydney, Australia. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering with the particular expertise in Structural Engineering (Railway Infrastructure) from the University of Wollongong (UoW), Australia, and completed a Leadership program at John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, MA, USA. He is a Chartered Engineer in both Civil and Structural Colleges.

Zac held visiting appointments at various institutions, including

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA
  • Chalmers University of Technology’s Railway Mechanics Centre in Gothenburg Sweden
  • Railway Technical Research Institute in Tokyo Japan
  • The University of Tokyo, Japan

Zac is a Chief Editor of Frontiers in Transportation and Transit Systems. He has also served on the editorial boards of many international journals, including:

  • Structural Monitoring and Maintenance
  • Shock and Vibration
  • Journal of Structures
  • Scientific World Journal
  • International Conference of Railway Technology

Zac has received a large number of awards and recognitions for this endeavour in research and volunteer works, including:

  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)’s Invitation Research Fellowship (Long-term)
  • Best Paper Award in Infrastructure Engineering, the 20th National Convention on Civil Engineering, Engineering Institute of Thailand under the H.M. King Patronage.
  • Endeavour Executive Award, Australian Government – Department of Education, Science and Technology, Australia; for professional development at MIT, OBB and CHARMEC.
  • Best Poster Presentation, Materials Day, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MA, USA.
  • 3rd Prize Frank Franklin Award, Rail Track Association Australia, Australia.
  • VC’s Award of Excellence in Partnerships, University of Western Sydney (UWS), NSW Australia.
  • Outstanding Reviewer for the Journal of Transportation Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), VA, USA.
  • NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, Australian Institute of Policy and Science, NSW, Australia.
  • Endeavour Executive Award, Australian Government – Department of Education, Science and Technology, Australia; for professional development at Railway Technical Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Outstanding PhD Thesis Award, the first prize of best PhD Theses in Engineering and Industrial Research Category awarded by Royal Thai Government (RTG), Thailand.
  • National Engineering Bursary Award, for Best PhD Thesis in Concrete Structures awarded by Concrete Institute of Australia (CIA), Australia.
  • Young Railway Engineer of The Year, awarded by Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA), Australia.
  • Leading Engineers of the World 2007; 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals in the 21st Century (2008), cited by IBC: International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.
  • Who's Who in Asia (2007); Who’s Who in the World (2008), cited by Marquis Who's Who, USA.
  • First Prize for the Best Oral Presentation in Theme “New methods and materials”,
    HDR Conference 2007, September 26, University of Wollongong.
  • Concrete'07 Scholarship, Concrete Institute of Australia, for attending the Concrete'07
    Conference, at Adelaide, Australia. 
  • Society of Experimental Mechanics' Student Assistance Funding SEM Annual Conference and
    Exposition on Experimental Mechanics, USA. 
  • UniQuest Research Commercialisation Scholarship for the Research Commercialisation
    Workshop (UoW and UQ)
  • Concordia Award, International House, University of Wollongong
  • Peter Schmidt Memorial Scholarship Award for Best Performance in Engineering
    Postgraduate Research, Faculty of Engineering, University of Wollongong
  • Academic Excellence Award, International House, University of Wollongong
  • Australian Rail CRC Ph.D. Scholarships
  • Taiwan's Government (ROC.) Fellowships
  • TRF Senior Research Scholar Assistantships
  • International Cooperative Exchange Student, SUT-CQU

Teaching

Teaching Programmes

  • BEng/MEng Civil and Railway Engineering
    • Module Leader for Railway Infrastructure Engineering
    • Module Leader for Structural Engineering 3
  • MSc in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration (Infrastructure Module)
  • MSc in Structural Engineering and Practice
  • Civil Engineering research projects
  • Management research projects
  • Integrated design projects

Postgraduate supervision

Zac is interested in supervising both undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in the following areas:

  • design, construction, inspection, operation and maintenance of civil and rail infrastructure system
  • train/track interface and interaction
  • railway and permanent way engineering; structural dynamics, reliability and resilience
  • shock/blast and impact
  • transportation systems
  • risks, economics, strategy, systems and urbanisation

If you are interested in studying any of these subject areas or related to the research theme below please contact Zac via e-mail. High school students interested in work experience program are also welcome.

SUPERVISION AND CO-SUPERVISION OF RESEARCH STUDENTS

Steve Krezo (PhD Candidate): “Carbon footprints in railway construction and maintenance”, University of Western Sydney, Australia.

Ali Wasfe (PhD Candidate): “Bridges maintenance decision making based on safety risk assessment”, the University of Birmingham, UK.

Shengrun Shi (PhD Candidate): “Online structural integrity monitoring of rails and sleepers using acoustic emission”, the University of Birmingham, UK, joint supervision with Dr Mayorkinos Papaelias.

Serdar Dindar (PhD Candidate): “Derailment risk management, monitoring and mitigation on railway turnout systems ”, the University of Birmingham, UK.

James Bayley (MEng Student): “Dynamic finite element simulation of under sleeper pads in high speed rail environment ”, the University of Birmingham, UK – IStructE Best Student Award.

Adam Azzoug (MEng Student): “RideComfort – the use of smart phones in measuring train ride quality”, the University of Birmingham, UK.

Maaninder Singh (MEng Student): “Self-monitoring and sustainable concrete”, the University of Birmingham, UK.

Leena Sazrul (MSc student): ‘Impact of climate change on the operational readiness of the high speed rail in Malaysia’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015), joint supervision with Dr David Jaroszweski.

Muhammad Ishak (MSc student): ‘Risk-based maintenance of railway turnout systems’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015).

Simiao Xu (MSc student): ‘Large-amplitude free vibration of spider web structures with imperfections’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015).

Tianyu Yang (MSc student): ‘Large-amplitude free vibration of spider web structures’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015).

Dan Li (MSc student): ‘Creep and shrinkage effects in railway prestressed concrete sleepers’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015).

Yikai Wang (MSc student): ‘Derailment-resistant design of composite rail track slabs for high speed trains’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015).

COMPLETED RESEARCH STUDENTS

Leena Sazrul (MSc student): ‘Impact of climate change on the operational readiness of the high speed rail in Malaysia’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015), joint supervision with Dr David Jaroszweski.

Erosha Kahawatta Gamage (MSc student): “Structural design of holes and web openings in prestressed concrete sleepers”, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015).

Ola Akintoye (MSc student): “Smart sleepers for railway bridge ends”, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015).

Ratthaphong Meesit (MSc student): ‘Environment-Friendly Crumb Rubber Concrete for Railway Tracks’, the University of Birmingham, UK (2015) – Best Thesis Award and Best Student Performance Prize in MSc Railway Engineering and Integration.

Research

Research themes

Reliable and Resilient Transport Infrastructure towards Smart and Sustainable Urban Systems

Zac is a Chief Editor of Frontiers in Transportation and Transit Systems. He has been instrumental to over $4.5m research funding in Australia and Japan, and currently leads H2020 funded rail research partnership (Euro1.2m) linking European Universities with MIT, the University of Illinois, Southwest Jiaotong University, and University of Wollongong, focusing on rail infrastructure resilience and advanced monitoring. His research has been kindly sponsored by British Department for Transport, Japan Society of the Promotion of Science, BRIDGE Grant (The University of Birmingham and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), Global Challenges Alliance, and HiTech Rail (£2.3m European Regional Development Fund). Zac is a member of EU-Cost Actions:  TU1404 (TOWARDS THE NEXT GENERATION OF STANDARDS FOR SERVICE LIFE OF CEMENT-BASED MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES) and TU1409 (Mathematics for Industry Network).

 

Research activity 

  1. Smart material
    Advanced materials in civil construction and maintenance. Application of embedded sensors and dielectric materials in railway construction materials. Application and design of track components using new materials. Development of damped concrete and improvement of engineering properties of structural materials at nano-scale.
  2. Smart infrastructure
    Numerical modelling, field testing, full-scale laboratory testing of advanced structural systems, advanced sensors and instrumentation. Development of smart railway and transportation systems. Train/Track interaction and mitigation of the consequences (noise, vibration, ride quality).
  3. Risk, safety and reliability
    Evolution theory application in risk monitoring and management across railway functions. Engineering failure analysis of railway components and the development of their reliability-based design, inspection and maintenance.
  4. Complex socio-technical systems, connectivity, and mobility
    Analysis of externalities of high speed rail networks in social connectivity, integration and urbanisation. Enhanced utilisation of smart phones in monitoring customer experience in railway network. Data mining and cross-criteria analyses of social responses to transport infrastructure projects.
  5. Sustainability and life-cycle analysis
    Development of resilience-based design and inspection of railway infrastructure and assets to enhance climate change adaptation in railway and transport sectors. Improvement of carbon-efficient framework for railway construction and maintenance.

Previous involvements in research

As a steering committee member (or a research partner investigator) for Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Railway Innovation (RailCRC) in:

  • RailCRC Project 3.106 Ballast: effect of fouling and impact ($600k, 2008-2014), as Industry Chair (2013-2014)
  • RailCRC Project 1.105 Railway noise and vibration mitigation ($950k, 2008-2014)
  • RailCRC Project 3.102 Non-destructive testing of ballast fouling ($120k, 2008-2012)
  • RailCRC Project 3.105 Rail Squats Strategies ($550k, 2008-2012)
  • RailCRC Project 3.104 Rail corrugations ($200k, 2009-2012)
  • RailCRC Project 3.110 Rail lubrication best practice and curve wear ($250k, 2009-2012)
  • RailCRC Project AT9 Rail Short Pitch Irregularities ($150k, 2008-2010)

He carried out a large number of internal industry projects (2008-2014) for RailCorp, Sydney Trains, and Transport for NSW, including:

  • Ballast: effect of fouling and impact
  • NDT&E of ballast fouling
  • Rail squats/studs mitigation strategies
  • Rail short pitch irregularities
  • Railway noise and vibration mitigation
  • Rail corrugations
  • Rail lubrication best practice
  • Rail’s curve wear analysis
  • Concrete turnout bearers
  • Fibre-reinforced foamed urethane
  • Under sleeper pads
  • Monitoring of track condition index
  • Track stiffness and resiliency
  • Track pumping mitigation / Ballast glue
  • Dynamics of bridge ends / Ballast mat
  • Railway bridge-track interaction

Industry Research Projects (as a principal investigator, 2007-2008):

  • Development of instrumentations in railway track systems; Dynamic load distribution on railway tracks ($20k)
  • Dynamic rail track simulations; Fatigue analysis of prestressed concrete sleepers ($5k)
  • Feasibility of finite element analysis and design optimisation of prestressed concrete sleepers ($10k)
  • Non-destructive test and field assessment of prestressed concrete sleepers ($5k)
  • Planning of track test bed construction ($5k)

Other activities

  • External Examiner (PhD/MRes): The University of Sheffield, UK; Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Central Queensland University, Australia.
  • Editor Board Member of Structural Monitoring and Maintenance, Shock and Vibration, Journal of Structures, Scientific World Journal, and International Conference of Railway Technology.
  • Lead Guest Editor for Special Issue on Safety, reliability, risks and uncertainties in railway and transport systems, The Scientific World Journal (2014)
  • Session Chair, World Congress on Rail Research, Sydney Australia
  • International Expert Assessor & Rapporteur, Romania National Research Council’s Engineering Panel, Romania
  • Expert Grant Assessor, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (EU-Cost Action).
  • Member of EU-Cost Actions: TU1404 (TOWARDS THE NEXT GENERATION OF STANDARDS FOR SERVICE LIFE OF CEMENT-BASED MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES) and TU1409 (Mathematics for Industry Network).
  • Committee Member, Concrete Society West Midlands, the UK (2015-present).
  • Member, Industrial Advisory Committee for QUT Master of Rail Infrastructure Engineering Program, School of Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Member, Organising Committee for Mentoring Program, Centre for Engineering Management and Leaderships (CELM), Sydney, Australia
  • Deputy Chair and Member, External Industrial Advisory Committee, School of Engineering, University of Western Sydney, Australia (2009-2012)
  • Guest Lecturer, Rail Design and Construction, School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering, University of Wollongong, Australia (September 2010)
  • Guest Lecturer, Rail Civil Engineering Course, RailCorp, Sydney, Australia
  • Interviewer, Interview and Evaluation Panel for Chartered Professional Engineer Status in Civil and Structural Disciplines, Engineers Australia, Sydney
  • Reviewer and assessor for International Journal of Experimental Mechanics; Journal of Sound and Vibration; Engineering Structures; ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering; ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering; Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Part B: Eng Manufacture; Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Part C: Mechanical Science Eng; Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Part F: Rail and Rapid Transit; Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering; Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Structures and Building; Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Transport; Journal of Zhejiang University Part A Science and Engineering; IES Journal Part A: Civil and Structural Engineering; Engineers Australia’s Transport Engineering in Australia Journal; Engineers Australia’s Australian Journal of Mechanical Engineering; World Journal of Applied Mechanics; Transportation Geomechanics; Materials; PCI Journals, Prestressed Concrete Institute; Proceedings of 20th Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials; Proceedings of 2012 Conference on Railway Engineering; World University Ranking 2008/09/10, Times Higher Education Supplement.

 

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Alawad, HAH & Kaewunruen, S 2021, '5G intelligence underpinning railway safety in the COVID-19 era', Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 7, 639753. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2021.639753

Rungskunroch, P, Jack, A & Kaewunruen, S 2021, 'Benchmarking on railway safety performance using Bayesian inference, decision tree and petri-net techniques based on long-term accidental data sets', Reliability Engineering and System Safety, vol. 213, 107684. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ress.2021.107684

Sresakoolchai, J & Kaewunruen, S 2021, 'Detection and severity evaluation of combined rail defects using deep learning', Vibration, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 341-356. https://doi.org/10.3390/vibration4020022

Kaewunruen, S, Sresakoolchai, J, Ma, W & Phil-Ebosie, O 2021, 'Digital twin aided vulnerability assessment and risk-based maintenance planning of bridge infrastructures exposed to extreme conditions', Sustainability (Switzerland), vol. 13, no. 4, 2051. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042051

Ngamkhanong, C, Feng, B, Tutumluer, E, Hashash, YMA & Kaewunruen, S 2021, 'Evaluation of lateral stability of railway tracks due to ballast degradation', Construction and Building Materials, vol. 278, 122342. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2021.122342

Rungskunroch, P, Shen, Z-J & Kaewunruen, S 2021, 'Getting it right on the policy prioritisation for rail decarbonisation: evidence from whole-life CO2e emissions of railway systems', Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 7, 638507. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2021.638507

Ngamkhanong, C, Kaewunruen, S & Baniotopoulos, C 2021, 'Influences of ballast degradation on railway track buckling', Engineering Failure Analysis, vol. 122, 105252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.engfailanal.2021.105252

Huang, X, Zhang, J, Sresakoolchai, J & Kaewunruen, S 2021, 'Machine learning aided design and prediction of environmentally friendly rubberised concrete', Sustainability (Switzerland), vol. 13, no. 4, 1691. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041691

Kaewunruen, S, Sresakoolchai, J & Thamba, A 2021, 'Machine learning aided identification of train weights from railway sleeper vibration', Insight - Non-Destructive Testing and Condition Monitoring, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 151-159. https://doi.org/10.1784/insi.2021.63.3.151

Kaewunruen, S, Sresakoolchai, J & Zhu, G 2021, 'Machine learning aided rail corrugation monitoring for railway track maintenance', Structural Monitoring and Maintenance, An International Journal.

Ngamkhanong, C, Kaewunruen, S & Baniotopoulos, C 2021, 'Nonlinear buckling instabilities of interspersed railway tracks', Computers & Structures, vol. 249, 106516. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compstruc.2021.106516

Khairul Anuar, MAR, Ngamkhanong, C, Wu, Y & Kaewunruen, S 2021, 'Recycled aggregates concrete compressive strength prediction using Artificial Neural Networks (ANNS)', Infrastructures, vol. 6, no. 2, 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6020017

Conference contribution

Sresakoolchai, J & Kaewunruen, S 2021, Integration of building information modeling (BIM) and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect combined defects of infrastructure in the railway system. in Proceedings of VCDRR 2021. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, Springer Nature, Virtual Conference on DISASTER RISK REDUCTION , 15/03/21.

Kaewunruen, S, Nishinomiya, Y & Hosoda, M 2021, Keynote lecture: vulnerability of interspersed railway tracks exposed to flood and washaway conditions. in Proceedings of VCDRR 2021. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, Springer Nature, Virtual Conference on DISASTER RISK REDUCTION , 15/03/21.

Rungskunroch, P, Jack, A & Kaewunruen, S 2021, Risk and resilience of railway infrastructure: an assess-ment on uncertainties of rail accidents to improve risk and resilience through long-term data analysis. in Proceedings of VCDRR 2021. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, Springer Nature, Virtual Conference on DISASTER RISK REDUCTION , 15/03/21.

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