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Improving construction materials to make infrastructure more sustainable and durable is the focus of research at a new £6.4 m lab

Construction materials underpin our whole society, but we are lagging behind in terms of developing them to meet the demands of our modern world. Infrastructure materials need to do their job for a long time and be cost effective to make, but are also required 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, 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 (2011-21)

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 is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and sits under the ‘umbrella’ of the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC). It is the centrepiece of a new Imperial Centre for Infrastructure Materials where researchers are developing a new generation of construction materials that are more durable and robust, able to withstand ever greater loads, and more cost effective to manufacture and maintain.