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Research Associate in Low Carbon Concrete Production

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South Kensington Campus

Job Summary

We are seeking a Research Associate to join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as part of a five-year research project that strives to develop and optimise low carbon concretes produced through CO2 mineralisation. This project was awarded an ERC Starting Grant and is titled “Decarbonising cementitious materials through carbon capture and utilisation (CO24Cem)”.

In the future, concrete will have a zero or negative CO2 emissions footprint. It will be produced by mixing a novel cement made from future electric arc furnace slag (co-product of future low carbon steel production) and carbonated end-of-life cement paste (produced by carbonating end-of-life concrete using waste CO2), with water, sand, gravel, and waste CO2 in manufacturing facilities (precast slabs, blocks) and/or in concrete trucks (ready-mix). The chemistry of this future concrete will be significantly different to the chemistry of the concrete that we use today.

This role will collaborate with two PhD students working on complimentary topics in the CO24Cem project. You will have access to the suite of methods that are available in the Advanced Infrastructure Materials, Structures, and Environmental Laboratories at Imperial College London, which is a world-class facility for experimental concrete materials research. You will also have access to thermodynamic modelling, process modelling, and life cycle assessment software, databases, and expertise.

Duties and responsibilities

You will be responsible for optimising the production process conditions and mix designs of this future low carbon concrete. Example experimental tasks include (i) tuning carbonation reactor conditions to promote alternate calcium carbonate polymorph formation in carbonated end-of-life concrete, (ii) modifying the novel cement composition to optimise material property development, and (iii) enhancing batching (concrete/mortar mix designs, CO2 injection) to further increase CO2 uptake and improve material property development. This experimental work will be complemented by thermodynamic modelling. You may also perform process modelling and life cycle assessment to show the techno-economic-environmental performance of the technology at commercial scale. This role will involve both modelling and experimental materials characterisation.

This role will be an excellent opportunity for you as a high reaching and dedicated researcher with a background and/or interests in chemical engineering, material chemistry, and sustainability. It will require regular contributions to a variety of normal academic tasks, including positively interacting and communicating with internal and external collaborators, and demonstrating research excellence and leadership to more junior members of the Research Group. You will receive strong mentoring in a highly stimulating academic research environment, with access to internationally leading academics, industrial partners, research facilities, and networks.

Essential requirements

  • Hold a PhD in engineering (chemical, materials, etc.), science (chemistry, materials, physics, etc.), or equivalent experience,
  • Experimental experience in a research laboratory,
  • Experienced in typical experimental methods for materials characterisation,
  • Expert understanding of material properties,
  • Productive track record of publishing high-quality papers in peer-reviewed journals,

Further Information

This vacancy has an anticipated start date from 1 February 2024.This is a fixed term post for 24 months.

For informal enquiries about the post please contact Dr Rupert Myers at [email protected]

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Briony Webb at [email protected].

Further information is available within the job description.

Click Here to Apply For The Job


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