Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Novel heated permeable concrete infrastructure for the built environment

   Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Alalea Kia, Dr David Taborda  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Primary supervisor, Imperial College London: Dr. Alalea Kia

Co-supervisor, Imperial College London: Dr. David M G Taborda


Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship investigating the heat transfer through permeable concrete infrastructure using innovative laboratory experimentation, numerical modelling and large-scale field sites. The PhD student will use state-of-the-art bespoke test rigs and multi-scale numerical modelling to quantify the performance of this heated infrastructure. This work will enable efficient ice/snow removal in a cost effective and sustainable manner to improve safety of our major concrete infrastructure, including cycleways, highways, railways and airports.

The PhD will be based in the new Materials Section of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Skempton Building, South Kensington Campus). You will be supervised by Dr Alalea Kia (a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow) and Dr David Taborda (Senior Lecturer), in addition to working closely with field leading academic and industrial collaborators.

Project details:

Concrete infrastructure are vulnerable to disruptions caused by hydroplaning, ice and snow. The current methods for preventing ice/snow build-up are detrimental to the environment or have been shown to damage infrastructure surfaces, leading to significant maintenance costs and putting society at risk if such damage goes undetected. Infrastructure operators have expressed a strong desire to utilise permeable concrete technology as a means of keeping pavements clear.

Permeable concrete pavements drain surface water, enabling storm water to pass through otherwise impermeable infrastructure. However, the frequent maintenance required due to premature clogging, which degrades performance and service life, would be difficult to perform for active infrastructure. Most importantly, conventional permeable concrete pavements have low strength, making them unsuited for infrastructure use. A next generation clogging resistant permeable concrete pavement (CRP, also referred to as Kiacrete) has been developed which is capable of addressing all of these issues ( The aim of this PhD project is to test the viability and efficiency of incorporating different heating systems in transferring heat through CRP using: i) novel test rigs, ii) small and large scale numerical modelling and iii) large-scale field sites.

Academic requirements and experience:

• A good Upper Second or First Class Degree (or international equivalent) in an Engineering subject. 

• A Masters level degree qualification.

• Laboratory experience ideal, but not necessary.

• Experience in numerical modelling approaches and software (SOLIDWORKS, ABAQUS, OpenFOAM etc.) ideal, but not necessary.

• Strong interest in structures and materials research.

• Excellent English communication skills.

How to apply:

Applicants are recommended to contact Dr Alalea Kia ([Email Address Removed]) for further details, informal discussions and information about the project. 

Applicants wishing to be considered for this opportunity should send the following application documents to Dr Alalea Kia ([Email Address Removed]): 

1. Current CV including details of their academic record, and if possible, class ranking

2. Covering letter explaining their motivation, suitability, skills and/or experiences (1 page maximum)

3. Contact details of two academic referees

Application via the Imperial College Registry is not necessary at this stage. Applications will be regularly reviewed until the position is filled.

Administrative questions should be emailed to [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

The studentship will provide full funding for home and overseas students. The scholarship will provide 3 years tuition fee funding and a tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI London rate, ~£18,062 for the 2022/23 academic year, for 3.5 years.
PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs