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Low-To-Zero-Carbon (LTZC) cements for the 21st century.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M S Imbabi
    Prof F P Glasser
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

A team of researchers at the University of Aberdeen has developed novel Precipitated Magnesium Carbonate (PMC) cements and products from desalination brine. They subsequently developed a novel process to selectively precipitate high value Precipitated Calcium Carbonates (PCCs), PMC and other useful carbonates from stack CO2 emissions and formation brines.

The aim of the proposed PhD studentship is methodical development, characterisation and use of new environmentally friendly carbonate­based cements for construction and other applications.

Worldwide, cement powers a £1 trillion industry that employs around 30 million workers. In 2015 the annual production of cement was estimated at 4.1 billion metric tonnes (USGS Mineral Commodities Summary, March 2016). The corresponding annual production of concrete, the most used construction material in the world, is around 12.9 billion metric tonnes. To put this in perspective, we produce approximately 1.6 metric tonnes of concrete for every man, woman and child on earth today.

We seek an independent and highly motivated individual to work in association with the ‘Constructing Excellence: Materials, Efficiency, New Technologies, Sustainability’ (CEMENTS) Project. The focus of the work will be to investigate, develop and test new Low­To­Zero-Carbon (LTZC) cements, based on CO2 capture and mineralisation, for the construction and refurbishment of buildings and the built environment. The work defines one of several key research challenges of the CEMENTS Project, which additionally encompasses the investigation and development of efficient alkali-activated cements, advanced pyro-processing of novel calcium sulfoaluminate cements, standards and procedures for in-situ NMR characterisation of porosity, pore water and shrinkage, reliable durability testing of long-term performance, accelerated durability test methods, and validated ‘beyond carbon’ sustainability assessment of products.

The successful candidate will be based in Aberdeen but will travel occasionally to work with our partners and service providers. He / she will join a large, internationally leading multi-disciplinary research team working at the forefront of sustainable construction and materials research.

The CEMENTS Project brings together researchers from the University of Aberdeen (UoA), Dundee University (DU), the University of Sheffield (UoS), Leeds University (LU), Imperial College London (ICL) and Surrey University (SU).

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, civil engineering or other relevant engineering or materials science discipline.

Essential background: Demonstrable ability of working independently on own initiative and in a team environment; Good organisational skills, with a track record of working effectively with collaborative partners and academic colleagues.

Knowledge of - Basic knowledge in two or more of the following research areas: process engineering, the thermodynamics and kinetics of chemical processes, cement and concrete materials and products (including applicable standards), the microstructure of cementitious materials, and different material characterisation methods and tools.

Funding Notes

This project is for self-funded students only. There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to pay Tuition Fees and living expenses, from their own resources, for the duration of study.


1. FP Glasser, G Jauffret, J Morrison, JL Galvez-Martos, N Patterson, MS Imbabi, Sequestering CO2 by mineralization into useful nesquehonite-based products, Frontiers in Energy Research (IF 1.52), 4, 3, 2016.
2. G Jauffret, J Morrison, FP Glasser, JL Galvez-Martos, S Yoon, MS Imbabi, Utilisation of Magnesium Hydroxy-Carbonate Hydrate (MHCH) materials formed by precipitation of CO2 in alkaline aqueous solutions, Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Accelerated Carbonation for Environmental and Material Engineering - ACEME 2015, New York, 21-24 June, 2015.
3. S Yoon, I Galan, K Celik, FP Glasser and MS Imbabi, Characterization of Micro-Pore Structure in Novel Cement Matrices, Proceedings of the Materials Research Society Spring Meeting 2014, San Francisco, CA, Vol 1712, April 2014.


This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Engineering. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing.

NOTE CLEARLY THE NAME OF THE SUPERVISOR AND EXACT PROJECT TITLE YOU WISH TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ON THE APPLICATION FORM. Applicants are limited to applying for a maximum of 2 projects. Any further applications received will be automatically withdrawn.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr M Imbabi ([email protected] with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

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

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