We use materials science to develop novel cements using nanoparticles, graphene, geopolymers, bacterially mediated systems and 3D printing. We work from the atomic scale to full-scale structures by incorporating novel sensing technologies into building materials. These include photonic crystals, graphene, wireless sensors and hybrid optical fibre-geopolymer systems. We predict material degradation in historic buildings and nuclear infrastructure using a holistic approach which combines field work, lab work and hydrological modelling. This group is also currently conducting research in the areas of composite materials and atomistic crack modelling in concrete. We used advanced techniques such as atomic force microscopy, synchrotron x-ray methods and X-ray computed tomography. Our laboratory features a new £1M X-ray tomography instrument which includes a cell for 4D in situ compression, heating/cooling and fluid flow. This customised instrument design is ideal for building materials and oil and gas rocks.
Our research projects
Fracture modelling of building materials
This research is focused on the fracture property of building materials and the durability issues of civil structures/infrastructures, looking at the fundamental problems of fracture mechanics as well as its engineering applications. We model cracking initiation and propagation in brittle, quasi-brittle and plastic building materials, and cracking caused deterioration and structural failure.