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Low-carbon cements! Can they work under pressure?

   Department of Materials Science and Engineering

  Dr Theodore Hanein  Sunday, July 31, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The challenges facing clean economic growth in the UK include industrial decarbonisation and improving resource efficiency. Cement is essential for the development of infrastructure, but its manufacture is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions, while every kilogram of conventional cement clinker consumes 1.6 kilogram of natural resources. Given the very large demand for cement (4 billion tonnes per year globally), these activities are damaging our planet.

At the University of Sheffield (TUoS), we are currently enabling the manufacture of novel low-carbon cements in the UK from industrial waste materials. However, there are some performance (durability, mechanical, rheological) issues that need to be addressed.

The proposed PhD project will assess the durability of belite-rich calcium sulfoaluminate cement produced from waste materials, i.e., containing minor amounts of unconventional constituents. Durability aspects including 1) chloride and carbonation attack, 2) leaching, and 3) alkali silica reaction will be tested in accelerated and natural environments for up to two years. The physical properties of hardened cement and concrete will also be assessed. The candidate will be expected to carry out dimensional stability, strength, and porosity measurements as well as rheological properties such as workability, and setting time of the fresh concrete, while using chemical additives to control performance.

We are looking to recruit a graduate with a first or high 2.1 class honours degrees with a background in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, civil engineering, earth sciences, or a related discipline. Experience in cement and concrete materials is particularly beneficial. Familiarity in relevant characterisation techniques, e.g., X-ray diffraction and fluorescence, scanning electron microscopy, or other solid-state, thermal, or solution analysis methods would also be desirable but not essential.

The PhD student will join a dynamic team of researchers based in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at TUoS to develop research and innovation for low-carbon cement and concrete.  MSE at TUoS is a globally leading research centre in the innovation and development of materials to resolve global challenges. MSE houses state-of-the-art facilities that allow fundamental materials science to be translated to future materials manufacturing technologies. We are an equal opportunity organisation and value diversity in all its forms at our university

This studentship is part of a larger project “Green, Circular, and Smart Cement Manufacture” in collaboration with industrial partners. The PhD student must be able and willing to work in a diverse team. The student is also expected to have a 6-month research visit at the University of Leeds.

Funding Notes

This studentship will pay Home tuition fees and a stipend for living expenses for 3.5 years at the RCUK rate. Settled EU and other nationals may be eligible for Home-student fees.
Students with overseas fees status can apply, but if accepted, they will need to separately fund the difference in fees between International and Home students.
Start Date is September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.
To apply: View Website
Include the name of the supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.

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