|Salary:||£38,460 to £48,677|
|Placed On:||8th August 2019|
|Closes:||30th September 2019|
Global population growth, and the increased need for infrastructure, has doubled the worldwide demand for Portland cement (PC), which is the main binder used in almost all concretes. PC production now accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions, which could increase to 24% worldwide by 2050.
One low-CO2 alternative to PC in concretes is the class of materials known as alkali-activated cements or concretes, usually produced by chemical reaction of two components: aluminosilicates (precursor) derived from industrial by-products or natural minerals, and an alkali source (activator). These materials have potential to offer carbon emissions savings of 40-80% compared to PC, for a performance-equivalent concrete.
This PhD research project aims to identify alternative manufacturing routes for the successful activation of raw materials which are not yet widely used for producing low carbon cements, and the identification of the mix design factors that control kinetics of reaction, workability and microstructure evolution.
This will be achieved by identifying suitable chemical, mechanical or thermal treatments yielding high reactivity of the raw materials, particularly focusing on mechano-chemical or mechano-thermal activation of precursors, with the aim to produce reactive powders that will harden once combined with water. The phase evolution of the cements during and after hardening for an extended period of curing (min to years) will be monitored through high-resolution analytical techniques (e.g. X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetry, scanning electron microscopy, etc).
The activities of this PhD research project are linked to the EPSRC Early Career Fellowship Research programme MUSE - Multi-scale Engineering of Alkali-Activated Concretes for Sustainable Infrastructure - and will be conducted in the UKCRIC National Centre for Infrastructure Materials at the University of Leeds.
The successful applicant will work with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in collaboration with partners in the UK and Germany. You will have access to brand new laboratories for the development, characterisation and performance assessment of cementitious materials, including access to our own spectroscopy and microscopy facilities including a unique X-ray microtomography instrument for in-situ monitoring of pore structure changes and microcraking under controlled environments.
Successful applicants will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with a First class or a 2:1 honours MSc degree (or overseas equivalent) in materials/chemical/environmental engineering, geochemistry, minerals processing or similar disciplines. Knowledge on cements chemistry and/or materials characterisation techniques will be advantageous.
This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in cementitious materials chemistry and advanced characterisation techniques.
How to apply
Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Novel routes for manufacturing low carbon cements (EPSRC DTP)' as well as Professor Susan A. Bernal and Dr Sam Adu-Amankwah as your proposed supervisor(s).
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English Language requirements.
We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.
If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office
e: email@example.com, t: +44 (0)113 343 8000.
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