22 October 2019

Professor Kypros Pilakoutas awarded Research Chair by the Royal Academy of Engineering

Congratulations to Professor Kypros Pilakoutas, who has been awarded a Research Chair by the Royal Academy of Engineering to investigate how to improve the performance of large concrete industrial floors in order to reduce their environmental impact and make construction processes more efficient.

CIV Kypros

The Royal Academy of Engineering has awarded Professor Kypros Pilakoutas a Research Chair in Innovative and Sustainable Fibre Reinforced Concrete for his work into making the use of concrete in construction more sustainable. 

Concrete is the world’s most widely used construction material but its widespread use impacts heavily on the environment. Professor Pilakoutas’s work aims to improve the performance of large concrete industrial floors, reducing their environmental impact and automating the construction process.

The main binder in concrete is cement, which shrinks when mixed with water during the hardening process. This can lead to cracks large enough to allow the ingress of water and chemicals that can damage the structure, and is the main cause of infrastructure deterioration. Professor Pilakoutas’s work will provide a better understanding of the process and how cracks can be controlled in a variety of concrete mixes with different binders, aggregates and reinforcements, including recycled materials. This will lead to better design guidelines and tools for assessing environmental impact and result in more sustainable, robust and durable structures.

He says: “What fascinates me most about engineering is how changes in materials drive changes in structural form, and thus construction practices as a whole. The challenges facing the concrete industry are significant: not only do we still need to better understand material behaviour, but we need to demonstrate the sustainability of our solutions. This project will provide the design guidelines and life cycle assessment tools necessary to promote such solutions.”

The concrete industry needs to better understand material behaviour, and researchers need to demonstrate the sustainability of our solutions. Professor Pilakoutas is working with Twintec, a rapidly expanding world-leading flooring contractor, which offers innovative and sustainable solutions. This project will provide the design guidelines and life cycle assessment tools necessary to promote such solutions.

Our concrete research has been leading the way on the use of recycled fibres and aggregates as well as geopolymers, and with the recent creation of ICAIR, the project also has access to expertise in automation, robotics and optical recognition.

The Royal Academy of Engineering provides the prestige needed to convince infrastructure owners and standardisation committees to rapidly adopt innovations generated by the project.

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