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Emerging technologies for lime in construction (RDF17-R/ABE/PESCE)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr G Pesce  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Since antiquity, lime has been used as a binder for manufacturing mortars, plasters, floors, etc. This led to the accumulation of a large empirical knowledge, allowing the construction of amazing structures such as the dome of the Pantheon in Rome, in the 2nd century CE. However, with the introduction of cement in the 19th century, the use of lime in construction dramatically reduced, and most of the related knowledge went lost.

Cement is a great material and in fact is widely used in the modern society. However, our society faces the need to reduce its carbon footprint and since the cement carbon footprint is larger than lime, this material is now considered a viable alternative to cement for specific applications.

Unfortunately, despite this interest and the long history, because of the limited knowledge currently available and the empirical nature of it, there is still a lack of fundamental understanding for some of the physical, mechanical and chemical characteristics of lime when is used in mixtures.

This studentship aims to advance our scientific knowledge of lime in construction, by exploring one of the aspects of its production and use not yet fully understood (e.g. emerging technologies for modelling chemical reactions in mortars, new uses of lime in the new constructions and/or in the conservation of historic buildings, innovative production processes).

The ideal candidate for this studentship will have:
- a interest in lime as construction material;
- a basic knowledge of the chemistry of lime (and the interest in developing this knowledge further);
- an interest in experimental work within laboratories of civil engineering and/or chemistry;
- a minimum of upper second class honours degree or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities (preference for 1st class honours) in disciplines such as conservation sciences, civil engineering, material science, chemistry, architecture, surveying.
- A Master’s Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered advantageous.
- Language proficiency (appropriate IELTS score, if required).

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.
Deadline for applications: 29 March 2018

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This project includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates for 2017/18 (for 2017/18 this is £14,553 pa) and fees, and are available to applicants worldwide.


Grant, James, Pesce, Giovanni, Ball, Richard, Molinari, M. and Parker, Stephen (2016) An experimental and computational study to resolve the composition of dolomitic lime. RSC Advances, 6 (19). pp. 16066-16072. ISSN 2046-2069

Serrapede, Mara, Pesce, Giovanni, Ball, Richard and Denuault, Guy (2014) Nanostructured Pd hydride microelectrodes:In situ monitoring of pH variations in a porous medium. Analytical Chemistry, 86 (12). pp. 5758-5765. ISSN 0003-2700

Pesce, Giovanni, Bowen, Chris, Rocha, João, Sardo, Mariana, Allen, Geoffrey, Walker, Pete, Denuault, Guy, Serrapede, M. and Ball, Richard (2014) Monitoring hydration in lime-metakaolin composites using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Clay Minerals, 49 (3). pp. 341-358. ISSN 0009-8558

Pesce, Giovanni, Morgan, Deborah, Odgers, David, Henry, Alison, Allen, Mollie and Ball, Richard(2013) Consolidation of weathered limestone using nanolime. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Construction Materials, 166 (4). pp. 213-228. ISSN 1747-650X

Ball, Richard, Pesce, Giovanni, Bowen, Chris and Allen, Geoffrey (2012) Characterisation of Lime/Metakaolin Paste Using Impedance Spectroscopy. Key Engineering Materials, 517. pp. 487-494. ISSN 1662-9795
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