AIM laboratory

The centrepiece of the new Imperial Centre for Infrastructure Materials where researchers will develop a new generation of construction materials

The Advanced Infrastructure Materials Laboratory (AIM) is the centrepiece of the new Imperial Centre for Infrastructure Materials where researchers will develop a new generation of construction materials that are more durable and robust, able to withstand ever heavier loads, and more cost effective to manufacture and maintain. The team will also explore ways to make construction materials more sustainable; for example, the manufacture of concrete accounts for the second largest industrial source of carbon dioxide, contributing to over six per cent of carbon dioxide generated from human sources globally. Researchers will also explore ways of integrating new types of construction materials with traditional materials. This could enable engineers to develop cheaper and more adaptable ways of maintaining existing infrastructure. 

The Advanced Infrastructure Materials Laboratory is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and sit under the ‘umbrella’ of the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC). It forms part of a new National Centre for Infrastructure Materials, which includes the Universities of Leeds and Manchester, with overall funding from EPSRC for the combined institutions totalling £16.6M million.

Lab facilities

Laser scanning confocal microscopy

Imaging

  • Optical microscopy: brightfield, darkfield, fluorescence, polarized, stereomicroscopy
  • Field emission SEM with EDS
  • Laser scanning confocal microscopy
  • Tabletop SEM with EDS
Micro XRF

Chemical characterisation

  • Wet chemistry and ICP OES
  • DTA, DSC, TGA with MS
  • Isothermal calorimetry
  • X-ray analysis
  • Micro XRF
Surface characterisation

Surface characterisation

  • Nano and micro indentation
  • Scratch, wear, impact and fatigue
  • FTIR and Raman spectroscopy
  • Contact angle

Lab facilities

Laser diffraction particle size analysis

Particles and porosity

  • Gas adsorption
  • Dynamic Vapour Sorption
  • Laser diffraction particle size analysis
  • Mercury Intrusion Porosimeter
Materials processing, physical testing & durability

Materials processing

  • Mixers, cutters and various sample preparation equipment
  • Milling
  • Ceramic processing
  • Lightweight aggregate production
Physical testing

Physical testing & durability

  • Rheology and fresh state properties
  • Mechanical properties
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Acoustic emission
  • Digital image correlation
  • Molecular and ionic transport
  • Corrosion and electrochemistry