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PhD Studentship in Microstructure and durability of concrete prepared using new multi component low-carbon cements

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  • Full or part time
    Dr H Wong
    Prof C Cheeseman
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The industrially viable approach to low-carbon sustainable concrete is to replace a portion of Portland cement with waste-derived supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) such as pulverised fuel ash from coal fired power stations and ground granulated blastfurnace slag from steel manufacturing. However, there are current practical limits to the amount of Portland cement that can be replaced without causing undesirable effects to the performance of concrete.

This research concerns the development of new multi-component cements that contain very high levels of Portland cement replaced with SCM. The SCM will consist of unique blends of pulverised fly ash, ground granulated blastfurnace slag, limestone filler and other materials to induce synergistic effects that could improve concrete performance. The aim of this study is to fundamentally understand how such high clinker replacements influence the hydration kinetics, microstructure development and the performance of concrete containing the multi-component cements. The research will: a) carry out detailed microstructure characterisation using quantitative microscopy and other analytical techniques to study reaction mechanisms, hydration products and pore structure; b) assess the mechanical properties, volumetric stability, mass transport properties and resistance against common degradation mechanisms; c) assess the effect of water/binder ratio and the aggregate-paste interfacial transition zone on long-term durability; d) evaluate the potential applications and eco-efficiency of concrete made from these cements.

The project will be experimental based, using an approach that combines a range of advanced materials characterization techniques to gain fundamental scientific understanding of the relationship between cement composition and properties of the hardened concrete. A successful outcome of the project is the development of a new class of optimised low-carbon cement for durable and sustainable concrete structures. The research will also contribute to the development of performance-based design and predictive modelling of concrete performance containing such cements.

Funding Notes

Funding is available for applicants with settled UK status (see https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/ for eligibility). The studentship offers a stipend of approximately £16,000 per annum (tax free) and covers fees at the UK/EU student rate for a period of four years.


Review of application is now in progress and will continue until suitable candidate is identified.

How good is research at Imperial College London in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 56.60

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

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