Effect of accelerated carbonation on the microstructure of lime-stabilised earth bricks

   Institute for Sustainability

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  Dr Taghried Abdelmagid, Dr Chris Ritchie  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Bath Institute for Sustainability inviting applications for the following PhD project which is part of a joint PhD programme between the University of Bath and Monash University in Australia. 

This project is one of a number that are in competition for up to four funded studentships. 

Home institution: University of Bath

Supervisor(s) at Bath: Dr Taghried Abdelmagid

Supervisor(s) at Monash: Dr Chris Ritchie

Earth bricks have been used for decades in the construction industry, both in an unfired and fired versions, where the unfired units can reduce, by up to 90%, the embodied energy and carbon compared to the fired ones. While they have great potential in preserving humidity in the structure at around 60% throughout the year, unfired units lag behind modern construction materials in their strength and water resistance. Hence, to improve their durability, stabilisation is introduced.

Stabilised earth units are manufactured by mixing soil with a binder/stabiliser such as Portland cement or lime. This can increase strength and/or durability, reduce permeability and water absorption, and minimise shrinkage. Stabilisation with Portland cement is more fitting to sandy soils while lime is more suitable for clayey ones. Lime reacts with clay minerals to form products that improve the brick’s properties.

Some studies showed the promising carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration properties of clay. Some other studies worked on creating powdered carbonated lime with sequestered CO2. That, along with the carbonation of lime, has the possibility of enhancing the environmental benefits of using lime-stabilised clay bricks, as well as affecting their water permeability, shrinkage and their durability.

In this study we will expose the stabilising bricks to a varying concentration of CO2, to investigate CO2 sequestration in clay, changes to the lime’s speed of hydration, changes to pore structure resulting from the range of chemical reactions involved, and ultimately the macroscopic properties of the brick. 

 To apply:

We invite applications from Science and Engineering graduates who have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class degree and have a strong interest in Sustainable & Circular Technologies. 

You need to express an interest in three projects in order of preference. 

Please submit your application to the Home institution of your preferred project.  You should note, however, that you are applying for a joint PhD programme and applications will be processed as such.

If this is your preferred project, apply using the relevant Bath online application form.


When completing the application form, please:

1.      In the Funding your studies section, select ‘Bath-Monash Studentship’ as the studentship for which you are applying.

2.      In the Your PhD project section, quote the project title of this project and the name of the lead supervisor in the appropriate boxes. 

More information on applying to Bath may be found here.

If the Home institution of your preferred project is Monash, apply here.

Enquiries about the application process should be sent to [Email Address Removed].

Studentship eligibility

Funding for Bath-based projects, such as the one advertised here, is available to candidates who qualify for Home fee status only. In determining Home student status, we follow the UK government’s fee regulations and guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).  Further information may also be found within the university’s fee status guidance.

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for Home fees and funding.

 Funding for Monash-based projects is available to candidates of any nationality.  

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

Bath Monash PhD studentships include tuition fee sponsorship and a living allowance (stipend) for up to 42 months maximum. Note, however, that studentships for Bath-based projects will provide cover for Home tuition fees ONLY. See the ‘Studentship eligibility’ section above. Non-Australian nationals studying in Australia will be required to pay their own Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
Additional and suitably qualified applicants who can access a scholarship/studentship from other sources will be also considered.

Where will I study?

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