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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C510933/1
Title: Centre For Microstructural Modelling And Characterisation Of Cementitious Materials
Principal Investigator: Bicanic, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Zhu, Dr W Hughes, Dr JJ Pearce, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 August 2004 Ends: 31 March 2005 Value (£): 51,723
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Civil Engineering Materials Materials Characterisation
Materials Processing Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Cementitious materials (most commonly concrete and mortar) are among the most widely used construction materials. They comprise gravel or sand aggregates and cement as a binding agent. Such materials are engineered, composite materials which are quite common and have a low tech image, but it is surprising that they are among the least understood materials, due to their complex nature. Structural concrete (a generic name comprising plain concrete, reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete) has composite, microstructural components with features that span ten orders of magnitude in size - from nanometre-sized pores to metre-size reinforcement bars, with paste, sand and gravel particles of all sizes in between these limits. Such complex composites are made even more complicated by the time dependent nature of the cement hydration processes (by which a hardened solid is created), which begins at the time of mixing of cement clinker minerals with water and continue for months and even years. The macroscopic properties of concrete are mainly generated by the main hydration product, the so called C-S-H (calcium silicate hydrates) gel, a variable, nanoscale composite material itself, that is affected by a multiple-scale network (from nm to mm) of capillary pores and microcracks.Standard measurements of macroscopic properties of cementitious materials are useful for standard construction processes, when the material is treated as a homogeneous solid. However they cannot fully explain materials durability, and their response under extreme conditions, like a fire or an exposure to aggressive environment. Therefore, fundamental understanding of the evolution and the behaviour of the cement matrix and its interaction with the other constituents and the environment is necessary. In such cases, the cementitious material response is affected by many chemical and physical processes on different scales, and special equipment (nanoindentation) is used to characterise properties of constituents at a micro and nano scale, as well as properties on the interface between constituents.Recent advances in computational modelling techniques, which are now capable of describing and realistically simulating complex material material behaviour using very rigorous mathematical setting, which considers heterogenous and discontinuous (paritculate) nature of evolving composite materials, like cementitious materials, when subjected to varying or extreme conditions.. Such sophisticated mathematical models rely on the material chacterisation and experiments on different scales of observation.These data can be combined with powerful computational simulation techniques looking at interacting particles at a very small scale, so that a predictive model of the macroscopic behaviour of cementitious materials comes as a result of modelling complex interactions of constituents at a very fine scale. The purpose of this proposal is to integrate very precise characterisation data for constituents of cementitious composites (elastic modulus, strength, ductility, fracture properties etc) with powerful computational modelling techniques, as the only rational way to explain the material behaviour or predict how novel engineered cementitious materials will perform in practice
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk