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University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

Smart stone construction technology

Civil Engineering

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Dr A Tomor Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Current civil engineering projects, for example housing or infrastructure are primarily led by construction costs and speed. Low-cost construction however often results in low-quality with high maintenance costs and large environmental impact during the life of the structure.

During the history stone buildings and infrastructure have proved to be the most sustainable and resilient out of all structures with the longest life expectancy and lowest maintenance costs. Their initial construction costs may be somewhat higher (ca. 30-50%), however their maintenance costs and environmental impact are around 60% lower than other materials. Stone structures also retain their economic value far better than other structures and create additional value for the locality, making them economically viable options.
They are however not used for mainstream construction at the present.

The vision for the project is to combine digital technology with the well-established benefits of stone (sustainability, low-life cycle costs, resilience) and reintroduce stone into mainstream construction. ‘Digital Stone’ will be the most advanced and sustainable construction method with a wide range of new opportunities.

The project is looking to develop digital solutions for smart stone and automated site construction for housing and infrastructure. By combining sensor technology, robotics and bioengineering, the stone will be able to sense, react and communicate with asset owners. It will also enable automated remote-controlled site construction.
The exact topic for the PhD can be adjusted to the background and interest of the applicant. Research will be carried out in strong collaboration with industrial partners and research findings are expected to be passed on to the construction industry to develop new products and processes.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.)

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