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Improving construction materials to make infrastructure more sustainable and durable will be the focus of research at a new 5.4 million pound lab

Construction materials underpin our whole society, but we are lagging behind in terms of developing them to meet the complex needs of our modern world. These days materials need to last, be cost effective to make, but also need to be environmentally friendly and enable us to conjure up ever more effective and aesthetically pleasing structures. That is why our new Centre is so important, because it will help to fill the research gap and enable us to develop materials that meet our complex construction needs"

Professor Nick Buenfeld

Project lead and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Bridges, tunnels, and flood defences are some examples of the underpinning infrastructure that keep modern societies functioning. However, one of the major challenges for governments and industry is the drain placed on public and private finances by maintaining such infrastructure over the long-term. Each year, around 50 per cent of the UK’s construction budget is spent solely on upgrading existing infrastructure.

The Advanced Infrastructure Materials Laboratory (AIM) will be the centrepiece of a 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 Centre has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The team will also receive a further £3.6 million to create a network of collaborations with academic institutions across the country – taking the funding total to £9 million for Imperial.

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.