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Calcined clays as a reactive alternative to fly ash as a binder in Portland cement concrete

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, November 14, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

A fully-funded PhD studentship in partnership with BRE Trust is available to study the use of naturally occurring clays as reactive (pozzolanic) materials for low carbon cement production. The project will examine the availability, mineralogy, and chemistry of clays in the United Kingdom, analysed by a range of classical and instrumental techniques. These will be thermally activated and their reactivity towards alkalis examined. These materials will be used to produce blended cements and their properties examined to establish their hydration properties, strength and durability. Ultimately, these materials will be used to produce mortars and concretes and their utility as engineering materials explored. The project will consider the sustainability of such materials, their role in carbon footprint reduction along with their performance in a range of service environments.

The project is largely focused on the material science aspects of these cements and would suit graduates in materials or earth sciences, chemistry or civil engineering, although enthusiastic applicants from other disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Candidates with some experience of research will be at an advantage. This project will be guided by experts both from industry and collaborating universities but without any commercial restrictions on the research.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD

• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
• a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

For further details see:

The following are desirable but not essential

• An interest in cement/concrete. Some experience with evaluating fresh and hardened concrete (flow/cohesion and compressive strength) desirable
• Assessment of mineralogy of inorganic materials (eg: instrumental methods) - or ability to learn this.
• Chemistry to A level or similar (for simple bench top chemistry/pozzolanicity tests)
• A first degree in materials science, earth sciences, chemistry, civil engineering degree or similar
• Ability to source and interpret data on availability of clays and commercial aspects/costs, CO2 impacts etc.

How to apply

To find out more about the project and to discuss your suitability to apply (particularly relating to those with professional experience in this field) please contact Professor Mark Tyrer.

To apply on line please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Duration of study: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: Applications complete with full supporting documentation must be received by November 14th 2019 by 4pm at the latest

Interview dates: The date of interview will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

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