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PhD position - Towards neutral carbon building materials - Ref: XN_31_ILL_2019

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Dr M Briffaut No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The European Synchrotron, the ESRF, is an international research centre based in Grenoble, France.

Through its innovative engineering, pioneering scientific vision and a strong commitment from its 700 staff members, the ESRF is recognised as one of the top research facilities worldwide. Its particle accelerator produces intense X-ray beams that are used by thousands of scientists each year for experiments in diverse fields such as biology, medicine, environmental sciences, cultural heritage, materials science, and physics.

Supported by 22 countries, the ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity.

Project Title: Towards neutral carbon building materials: Chemo-hydro-mechanical response of cement paste carbonation through coupled X-ray and neutron high resolution imaging and modelling in recycled concrete aggregates The aim of the PhD project is to bring local and quantitative experimental evidence about the spatial and temporal evolution of saturation and density profiles during cement paste carbonation. With the aim of reducing building constructions environmental footprint, novel processing methods of recycled concrete aggregates are maximizing CO2 uptake reactions, while ensuring long-term mechanical and durability properties of second generation concretes.

This promising new technology is nonetheless in need of experimental 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 expected outcome consists in the development of chemo-hydric models (analytical or Finite Element ones) essential to the understanding and ensuring optimization of the process. This first step is pivotal in the ongoing effort to reach the carbon neutrality of concrete production.

The successful candidate will join D50/ID19's team at the ILL/ESRF. Beamlines D50 and ID19 allow performing Neutron and X-rays imaging.

Further information may be obtained from Matthieu Briffaut (UGA) () and Bruno Huet (LHIC) ().

- 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

- 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 would be advantageous and can be provided 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; Students without proof upper-intermediate level may still apply and their level of English will be checked during the interview). French speaking can also be useful for everyday 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 programme

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 ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 3-month secondment at Lafarge/Holcim (Saint Quentin Fallavier near Lyon). Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

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