I am a civil engineer specialising in the long-term performance of concrete and concrete structures. There are at least 10 different ageing processes that may negatively affect a concrete structure. My research group seeks to observe, measure, understand and model these so that we can predict long-term behaviour, look after our existing infrastructure more effectively and design new structures to be more sustainable. This is important because at present we consume over 25 billion tons of concrete each year (more than any other material except water) and cement manufacture is responsible for around 7% of man-made CO2 emissions.
We have labs for preparing specimens, simulating/accelerating natural exposure and monitoring deterioration. We have a dedicated microscopy suite for observing the microstructural effects of ageing with state-of-the-art field emission scanning electron, confocal and optical microscopes. These are complimented by our EDX and microXRF instruments for mapping chemical composition. Ageing is almost always controlled by transport phenomena and we have developed a unique range of laboratory tests for measuring all of the ionic and molecular transport processes involved. We also have facilities for pore structure characterization, chemical analysis and corrosion monitoring, in addition to more conventional concrete technology and structural testing labs. Lab-based research is complemented by computer-based numerical modelling.
My research has been funded by UK Government, European Commission, CIRIA, UK Highways Agency, BNFL, NIREX, London Underground Limited and various sectors of industry. I have held 24 EPSRC research grants (19 as Principal Investigator), including two Platform grants; these are listed at: http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewPerson.aspx?PersonId=2208, the most recent being a £9.1m grant to develop a Centre for Infrastructure Materials.
I have authored/co-authored over 200 publications, the majority in refereed international journals - these can be viewed via the PUBLICATIONS tab above.
As a result of this and related research, I have been commissioned to provide guidance to the UK, Hong Kong and Sri Lankan governments and to the designers or constructors of major infrastructure projects including the Great Man-Made River Project in Libya, the New Los Angeles Cathedral, the Beirut Sea Front Project, the Channel Tunnel, the Jubilee Line Extension, Tsing Lung Bridge in Hong Kong, Belgium's high level nuclear waste repository and the UK’s nuclear power programme.