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Interdisciplinary Research Centre
 

Biography

Dr Janet Lees is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Before embarking on a career in research, she spent time in Industry working both for a Consultant and for a Contractor. She received her PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Cambridge.  She is the leader of the Concrete Infrastructure Research Group (CIRG) within the Civil Engineering Division.  The main research interests of her group relate to the development of more sustainable reinforced concrete infrastructure.  Ongoing project areas include the strength assessment of existing infrastructure, tailored reinforced concrete infrastructure and the use of high performance materials in construction. 

She is a Fellow of St John's College and a Director of the University of Cambridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment.  

Research

  • The overarching aim of the Concrete Infrastructure Research Group (CIRG) is to provide more sustainable infrastructure. This is achieved through an improved understanding of existing infrastructure assets, the use of new materials and the creation of innovative structural solutions.  Our priority is to investigate novel ways to combine these systems for further advantage.

    Current project areas include:

    Tailored Reinforced Concrete Infrastructure -  Concrete is the most widely used material in the world. Cement, the key constituent of concrete, is responsible for about 5% of global carbon emissions related to human activities. This makes the current use of concrete particularly hazardous for the environment. Hence, it is vital to develop technologies aimed at minimising the use of cement in concrete structures while preserving, or improving, their innate strength and durability properties. In this context, the concept of tailored reinforced infrastructure represents a promising approach to target specific structural performance while employing less cement. 

    Existing Reinforced Concrete Infrastructure - Assessing the true capacity of deteriorated existing concrete structures represents a great challenge for engineers, since many controlling parameters are unknown. Unlike new design, assessors have no control on the design philosophy. The overestimation of the structural capacity can potentially put public safety at risk. However, overly conservative approaches can lead to onerous maintenance measures, sometimes unnecessary.  A better understanding of the behaviour of existing infrastructure helps to support decision-making about reinforced concrete structures in service.

Subject: 
Professor of Civil Engineering
Director, EPSRC Future Infrastructure of the Built Environment
Dr. Janet  Lees
Not available for consultancy

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