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Physical properties of belitic calcium sulfoaluminate cements with/out addition of calcined clay

Deadline: 30 September 2021

Location: University of Sheffield

Dr Theodore Hanein

Cement is the most manufactured product on the planet and is essential to the development of infrastructure and economy. However, manufacture of the generally employed Portland cement (PC) clinker is responsible for 8% of man-made CO2 emissions. Every year, the UK cement industry alone makes 7.8Mt of cement clinker which requires the extraction of 12.5Mt of natural resources from the Earth’s crust; these activities are compromising life on earth for future generations.

Calcium sulfoaluminate (CSA) based cements are an alternative that can achieve up to 35% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to PC, on a mass basis, when produced from virgin raw materials. The properties of CSA cements are often superior to those of PC and are therefore used in special applications such as fast-track rehabilitation of highways. Considering their savings in work-time and their higher performance, CO2 savings from CSA cement, compared to PC, are in fact greater.

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 performance characteristics of these CSA-based cements and concretes that are still unknown.

This PhD project will assess the physical properties of hardened belite-rich CSA cement and concrete produced from waste materials. You will be expected to carry out dimensional stability, compressive and flexural strength, and porosity measurements. You will also measure rheological properties, workability, and setting time of the fresh concrete, while using chemical additives to control performance.

Additionally, it is expected that you will formulate and test novel CSA-based cement blends with calcined clays, and other mineral additives, which can have superior physical properties and sustainability performance as well as lower heat generation during hydration.

We are looking to recruit a graduate with a first or high 2.1 class honours degrees with a background in materials science, civil engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, earth sciences, or a related discipline. Knowledge and experience in minerals, cements, and concrete are particularly beneficial. Familiarity in relevant materials testing techniques such as strength testing, slump test, rheometry, and porosimetry is 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. This research will also utilise facilities in the Dept. of Civil and Structural Engineering at TUoS. We are an equal opportunity organisation and value diversity at our university; we know that diversity in all its forms delivers greater impact.

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 world-leading Cements@Sheffield group and is 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 information available online

Published: August 12th, 2021
Posted in PhD opportunities

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