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Durability of belitic calcium sulfoaluminate cements

Deadline: 30 September 2021

Location: University of Sheffield

Dr Theodore Hanein

The challenges facing clean economic growth in the UK include industrial decarbonisation and improving resource efficiency. Cement is essential for the development of infrastructure, but its manufacture is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions, while every kilogram of conventional cement clinker consumes 1.6 kilogram of natural resources; these activities are damaging our planet.

The traditionally employed cement is Portland cement (PC), whose manufacture emits ~0.85 kg CO2 per kg clinker. Calcium sulfoaluminate (CSA) based cements are a low-carbon alternative to PC, and CSA clinker manufacture can achieve ~35% reduction in CO2 emissions, by mass, depending on the clinker phase composition.

At the University of Sheffield (TUoS), we are currently enabling the manufacture of CSA based cement in the UK from industrial waste materials. However, there are some durability issues in CSA-based concretes (and the added effect of impurities from waste) that need to be addressed.

The proposed PhD project will assess the durability of belite-rich CSA cement produced from waste materials, i.e., containing minor amounts of unconventional constituents. Durability aspects including 1) chloride and carbonation attack, 2) leaching, and 3) alkali silica reaction will be tested in accelerated and natural environments for up to two years.

It is expected that some standard test methodologies will be followed as closely as possible while considering the application of the test methods to the materials being studied and also remaining aware of developments in performance-based standards that may be directly applicable to CSA cement chemistries. However, the PhD student will also be expected to develop a novel, relevant, and reliable methodology to rapidly assess chloride ingress in CSA cement and concrete.

We are looking to recruit a graduate with a first or high 2.1 class honours degrees with a background in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, civil engineering, earth sciences, or a related discipline. Experience in cement and concrete materials is particularly beneficial. Familiarity in relevant characterisation techniques, e.g., X-ray diffraction and fluorescence, scanning electron microscopy, or other solid-state, thermal, or solution analysis methods would also be desirable.

The PhD student will join a dynamic team of researchers based in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at TUoS to develop research and innovation for low-carbon cement and concrete. MSE at TUoS is a globally leading research centre in the innovation and development of materials to resolve global challenges. MSE houses state-of-the-art facilities that allow fundamental materials science to be translated to future materials manufacturing technologies. We are an equal opportunity organisation and value diversity in all its forms at our university

This studentship is part of a larger (£2.5M) project “Green, Circular, and Smart Cement Manufacture” led by Dr Theodore Hanein and in collaboration with six industrial partners. The PhD student must be able and willing to work in a diverse team. The student will work closely with the Cements@Sheffield group which is the UK’s leading cement science and engineering group (Scopus). The student is also expected to have a 6-month research visit at the University of Leeds.

Funding Notes

This studentship will pay tuition fees in full and a stipend for living expenses for 3.5 years. This stipend will be at the RCUK rate. Funding covers home tuition fees and annual maintenance payments for eligible UK applicants. Start Date of Studentship is 07 February 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. Please see this web link for information on how to apply and access the Postgraduate Online Application Form: View Website.

Further details available online

Published: August 12th, 2021
Posted in PhD opportunities

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