Professor Frank Collins is based at the Institute for Frontier Materials. His focus is cement-based construction materials, durability, and sustainability of built infrastructure. He is the Director of ACID, the Australian Centre for Infrastructure Durability. His role for ACID is fostering collaboration between universities to streamline access by government and industry to the most relevant researchers and facilities to the durability of built infrastructure.
His career has been different to most academics, including 19 years as a Chartered Professional Engineer. His grounding in durability of construction materials began when working with Harold Roper at the University of Sydney in the early 1980’s. This led to 13 years work with Taywood Engineering Ltd in their London, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne offices; involved with diagnosis and rehabilitation of infrastructure and applications of construction materials. In 1988, Frank was Lead Materials Engineer in the Sydney Opera House rehabilitation programme which entailed diagnosis of the roof shell elements and substructure, and development of remedial and preventative maintenance works.
In 1995, Frank established the Bridge Testing and Rehabilitation Unit within the Ministry of Transport, Vietnam, allowing the Ministry to become self-sufficient in the management of bridge assets.
During 1997-99, Frank undertook his PhD research at Monash University, an industry-funded project that developed preblended alkali-activated cements as an alternative to conventional Portland cements – from microstructure to large-scale construction concrete mixtures. It was the forerunner to are now termed “geopolymers”.
He then joined AECOM (Maunsell) and over 7 years as Technical Director he established and managed AECOM's Advanced Materials Group, including technical and commercial leadership, and provided high-level advice on many international infrastructure projects.
Before joining Deakin University in July 2015, he was Head of Structures, Department of Civil Engineering at Monash University. He has keen research interest in the areas of durability and ageing of built infrastructure; utilisation of wastes as alternative construction materials; and improved construction materials for durable and stronger infrastructure (e.g. carbon nanotube-cement composities).