About the Project
This project aims to understand the effect of various chemical and physical nano-environments (e.g., pH, relative humidity, SOx, O2) on the formation mechanisms of corrosion-resistant oxide films in embedded steel reinforcement of alkali-activated materials, produced with near neutral salts. Specific objectives are to: (i) determine the phase assemblage (type and amount), chemistry and mineralogy, as well as porous network of oxide films forming in steels under controlled environments, and when embedded in near neutral salts activated materials; (ii) elucidate the factors influencing the stability of oxide films as a function of the chemical changes experienced by near neutral salt activated materials, at different extents of reaction; and (iii) reveal the existing correlations between the oxide film characteristics and the electrochemical responses of steel in conditions relevant to reinforced concretes.
The successful applicant will achieve these objectives by accessing the state-of-the-art unique facilities available in the Bragg Centre of Materials Research, the UKCRIC National Centre of Infrastructure Materials and the Institute for Functional Surfaces. This includes in-situ microscopy (i.e. computerized tomography, cryo-scanning transmission electron microscopy), advanced environmental spectroscopy (i.e., photoelectron spectroscopy), and bespoke electrochemical devices and electrochemistry facilities. Synchrotron-based techniques (imaging, spectroscopy and diffraction) available at the Diamond Light Source will also be used in this study.
This research project will be conducted in the University of Leeds, and the supervisory team comprises senior academics with expertise in materials science and surface engineering, internationally recognised as world-leading researchers in the design, advanced characterisation and performance assessment of cementitious materials, as well as for corrosion studies of metals for energy and infrastructure applications.
This opportunity is open to all applicants, with a small number of awards for Non-UK applicants limited by UKRI to 1. All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Bragg Centre Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.
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