Director of studies: Dr Boksun Kim
2nd supervisor: Dr Maozhou Meng
3rd supervisor: Professor Monica Craciun (University of Exeter)
4th supervisor: Professor Ningzhong Bao (Nanjing Tech University)
invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1
The aim of this PhD is to develop high performance, durable concrete for structures in coastal environments by the application of tailor-made graphene oxide concrete to support construction sustainability. Concrete used in marine environments faces severe challenges. Traditional concrete is very brittle, which can lead to micro-cracks and void gaps. Cracks can cause serious damage to concrete structures, in particular, those exposed to coastal environments since sea salt can induce chloride ingress and allow penetration into the concrete. This chloride infiltration corrodes the steel reinforcements in the concrete. The corrosion can damage the strength, aesthetics and serviceability of structures. The utilisation of high performance concrete is hence required. Ever since its discovery in 2004, graphene has provided a new way to solve the issues that concrete faces in harsh environments due to graphene’s exceptional mechanical, thermal, optical and electrical properties, and electrical conductivity. It is an ideal nano-filler that can modify the cementitious material, although it is hard to synthesize and very expensive at present. It can be synthesized to Graphene Oxide (GO): layered graphite interspersed with oxygen molecules around its plane and edges called functional groups and then exfoliated into single-layer and few-layer GO sheets. Addition of a small amount of GO into a concrete mix can improve significantly the resistance of concrete to chloride and sulphate attacks. Hence, it will enhance the durability of concrete. The objectives of this PhD are:
- determine the optimum method of synthesis and dispersion of GO in concrete to be used for structures in coastal environments,
- conduct rapid chloride migration tests to determine the effect of the incorporation of GO on the chloride penetration and diffusivity of concrete,
- investigate the resistance of GO concrete to porosity and water sorptivity using the natural capillary absorption test,
- develop a numerical model, which can be used to predict the durability of GO concrete and forecast the material deterioration when subjected to chloride attack,
- establish guidelines for the selection of key input parameters for the service life design of GO concrete.
This PhD study will be supported by an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary team of supervisors, covering Nanoscience and civil, mechanical and chemical engineering.