Developing Embedded Biomimetic and Cognitive Capabilities in Self-Healing or Self-Sensing Concrete

We are seeking a PhD student to undertake research into the development of ‘smart’ cement-based materials to complement an EPSRC programme grant in resilient materials. The work will develop concrete with autonomic self-healing or self-sensing capabilities. We anticipate that these developments will transform our infrastructure materials, enhance durability and serviceability, and reduce maintenance costs.

Two broad topics are available:

  • Self-healing concrete: The form of self-healing concrete to be studied involves the use of bacteria that can microbiologically-precipitate calcite in cracks. Results of previous research at the University of Bath have shown that bacteria-based self-healing of mortar is sufficiently effective to return the permeability properties of cracked mortar back to that of uncracked mortar. In this research we intend to develop bacteria-based self-healing concrete for use in aggressive environments such as marine conditions. There is no requirement for the student to have any previous experience in microbiology.
  • Self-sensing concrete: The ambition in this proposal is to develop concrete with embedded biomimetic and cognitive capabilities such that it can self-sense and self-diagnose mechanical damage without the need for any human input. Techniques that we can include the use of sensors such as electric resistance strain gauges, optic fibres, piezoelectric materials or graphene sensors embedded within the concrete. The intention is that the self-sensing capability will be partnered with a self-healing technology to generate a truly biomimetic material.


Fin out more on funding and application process here.