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Materials for Life grow from strength to strength

last modified Jun 14, 2017 10:37 AM

Cambridge collaborative research into the development of self-healing cement-based materials for infrastructure has received a £4.85m funding boost from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa (Department of Engineering) said the newly funded Resilient Materials 4 Life (RM4L) programme grant, announced by Jo Johnson (Science Minister), will build on the success of the existing Materials for Life (M4L) project, also funded by the EPSRC.

Professor Al-Tabbaa leads the Cambridge research team collaborating with Cardiff University, the University of Bath and now the University of Bradford, as well as a large number of industry partners, with contributions of over £2m.The programme grant RM4L will enable the team to address a number of large and significant challenges and make major advances in the realisation of intelligent infrastructure materials. Challenges include the tailoring, modelling and optimisation of the developed self-healing systems for targeted applications, which include precast slabs, repair systems, tunnel linings, basements and marine renewables.

Professor Al-Tabbaa said, “The scaling-up of developed systems is among the major challenges the RM4L will address with industry partners. Another major challenge will be to address complex and diverse damage scenarios including cyclic damage, time-related damage and chemical damage. The programme grant will tackle the challenge of equipping those self-healing systems with the capabilities of self-sensing, self-diagnosing and self-immunisation in order for it to anticipate damage and respond accordingly. It will do this by strengthening the defence mechanism against the damage or minimising the impact. A large number of innovative potential solutions and concepts have been proposed and the most promising of those will be taken forward.”

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Image Credit: M4L project field trials