Mortarless structures based on topological interlocking (a construction methodology developed at the UWA School of Engineering) are advantageous due to their flexibility, high fracture resistance and vibration damping. These structures are demountable and the blocks can be recycled. The absence of mortar as binder material will reduce the associated CO2 production.

Topological interlocking structures require installation of a peripheral constraint. This can be achieved by running post-tensioned cables trough the structure. Using the umbilicals for the post-tensioned cables can have an advantage of their use as power and data transmission lines.

The project aims at a feasibility study on the use of umbilicals as post-tensioned cables to provide constraint to topological interlocking structures and their capacity to simultaneously transmit power during structural loading. This will be achieved by assembling a beam based topological interlocking and bending testing with simultaneous measuring the transmission of the umbilicals.

The project involves: (1) manufacturing moulds and casting concrete blocks with holes for the cables; (2) assembling a beam with post-tensioned cables (3) testing the beam on bending simultaneously measuring tension of the cables and their electrical resistance; (4) finite element modelling of bending topological interlocking beam, determination bending and force in the cables and comparison the results with the experimental data.