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Long-term performance of concretes exposed to severe environments

Project Description

This PhD studentship is co-sponsored by EPSRC and Highways England. In the UK, 50% of the annual infrastructure budget is allocated its maintenance, repair and replacement. With the projected new infrastructure (£480Bn by 2025), it is imperative to improve and predict the resilience of construction materials. A critical threat to concrete is carbon dioxide, which is present in the atmosphere at record levels. When CO2 enters concrete it reacts, a phenomenon known as carbonation. This leads to corrosion of steel reinforcement as well as changes in the integrity of the cement, accelerating damage particularly when coupled with extreme wintery weather.

This project aims to evaluate performance of structural concretes when subjected to loading in combination with carbonation and/or freeze-thaw, as a new approach to simulate realistic in-service conditions. Specific objectives are to (i) define equivalent performance between different concrete chemistries, (ii) develop integrated assessment methods linking the microstructure of concretes to their performance; and (ii) create new conformity durability criteria of concretes when assessed under realistic simulated conditions.

The successful applicant will work in the UKCRIC Centre for Infrastructure Materials at the University of Leeds. You will have access to brand new laboratories for the development, characterisation and performance assessment of cementitious materials, including access to our own spectroscopy and microscopy facilities including a unique X-ray microtomography instrument for in-situ monitoring of pore structure changes and microcraking under controlled environments (e.g. temperature, gas atmosphere, humidity). Likewise you will enjoy a 3 months internship working alongside the Research and Development team at Highways England, the government-owned company charged with operating, maintaining and improving England’s motorways and major A roads.

Funding Notes

A competitive EPSRC CASE award studentship consisting of academic fees (£4,600 in Session 2020/21), together with a maintenance grant (£19,000 in Session 2020/21). UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.

How good is research at University of Leeds in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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