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Long-term performance of concretes exposed to severe environments


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Saturday 4 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Source of funding
Research council
Professor Susan Bernal Lopez
Additional supervisors
Dr Samuel Adu-Amankwah (U. Leeds) & Dr Efi Tzoura (Highways England)
School of Civil Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This PhD studentship is co-sponsored by EPSRC and Highways England. In the UK, 50% of the annual infrastructure budget is allocated to its maintenance, repair and replacement. With the projected new infrastructure (&pound;480Bn by 2025), it is imperative to improve and predict the resilience of construction materials. A critical threat to concrete is carbon dioxide, which is present in the atmosphere at record levels. When CO2 enters concrete it reacts, a phenomenon known as carbonation. This leads to corrosion of steel reinforcement as well as changes in the integrity of the cement, accelerating damage particularly when coupled with extreme wintery weather.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>This project aims to evaluate performance of structural concretes when subjected to loading in combination with carbonation and/or freeze-thaw, as a new approach to simulate realistic in-service conditions. Specific objectives are to (i) define equivalent performance between different concrete chemistries, (ii) develop integrated assessment methods linking the microstructure of concretes to their performance; and (ii) create new conformity durability criteria of concretes when assessed under realistic simulated conditions.&nbsp;</p> <p>The successful applicant will work in the UKCRIC Centre for Infrastructure Materials at the University of Leeds. 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 (e.g. temperature, gas atmosphere, humidity). Likewise you will enjoy &nbsp;a 3 months internship working alongside the Research and Development team at Highways England, the government-owned company charged with operating, maintaining and improving England&#39;s motorways and major A roads.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Long-term performance of concretes exposed to severe environments&rsquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Professor Susan Bernal Lopez</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome 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.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>A&nbsp;competitive EPSRC CASE award studentship consisting of academic fees (&pound;4,600 in Session 2020/21), together with a maintenance grant (&pound;18,285&nbsp;in Session 2020/21). UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;or by telephone:&nbsp; + 44 (0) 113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Professor&nbsp;Susan A. Bernal Lopez by&nbsp;email:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;or by&nbsp;telephone: +44 (0)113 343 39415.</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>