The PhD Training Network on Durable, Reliable and Sustainable Structures with Alkali-Activated Materials


The design, durability and performance of structures play a crucial role in fostering societal and economic growth. Concrete structures are used extensively for buildings, transport, infrastructure and maritime applications. By using concrete extraordinary structures can be realised, and these are often designed for long service lives to gain optimal value from the material, environmental, intellectual and financial input into the making of the structure. In Europe, around 4 tonnes of concrete per capita  are consumed annually. The downside of using concrete is associated with durability issues and huge environmental costs, as the cement industry accounts for 8% of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions; and around 60% of all non-renewable resources are used in construction, making it one of the least sustainable industries. There is a clear demand for a new, sustainable generation of construction materials, since Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)-based concrete cannot meet all the challenges of modern society concerning durability and sustainability. The DuRSAAM action addresses this by establishing a training and research network contributing to a sustainable built environment using AAM concrete.



The aim of DuRSAAM is to strengthen the European research area on eco-efficient construction materials and the increased competitiveness of Europe's construction sector, in applying concrete technoology based on alkali-activated materials (AAM) for a more sustainable build environment.




DuRSAAM is a collaborative PhD framework creating a critical mass of experts skilled in innovative alkali-activated material (AAM) concrete, as a key enabling technology for a sustainable and resilient built environment. AAM technology presents a new generation of materials, ideally conceived to respond to the need for more efficient, durable, eco-friendly and reliable construction, and utilizing by-product resources as raw materials. Modern concrete will be produced with low carbon footprint (CO2 emissions reduced by 80%), lower energy consumption and reduced use of primary resources (>1.5 t raw materials are quarried per t Portland cement clinker; this will be reduced by >60%), and with an addressable market for AAM binders of 5 B€/yr. DuRSAAM answers unmet industry demands, to facilitate emerging AAM technology for continued market entry and to unlock its potential in society.
The consortium brings together 7 academic and 15 non-academic partners, to excel in the scientific development and exploitation of AAM concrete, advancing design, modelling and practice beyond the state-of-the-art. It holds a unique focus on: (1) today’s concerns of users and engineers that the durability and sustainability of AAM concrete is yet insufficiently quantified; and (2) provision of an AAM technology for rehabilitation of structures to meet the growing demand for renovation, to be developed in parallel with AAM for new concrete structures.
The network will deliver world-leading training in this multidisciplinary field through 13 PhDs in interrelated aspects of AAM concrete, fibre reinforced high-performance concrete, and textile-reinforced mortar, as well as sustainability assessment. The outcomes will be instrumental in delivering a sustainable future in Europe’s construction industry, which is increasingly driven by the growing demand for durable yet cost-effective solutions, driving a greater focus on reliable and comprehensive eco-efficient material technologies such as AAM.


Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2018 09:55


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