Lunch and Learn: The use of innovative construction materials – The art of the possible, Webinar

17 March, 2017 | 13:00 - 14:00

Lunch and Learn: The use of innovative construction materials – The art of the possible, Webinar

About this event

The EPSRC funded M4L project was a collaboration between Cardiff University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Bath. The aim was to demonstrate the viability of self-healing conglomerate materials in which the material components can act synergistically at different size and time scales in order to address the many different forms of damage that can arise.

This presentation will briefly describe the research that was undertaken in this project into encapsulating healing agents, bacterial healing, crack closure using shape memory polymer (SMP) tendons and vascular networks with the ability to supply healing agents on a repeated basis; highlighting how these techniques have been taken from the laboratory and into practice including their application in a series of trial panels constructed on site.

The challenges encountered in scaling-up, the feasibility of construction and the short term performance of the techniques that were used will be discussed. It will also be shown how amalgamating these techniques to form a multi‐scale healing system can improve the overall healing efficiency with respect to strength recovery, giving an insight into the interaction between different healing processes and trigger mechanisms.

The presentation will conclude by asking the question "Where now?" and "What is possible?" It will explore a vision of construction materials that can adapt to their environment, develop immunity to harmful actions, self-diagnose the on-set of deterioration and self-heal when damaged and discuss how this might be achieved.


Prof. Bob Lark BSc(Eng), ACGI, PhD, CEng., FICE

Bob Lark

Prof Bob Lark has 40 years of top level Civil Engineering experience in contracting, consultancy, local government and, most recently, Cardiff University, where he was Dean of Education and Students for the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering and Deputy Director (Teaching) of the Cardiff School of Engineering.

His research interests are in the assessment, enhancement and management of our infrastructure and, in particular, our highway network. Most recently this has included collaborating with both industrial and academic partners in the development of sustainable materials for construction including self-healing concrete, for which he won a Royal Society Brian Mercer Award.

Supported by colleagues at Cardiff, Bath and Cambridge, he has also led the UK's involvement in the development of self-healing cementitious materials as the PI for the £2.1M EPSRC funded Materials 4 Life - Biomimetic multi-scale damage immunity for construction materials project, winner of the 2016 ICE Wales, Cymru Studies and Research Project Award.

Bob is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, has been a member of Council and was Chairman of ICE Wales in 2008/09. He is Chairman of the Joint Board of Moderators Further Learning sub-committee, which is responsible for both academic and employer managed further learning programmes, is a full member of the Joint Board Moderators on behalf of the ICE and is a past Chairman of the Association of Civil Engineering Departments (ACED).

Dr Robert Davies MEng (Hons) PhD CEng MICE

Robert Davies

Dr Robert Davies is a newly appointed lecturer in construction materials at Cardiff University with a strong background in materials testing and numerical model development for cementitious materials. He worked on the Materials for Life project as a lead research associate, where he developed expertise in creating vascular flow networks in concrete and addressed the multiscale approach to healing by combining different healing techniques. He also helped to develop economic justification for self-healing concrete and coordinated the self-healing concrete site trial, which was done in collaboration with project industrial partners, Costain.

Dr Davies is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 12 years of experience. With equal time spent in industry and academia, he combines numerical modelling and experimental investigation skills alongside practice engineering knowledge to take conceptual ideas through to engineering solutions which look to benefit of society. His current research work focuses on using biomimetic multi‐scale healing in construction materials.

Dr Davies has worked for consultants, contractors and a major client organisation, and he was responsible for key elements of design and construction in infrastructure projects which included flood defences, land development and new highways. He aspires to promote strong links between academia, industry and the ICE.