Dr Brant Walkley
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
+44 (0) 114 222 7528
Full contact details
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
I was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in Sept 2019, where I lead the Sustainable Materials at Sheffield (SMASH) research team. Prior to this I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The University of Sheffield (Oct 2016 – Aug 2019), and completed my PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Melbourne, Australia (awarded Dec 2016). I also hold Bachelor degrees from The University of Melbourne in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Honours) and Science (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology).
My research has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and both UK and international industry groups. I also lead projects funded by the European Research Council, National Science Foundation and Tertiary Education Trust Fund. I am an invited Editorial Panel Member of ICE Construction Materials, a Guest Editor of the journals Frontiers in Materials Special Issue New insights into the molecular structure of cementitious materials, Frontiers in Built Environment/Frontiers in Materials Special Issue Materials and Technologies for Low-carbon Concrete, and Sustainability, Special Issue Materials for Sustainability, and an invited Expert Panel Member of Net Zero: Decarbonising Construction briefing, UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, a member of the Institute of Chemical Engineers and a member of the RILEM Technical Committees 267-TRM and 281-CCC.
I teach a variety of research-led core and applied chemical engineering subjects. I was awarded an ‘Undergraduate Teaching Award’ in 2020 and received a ‘Letter of Commendation for Teaching Excellence’ in 2019 from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, The University of Sheffield, and was awarded the ‘Best Tutor’ prize in 2015, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Melbourne.
- Research interests
Our research aims to drive new advances in the development of materials and processes for sustainable infrastructure, environmental remediation and clean energy. This will enable industry to meet the needs of our society both sustainably and cost-effectively, improving the well-being of our society and environment.
Broadly speaking, our research group focuses on investigation of composition-structure-property relationships, reaction mechanisms and kinetics in cements, glasses, ceramics and nanomaterials using advanced spectroscopic and microstructural techniques, including solid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Current projects focus on:
- Development of low-CO2 cements for sustainable infrastructure
- Understanding durability and degradation phenomena in low-CO2 cements
- Understanding and controlling radionuclide-mineral interactions in cement matrices used for immobilisation of radioactive waste
- Controlling reaction mechanisms, kinetics and retention in cement wasteforms for safe disposal of heavy metal pollutants
- Understanding composition-structure-property relationships in solid state electrolytes for energy storage.
- Degradation resistance of different cementitious materials to phosphoric acid attack at early stage. Cement and Concrete Research, 151.
- Capture of aqueous radioiodine species by metallated adsorbents from wastestreams of the nuclear power industry : a review. SN Applied Sciences, 3(11). View this article in WRRO
- Metakaolin-based geopolymers : efflorescence and its effect on microstructure and mechanical properties. Ceramics International.
- Synthesis of Ca1-xCexZrTi2-2xAl2xO7 zirconolite ceramics for plutonium disposition. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 556, 153198-153198.
- Strategies for control and mitigation of efflorescence in metakaolin-based geopolymers. Cement and Concrete Research, 144, 106431-106431.
- Characterizing oxygen atoms in perovskite and pyrochlore oxides using ADF-STEM at a resolution of a few tens of picometers. Acta Materialia, 208. View this article in WRRO
- The influence of Fe2O3 reagent grade purity on the electrical properties of ‘undoped’ LaFeO3 ceramics: a cautionary reminder. Journal of the European Ceramic Society.
- The role of zinc in metakaolin-based geopolymers. Cement and Concrete Research, 136. View this article in WRRO
- Influence of activator type on reaction kinetics, setting time, and compressive strength of alkali-activated mineral wools. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. View this article in WRRO
- 18-month hydration of a low-pH cement for geological disposal of radioactive waste: The Cebama reference cement. Applied Geochemistry. View this article in WRRO
- Metakaolin-based geopolymers: Relation between formulation, physicochemical properties and efflorescence formation. Composites Part B: Engineering, 182. View this article in WRRO
- Nanostructural evolution of alkali-activated mineral wools. Cement and Concrete Composites, 106. View this article in WRRO
- Nanostructure of CaO-(Na2O)-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O gels revealed by multinuclear solid-state magic angle spinning and multiple quantum magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 124(2), 1681-1694. View this article in WRRO
- Incorporation of strontium and calcium in geopolymer gels. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 382. View this article in WRRO
- New selective dissolution process to quantify reaction extent and product stability in metakaolin-based geopolymers. Composites Part B: Engineering, 176. View this article in WRRO
- TGFβ inhibition stimulates collagen maturation to enhance bone repair and fracture resistance in a murine myeloma model. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. View this article in WRRO
- Exploiting in-situ solid-state NMR spectroscopy to probe the early stages of hydration of calcium aluminate cement. Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, 99(J. Magn. Reson. 57 1984), 1-6. View this article in WRRO
- Thermodynamic modelling of BFS-PC cements under temperature conditions relevant to the geological disposal of nuclear wastes. Cement and Concrete Research, 119, 21-35. View this article in WRRO
- Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of cements. Materials Today Advances, 1. View this article in WRRO
- Slag and Activator Chemistry Control the Reaction Kinetics of Sodium Metasilicate-Activated Slag Cements. Sustainability, 10(12). View this article in WRRO
- Reactivity tests for supplementary cementitious materials: RILEM TC 267-TRM phase 1. Materials and Structures, 51. View this article in WRRO
- Synthesis and characterisation of the new oxyfluoride Li+ ion conductor, Li5SiO4F. Solid State Ionics, 327, 64-70. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Examination of alkali-activated material nanostructure during thermal treatment. Journal of Materials Science, 53(13), 9486-9503.
- New Structural Model of Hydrous Sodium Aluminosilicate Gels and the Role of Charge-Balancing Extra-Framework Al. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 122(10), 5673-5685. View this article in WRRO
- Thermal performance of calcium-rich alkali-activated materials: A microstructural and mechanical study. Construction and Building Materials, 153, 225-237. View this article in WRRO
- Structural evolution of synthetic alkali-activated CaO-MgO-Na2O-Al2O3-SiO2 materials is influenced by Mg content. Cement and Concrete Research, 99, 155-171. View this article in WRRO
- Synthesis of stoichiometrically controlled reactive aluminosilicate and calcium-aluminosilicate powders. Powder Technology, 297, 17-33. View this article in WRRO
- Phase evolution of C-(N)-A-S-H/N-A-S-H gel blends investigated via alkali-activation of synthetic calcium aluminosilicate precursors. Cement and Concrete Research, 89, 120-135. View this article in WRRO
- Phase evolution of Na2O–Al2O3–SiO2–H2O gels in synthetic aluminosilicate binders. Dalton Transactions, 45(13), 5521-5535. View this article in WRRO
- Stoichiometrically controlled C–(A)–S–H/N–A–S–H gel blends via alkali-activation of synthetic precursors. Advances in Applied Ceramics, 114(7), 372-377. View this article in WRRO
- Gel nanostructure in alkali-activated binders based on slag and fly ash, and effects of accelerated carbonation. Cement and Concrete Research, 53, 127-144.
- Mimicking Biosintering: The Identification of Highly Condensed Surfaces in Bioinspired Silica Materials. Langmuir. View this article in WRRO
- Thermodynamic properties of sodium aluminosilicate hydrate (N–A–S–H). Dalton Transactions.
- Activator Anion Influences the Nanostructure of Alkali-Activated Slag Cements. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C.
- Geopolymers, Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series (pp. 406-407). Springer International Publishing
- Geopolymers, Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series (pp. 1-2). Springer International Publishing
- Fly ash-based geopolymer chemistry and behavior, Coal Combustion Products (CCP's) (pp. 185-214). Elsevier View this article in WRRO
- List of contributors, Coal Combustion Products (CCP's) (pp. xi-xii). Elsevier
Conference proceedings papers
- Research group
Postdoctoral Research Associates:
- Dr Dan Geddes, Research into the development and chemistry of sustainable cement and concrete materials (Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co Ltd)
- Dr Maryam Derkani, Developing additives to improve durability and engineering properties of alkali-activated materials (KTP Associate, Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership w/ Lubrizol Ltd.)
- Dr Sarah Kearney, Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme: Iodine abatement in irradiated nuclear fuel recycling (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy)
- Madeline Rihner, Life Cycle Assessment of Sustainable Cement (Energy Institute & EPSRC)
- Ella Cliff, Understanding reaction mechanisms, kinetics and structural evolution in low-carbon cements (EPSRC)
- Charlotte Nevin, Resolving reaction mechanisms, kinetics and mass transport in radionuclide-loaded geopolymer cement wasteforms (GREEN CDT (EPSRC) & Sellafield Ltd)
- Kyle O'Donoghue, Geopolymer reaction mechanisms and kinetics for immobilisation of radioactive waste (EPSRC)
- Laura Stefanini, Designing alkali-activated materials with maximised recycled content (URBCON, NWE Interreg)
- Cassandre Le Galliard, Control of carbonation in next-generation sustainable alkali-activated material concretes (Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN DuRSAAM)
- Tamara Chidiac, Service life models for alkali-activated material concretes (Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN DuRSAAM)
- James Watt, Designing new materials for next-generation Li ion batteries (National Science Foundation, as part of the Center for Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics Grant Nos. IIP-1841453 and IIP-1841466)
- Adetona Ademola, Designing new materials for next-generation Na ion batteries (Tertiary Education Trust Fund)
2020/21 MEng researchers
- Laura Carter, Surface interactions in organic/inorganic mixtures in sustainable alkali-activated cements
- Ella Cliff, Carbonation-induced nanostructural changes in alkali-activated cements
- Kyle O'Donoghue, Reaction mechanisms and kinetics of radionuclide-loaded cement wasteforms
- Gregory Ouseley, Low-carbon solidification and stabilisation of radioactive/toxic waste
- Tomas Jessiman-Meijer, Low-carbon solidification and stabilisation of radioactive/toxic waste
- Luke Cartwright, Low-carbon solidification and stabilisation of radioactive/toxic waste
- Matthew Kilborn, Low-carbon solidification and stabilisation of radioactive/toxic waste
- Adam Perkins, Low-carbon solidification and stabilisation of radioactive/toxic waste
- Gregory Walker, Low-carbon solidification and stabilisation of radioactive/toxic waste
2019/20 MEng researchers
- Taha Giurani, Understanding the nanostructure of radionuclide-loaded cement wasteforms
- Sean Neary, Determining radionuclide retention in loaded cementitious wasteforms
- Robert Peyton, Resolving the microstructure, morphology and phase assemblage of radionuclide-loaded cement wasteforms
- Hashim Rehman, Reaction mechanisms and kinetics of radionuclide-loaded cement wasteforms
- Befekadu Semeneh, Determining the encapsulation limit in radionuclide-loaded cement wasteforms
I'm always keen to support people who are passionate about the development of sustainable materials, chemical engineering, materials chemistry and science and engineering more generally. Prospective PhD/PDRA/Research Fellows are encouraged to send me an expression of interest along with their CV. There are a number of scholarship schemes through which prospective PhD researchers can apply for PhD funding, as well as schemes to support postdoctoral and research fellows, and I will gladly support talented individuals in these applications for projects which align with the broad research themes below.
- Materials for sustainable infrastructure
- Materials for environmental remediation
- Materials for sustainable energy production and storage
Prospective PhD/PDRA/Research Fellows who have already secured funding are also very welcome to propose their own research ideas.
- 2021 - Life cycle assessment of sustainable cement (EPSRC and Energy Institute)
- 2021 - Understanding reaction mechanisms, kinetics and structural evolution in low-carbon cements (EPSRC)
- 2021 - Reaction mechanisms and kinetics in geopolymer cements for radioactive waste disposal (EPSRC, GREEN CDT w/ Sellafield Ltd.)
- 2020 - Enhancing analytical capabilities in soils for low-carbon technologies (White Rose Collaboration Fund)
- 2020 - Iodine abatement in irradiated nuclear fuel recycling (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy)
- 2019 - Developing additives to improve durability and engineering properties of alkali-activated materials (Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership w/ Lubrizol Ltd.)
2018 - Research into the development and chemistry of sustainable cement and concrete materials (Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co Ltd)
- Professional activities and recognition
- Associate Member, Institute of Chemical Engineers
- Affiliate Member of RILEM (Member of Technical Committees TC-267 TRM and TC-281 CCC)
- Editorial Panel Member of ICE Construction Materials
- Guest Editor, Frontiers in Built Environment
- Guest Editor, Sustainability
- Invited Expert Panel Member of Net Zero: Decarbonising Construction, UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
- Invited reviewer for more than 340 international journals
- Undergraduate Teaching Award recipient, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, 2020
- Development Opportunity Award recipient, 2018 and 2019
- First Prize, 6th Early Career Presentation Contest, World Materials Research Institute Forum, 2018
- Dedicated Outstanding Thesis Mentor Award recipient, 2017 and 2018
- Learned Society Fund Award recipient, 2017, 2018 and 2019
- Environmental Mineralogy Group Early Career Researcher Bursary recipient, 2017
- The Deal Recognition Award recipient, 2017
- The University of Melbourne MATS scholar, 2015
- Best Tutor Award, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Melbourne, 2015
- The University of Melbourne PORES scholar, 2014
- Australian Ceramic Society Bursary recipient, 2014
- Best Paper - First Prize, 34th Annual Cement and Concrete Science Conference, 2014
- Australian Research Council Special Research Centre PFPC Travel Grant recipient, 2013 and 2014
- Australian Research Council APA scholar, 2012 – 2016