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PhD position - Chemo-hydro-mechanical response of carbonatable cement binders

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Ref: InnovaXN_31_ILL


Places of work :
- Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France

Contract type: Contract, start on 2020-09-07.

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

Project title: Towards neutral carbon building materials: Chemo-hydro-mechanical response of carbonatable binders through coupled X-ray and neutron high resolution imaging and modeling.

The aim of the PhD project is to study the spatial and temporal evolution of saturation and density profiles of novel, recently developed cement binders. The overarching aim is the reduction of the environmental impact of building constructions and notably their CO2 budget. These novel binders are in fact characterized by CO2-consuming reaction processes, while having long-term mechanical and durability properties similar to standard cement-based materials.

This promising new technology requires experimental and numerical investigations, which are so far limited to macroscopic measurements. Neutron and X-ray imaging lend themselves as ideal probes for capturing and understanding the involved mechanisms. The thesis revolves around the acquisition of full field data and the quantification of the underlying processes. These will serve as an input for the development of chemo-hydric models (analytical or Finite Element ones) essential to the understanding and ensuing optimization of the process. The expected outcome consists in the understanding and optimisation of CO2 absorbing cement, a first, pivotal step in the ongoing effort to reach the carbon neutrality of concrete production.

The successful candidate will join NeXT/ID19’s team at the ILL/ESRF, leading Neutron and X-rays imaging beamlines.
Further information may be obtained from Matthieu Briffaut (UGA) ()

- Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in Civil engineering, materials science, or closely related science (i.e. physics and/or chemistry)
- A background in experimentation is desirable, and knowledge of cement chemistry and scientific imaging would be an advantage
- Manual skills and rigorous attention to detail are essential in this work environment
- Proficiency in English (A proof of upper-intermediate level must be included in the application. Applicants originating from native-English-speaking countries can apply without the need for proof of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof). French speaking can also be useful for everydays life but is not a necessity.
- Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
- At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
- Candidates must satisfy the conditions for enrollment in a doctoral program.

More details about the application procedure on

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of (University Grenoble Alpes) and based full-time at the ESRF and/or ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 3-month secondment at LafargeHolcim Innovation Center (Saint Quentin Fallavier near Lyon). Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training program will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

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