The objective of the proposed project is the development of a damage sensing material for application in structures of architectural heritage. This material comprises lime mortar infused with conductive carbon nano-particles, applicable for repair and strengthening of historic masonry buildings through repointing of mortar joints.
The proposed material is envisaged as possessing improved strength and ductility, which are critical in enhancing the durability of existing buildings. It relies on the electrical conductivity of the nano-particles for the detection of damage and the measurement of deformation in masonry structural elements.
The project begins with the optimisation of a nano-particle infused lime mortar mix. Subsequently, the characterization of the enhancement of the mechanical properties of the material is performed. This is followed by the development of a quantitative damage and deformation measurement protocol. The project is concluded by the testing of the material in full scale structural members. Through the up-scaling of novel materials and self-sensing technology, it encompasses a lab to industry transition.
In addition to being a cost-effective means of structural damage monitoring, the material is expected to moderately enhance the structural behaviour of masonry members, while adhering to the principles of intervention on historic structures. In light of the danger to the integrity and durability of historic buildings due to the peaking of induced earthquake and the increase of ground movement in European urban centres, the project is deemed timely and potentially deeply impactful.
The project is expected to greatly enhance the researcher's prospects for an academic career, in addition to sharpening his technical and research grant proposal writing skills. Further, it is expected to provide, in the long term, an excellent contribution to research, innovation potential, industry and society.
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