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Reuse of Waste Materials for Fire-Spalling-Proof and Crack-Resistant Sustainable Concrete


Fire-induced explosive spalling (violent peeling-off of concrete cover) and plastic shrinkage cracking are major issues for concrete infrastructure. Tunnels and buildings can experience catastrophic failure due to fire spalling, as well as premature deterioration due to cracking, leading to huge economic costs and loss of life. In any new project, EU directives and codes of practice require adequate solutions for the spalling/cracking problems whilst all major existing road tunnels need to be upgraded. However, the mechanisms of fire spalling and shrinkage cracking are not well understood, and there are no guaranteed spalling/cracking prevention measures.

This fellowship aims to develop: (1) a better understanding of the complex mechanism behind fire spalling and shrinkage cracking in concrete, and (2) novel sustainable cracking/spalling-mitigation solutions by using waste polymer fibres and greener cementitious binders produced from industrial by-products. If successful, this will enable the replacement of the currently used manufactured polypropylene fibres with waste materials of equal or better performance, thereby providing a possible annual reduction of 0.5 million tonnes of CO2 in an EU market worth about £50 million per annum.

The microstructural changes of concrete during the fire attack/shrinkage cracking will be monitored using multi-advanced techniques (e.g. X-ray Computed Tomography) and the revealed mechanisms will help develop predictive models and design recommendations. The host organisation has world-leading expertise in the fields of fire and concrete engineering and it is currently coordinating an EU project (ANAGENNISI) on the reuse of tyre components in concrete. This project, along with training schemes available at the host organization, will provide a unique opportunity for the fellow to develop his career as an independent researcher.

Call for proposal

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Firth Court Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 195 454,80