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EPSRC FIBE2 CDT PhD studentship with National Highways: Sensor-driven durable low carbon concrete infrastructure


This is a four-year (1+3 MRes/PhD) studentship funded through the Cambridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2 CDT). The FIBE2 CDT aims to develop the next generation of infrastructure professionals who can create, shape and deliver the national vision for UK infrastructure, who will be equipped with a versatile and cross-disciplinary skill set to meet the most complex emerging challenges and contribute effectively to better infrastructure decision-making in the UK. Further details can be found at https://www.fibe-cdt.eng.cam.ac.uk/

The project is funded in collaboration with National Highways, a government-owned company charged with setting highways standards, operating, maintaining and improving motorways and major A roads in England.

One of the major challenges we face in our efforts to maintain the functionality and resilience of our current infrastructure is corrosion. Steel corrosion is the largest and most costly deterioration problem in reinforced concrete, with a UK annual budget of >£1 billion. National Highways are responsible for corrosion protection of reinforced concrete structures on the road network. Very early stage detection of reinforcement corrosion would provide significant benefits in protecting existing assets and optimising maintenance regimes. At the same time our ambition to achieve net zero by 2050 necessitates the development and use of low carbon concretes for both construction and repair operations. The ability to continuously monitor the durability performance of novel concretes will provide the evidence-based knowledge required to increase confidence in their performance.

Those drivers have fuelled the recent development of industry-led innovative concrete durability and early corrosion monitoring sensors. One such sensor is that developed by Concrefy; a wireless system, based around changes in electrical resistivity measurements associated with chloride ingress within the concrete cover zone. A prototype has been developed and is being tested on a number of existing structures across Europe. The PhD project will explore the use of this sensor system and validate and advance its capabilities in different concrete types, exposure conditions and damage scenarios as well as integrate with other sensor systems to provide a multi-functional sensor system.

For project-specific enquires please e-mail Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa (aa22@cam.ac.uk). For general enquiries, please email cdtcivil-courseadmin@eng.cam.ac.uk.

The FIBE2 CDT studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students. A small number of funded places may be available for excellent EU/international students. Further details about eligibility and funding can be found at: https://www.ukri.org/councils/esrc/career-and-skills-development/funding-for-postgraduate-training/eligibility-for-studentship-funding/ https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/fees https://www.cambridgetrust.org/scholarships/

Applications should be made online on https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/application-process/how-do-i-apply stating course code EGEGR3 with project: Sensor-driven durable low carbon concrete infrastructure with supervisor Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa stated on the form.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.