Carbon dioxide makes up more than 70% to greenhouse gases; and the production of ordinary Portland cement (OPC), the key ingredient to make concrete, is one of the main causes for anthropogenic CO2 emission. Recently our team has created a novel replacement for normal concrete (NC): reactive MgO-based ductile composites. It looks like NC, nevertheless it is more sustainable in multiple ways: it replaces all the OPC with the cleaner reactive MgO as binder; it adopts minimum amount of fibers not only compensating but greatly enhancing the tensile properties; with the presence of water, this material heals the early crack in itself by absorbing ambient CO2 to form healing products.
In this proposed project, we will enhance the mechanical and self-healing properties of this prototype. We are going to study the impacts of different types of fibers, the processed fibers, curing condition and penetration depth of CO2 on the MgO-based cementitious composites. This will be three-year project, the enrolled students are welcome to continue in the future UROPs (for both summer sessions and spring/fall sessions).
Students will need to understand the background knowledge of MgO-based cementitious composites and self-healing mechanism. Students will also participate in the preparation and characterization of specimens, which may include but not be limited to mix design, specimens manufacturing, single fiber test, uniaxial tension test, resonant frequency test and scanning electron microscope test, etc. This work will approximately involve 60% lab experiment, 30% logistics/management and 10% simulation. An experienced postgraduate student will be closely guiding the work; the faculty be supervising on weekly basis or more frequently (face-to-face).
Basic skills as an experimental researcher: literature review, specimen preparation, data analysis, communication skills.
Advanced skills (optional): problem-defining, material characterization for MgO-based composites, paper writing (as a co-author if his/her contribution is significant).
Applying knowledge to specific technical challenges of interdisciplinary research.