News archive

Previous updates from the Cements@Sheffield group



The CSA Cements Seminar 

The Cements@Sheffield team were delighted to be partner with the University of California, Los Angeles, to host the first CSA Cements Seminar. 

More information about the event can be found on the dedicated web page.   


Researchers explore new technique to improve sustainability in slaked lime and soda ash production

New research shows how the decarbonisation of calcium carbonate could reduce CO2 emissions across the cement, lime, slaked lime, and soda ash industries. 

A lime mine in Brandenberg, Germany

Academics from the University of Sheffield have published new research on alternative methods to decarbonise calcium carbonate to produce slaked lime and soda ash. Conducted at ambient conditions, these methods produce slaked lime without combustion while sequestering the process CO2 into the stable mineral Na2CO3. By doing this the emissions in the conventional calcination route are avoided.

Five new papers on the research have been published by Professor John Provis, Hajime Kinoshita, Theodore Hanein, Marco Simoni and colleagues.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Marco Simoni said: “Our research demonstrates how we can improve sustainability in the cement, lime, slaked lime, and soda ash industries through the decarbonisation of calcium carbonate. However, the real change can only occur when we all commit to drastic changes in the methods we use and aim to create a circular economy in all areas possible." 

The papers can be found at the links below: 

Decarbonisation of calcium carbonate at atmospheric temperatures and pressures, with simultaneous CO2 capture, through production of sodium carbonate

Theodore Hanein, Marco Simoni, Chun Long Woo, John L. Provis and Hajime Kinoshita 

Decarbonisation of calcium carbonate in sodium hydroxide solutions under ambient conditions: effect of residence time and mixing rates 

Marco Simoni, Theodore Hanein, Chun Long Woo, Mark Tyrer, Magnus Nyberg, Juan-Carlos Martinez, Nestor I. Quintero-Mora, John L. Provis and Hajime Kinoshita  

Synthesis of Ca(OH)2 and Na2CO3 through anion exchange between CaCO3 and NaOH: effect of reaction temperature 

Marco Simoni, Theodore Hanein, Chun Long Woo, Magnus Nyberg, Mark Tyrer, John L. Provis and Hajime Kinoshita 

Effect of Impurities on the Decarbonization of Calcium Carbonate Using Aqueous Sodium Hydroxide

Marco Simoni, Theodore Hanein, Chun Long Woo, John L. Provis and Hajime Kinoshita 

Decarbonising the lime industry: state-of-the-art, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 

Marco Simoni, Mathew D Wilkes, Solomon Brown, John L. Provis., Hajime Kinoshita, and Theo Hanein.

July 2022

PhD opportunities: FeRICH project

We have 2 exciting PhD opportunities currently advertised which tackle problems with cement sustainability by investigating alternative raw materials for manufacture and their hydration: 

Full details of the project can be found using the above links. Both projects will be based in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and candidates will join the Cements@Sheffield research group. These projects are part of the FeRICH scheme and include potential for 3 month placements at other participating institutions (see project listing for details). This studentship will pay Home tuition fees and a stipend for living expenses for 3.5 years at the RCUK rate. EU and other nationals may be eligible for Home-student fees.

Should you have any questions please contact Dr. Theo Hanein.

July 2022

PhD vacancy: Cement-superplasticiser interactions in nuclear wasteforms

Are you interested in taking part in cutting edge cement research to better understand how to safely dispose of nuclear waste? This PhD opportunity may be for you! The project aims to improve understanding of cement-superplasticiser interactions in blended Portland cement wasteforms. Full details can be found here.

This interdisciplinary project spans chemical and materials engineering, being part of the Sustainable Materials at Sheffield group (in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering) and the Cements@Sheffield group (in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering). Furthermore, this project will work in collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd, and the PhD studentship is fully funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The studentship is available for a student from the United Kingdom or from the European Union with 3 years residency in the UK.

Please contact Dr. Brant Walkley should you have further questions.


New paper alert 

New publication time! Have you wondered how high temperature decarbonisation of calcium carbonate, a key process in the production of cement, can be mitigated to help reduce CO2 emissions? Have a read of this  recent paper published in Energy and Environmental Science: Decarbonisation of calcium carbonate at atmospheric temperatures and pressures, with simultaneous CO2 capture, through production of sodium carbonate.

Hot off the back of COP26 this is a really fab piece of work, featuring a stellar Cements@Sheffield line up. Congratulations Theo Hanein, Marco Simoni, Chun Long Woo, John Provis and Hajime Kinoshita.

New associate editor 

Dr Theo Hanein

Congratulations to Theo Hanein who is now an Associate Editor for Advances in Cement Research

President of the PGR student committee

Congratulations to PhD student Tamara Chidiac on becoming the President of the Postgraduate Research Committee, a role which she is co-chairing with Paul Adams from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. 

PhD Vacancy: Evolution of Historic Cement Samples

We currently have a PhD vacancy advertised investigating evolution of historic cement samples. This project is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and will provide a valuable technical contribution to the UK’s nuclear sector in making the safety case for stability and durability of cemented wasteforms.

Learning from historical cement sample stores (UK students only)

This project is funded for a UK Home-qualified student, with a minimum stipend of £18,000 p.a. (UKRI stipend + £3000 p.a. top-up), and Home tuition fees, for a duration of 3.5 years. For further information or informal enquiries, please contact Prof. John Provis.


We're fortunate to be welcoming a lovely bunch of talented new researchers to the Cements@Sheffield and SMASH groups in the next few weeks. They are going to be working on a diverse range of projects covering issues surrounding cement sustainability and nuclear waste management. 

A huge welcome to:

Jess McWilliams - Investigating oil immobilisation in geopolymers (PREDIS project, GREEN CDT)
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, Sellafield Limited)
Kyle O'Donoghue - Geopolymer reaction mechanisms and kinetics for immobilisation of radioactive waste (EPSRC)

We're looking forward to getting to know to you and working with you on these exciting projects! 


Are you interested in being part of a globally leading research centre in the innovative and sustainable use of cementitious materials to resolve society’s most pressing problems? If so you are in luck! We currently have several exciting positions advertised - see full details below. 

PhD projects
Durability of belitic calcium sulfoaluminate cements (UK students only)
Physical properties of belitic calcium sulfoaluminate cements with/out addition of calcined clay (UK students only)

These projects will pay tuition fees in full and a RCUK rate stipend for living expenses for 3.5 years. The start date of studentship is 07 February 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. If you have any questions regarding any of these projects please contact Dr. Theo Hanein. Applications close on the 30th September 2021.

Research Associate in Cements for a Circular Economy

This research project is part of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials (ICIC-MCM) a collaboration led by UCL and involving The University of Sheffield, together with other academic and industrial partners. You will be the primary researcher conducting the Sheffield contribution to the Centre, and will work in close collaboration and partnership with industry. If you have any questions regarding this project please contact Prof. John Provis. Applications close on the 28th September 2021, and the position is fixed term from 1st November 2021 to 31st March 2023.

Dr. Theo Hanein awarded prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship

We are delighted that Dr Theo Hanein has been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship in the Round 5 “Green, Circular, and Smart Cement Manufacture” theme. He will soon be establishing a new research centre for experimental thermodynamics (CETUK) in Materials Science and Engineering here at the University of Sheffield, which is currently procuring the only high-temperature drop calorimeter in the country! 
We're so excited for the next stages of this to take shape, and are immensely proud of Theo's achievements - Congratulations!

Prof. John Provis receives RILEM Fellow Award

It give us great pleasure to announce that Prof. John Provis has been awarded the honorary title of RILEM Fellow. This award is bestowed upon RILEM Senior Members who have made exceptional contributions to RILEM in their capacities as research scientist, engineer, technical leader or educator. Congratulations John!

Cements@Sheffield at RILEM week 2021 conference 

Although travel is still problematic, the Cements@Sheffield research group are still managing to share their super interesting findings via virtual attendance at conferences. Last week 8 members of the group presented their work at the 75th RILEM annual week, hosted in Mérida, Mexico. 

Recent and upcoming publications!

Would you like to read about amorphous magnesium silicate phase formation during alkali activation of aluminosilicate glasses? If so you're in luck! See the latest work from a collaboration with the University of Oulu here.

Also, be on the look out for a special issue of Frontiers in Materials covering "New insights into the molecular structure of cementitious materials". This will feature our very own Prof. John Provis as Specialty Chief Editor and Dr Brant Walkley as Guest Editor, together with colleagues Dr Rupert Myers and Dr Gregor Gluth. Full details can be found here.

Sky news coverage for SMASH team

Check out this Ed Conway piece for Sky News featuring Dr Brant Walkley, talking about sustainable cement and how the answer to net zero lies here with us at The University of Sheffield. Members of Cements@Sheffield group and the SMASH research team are also featured, keep your eyes peeled for them!

New publication

Check out the very cool new publication in the Journal of Materials Science from Cements@Sheffield alumnus Dr Shishir Mundra, showing new insight on sulfide effects on steel corrosion. The paper is available open access here, so get reading!

PhD vacancies 

Would you like to come and work with us? We are currently seeking applications for 3 fully funded PhD positions:

The successful candidates will join the Cements@Sheffield and Sustainable Materials at Sheffield research teams. All projects are funded at UK/EU rates (covers fees, stipend and research expenses). If you have any questions regarding any of these projects please contact Dr. Brant Walkley

Prize winning poster Waste Management Symposia 2021 

Congratulations to Sarah Kearney, Brant Walkley and all co-authors involved in the "Best in Track" poster outlining their contributions to I-abatement within Off-gas capture. You can download the poster here. This work is part of the AFCP programme and the consortium includes contributors from NNL, University of Manchester and the University of Leeds.

New Publication

Check out the new open access publication from Marco Simoni and co-authors in Cement and Concrete Research here. The paper explores producing cement clinker assemblages in the system: CaO-SiO2-Al2O3-SO3-CaCl2-MgO. Congratulations on a fantastic first paper Marco!


Huge congratulations to our very own Dr Dan Geddes on passing his PhD viva today! Another lockdown celebration for now, but we're looking forward to celebrating together when possible!

SciBlogger interview with Prof. John Provis

Fancy hearing our very own John Provis talk about research, challenges, academia, and much more - including favourite smartphone apps? If so you're in luck! Check out this SciBlogger interview here

Join us!

We have 3 upcoming PhD studentships available covering research questions around construction applications and nuclear waste immobilisation. Full details will be made available soon, but if you are interested in these themes and would like to work with us please contact Dr. Brant Walkley or Prof. John Provis for more information.

Featured article in Journal of Materials Science

Congratulations to Dr. Aldo Sosa Gallardo and Prof. John Provis for their paper "Electrochemical cell design and impedance spectroscopy of cement hydration" being selected as the Editors Pick for January in the Journal of Materials Science.

The open access article can be found here, and has already managed to notch up an impressive 45k downloads - super popular! Go check it out!

Publication update! Magnesium potassium phosphate cement special

We have 3 brand new published articles for you all, focussing on the interesting characteristics and applications of magnesium potassium phosphate cements:

  1. Characterization of and Structural Insight into Struvite-K, MgKPO4·6H2O, an Analogue of Struvite 
  2. Temperature transformation of blended magnesium potassium phosphate cement binders 
  3. Early age hydration and application of blended magnesium potassium phosphate cements for reduced corrosion of reactive metals

All 3 papers showcase the fantastic research of Dr. Laura Gardner and collaborators, and are Gold Open access - so get reading!


Congratulations to Dr. Aldo Sosa Gallardo on recently being awarded his PhD! Well done, we hope you celebrate your well deserved success and are looking forward to celebrating in person when possible!

Adam Neville PhD prize awarded

We're incredibly proud to announce that Dr. Antonia Yorkshire, recent PhD graduate and current Research Associate in Cements@Sheffield, was awarded the prestigious Adam Neville Prize for the best national PhD in the field of cement and concrete! 

Dr Antonia Yorkshire receives the Adam Neville PhD 2020 award

Antonia successfully competed against finalists from the Universities of Lancaster, Cambridge and Leeds, who all presented their research to a panel of experts from the Neville Centre and the Concrete Society. The judges were very impressed by Antonia's presentation, which summarised the findings of her PhD Thesis entitled “Uranium, Plutonium and Technetium Interactions with Cement Minerals for Radioactive Waste Management”.

Huge congratulations Antonia! 

Sustainability in the cement and concrete sector publication

Check out the new publication co-authored by Prof. John Provis in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment titled "Environmental impacts and decarbonization strategies in the cement and concrete industries". This work looks at sustainability in the cement and concrete sector, a critically important area as we drive forwards with reducing carbon emissions. 

The full paper can be found here.

Virtual RILEM Week & CCSC Success

The first virtual RILEM week & CCSC has now finished, and was received overwhelmingly well. We would like to thank the organising committee (Dan Geddes, Sam Ghazizadeh, Sarah Kearney and Antonia Yorkshire) and the Cements@Sheffield team for working so hard to make this event a success. 

We're really proud of how well the event functioned, and hope that all the attendees enjoyed the week and found the event informative and interesting. Many thanks to the presenting authors, sessions chairs, and delegates for contributing and attending.


Absolutely delighted to congratulate 2 Cements@Sheffield researchers on passing their PhD vivas! Well done Dr Sarah Kearney and Dr Antonia Yorkshire, we hope you celebrate your well deserved success and are looking forward to celebrating in person when possible!

RILEM week and CCS Conference is GO!

It's a busy week here as we officially launch the first virtual RILEM annual week and Cement and Concrete Science Conference. Please see the conference website to access the latest conference schedule, joining links, and book of abstracts.

New appointments

Welcome on board to the new PDRA appointments made over the past couple of months! We would like to welcome officially welcome Dan Geddes, Antonia Yorkshire and Sarah Kearney.

Sarah is the new Managing Editor of Materials and Structures, the flagship journal of RILEM, and will also be working in collaboration with the Sustainable Materials at Sheffield (SMASH) research team devising an integrated approach to radioiodine removal and disposal (full details here).

Antonia's work focuses on Safe, efficient cementation of challenging radioactive wastes using AAMs as part of the UK-Japan Civil Nuclear Research Programme funded by EPSRC.

Dan is working on Research into the development and chemistry of sustainable cement and concrete materials (funded by Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co Ltd) as a member of Cements@Sheffield and the Sustainable Materials at Sheffield (SMASH) research group.

Congratulations to Masters students

Huge congratulations to our current master students who are finishing their project reports at the moment, which will be completed by mid-August. You have all done a really impressive job of responding to the challenges of the year!

Cements@Sheffield publications in Cement and Concrete Research

The Cements@Sheffield team have been busy writing! The latest issue of Cement and Concrete Research contain 3 papers from the group and collaborators. Check out the full issue here which contains the following articles:

"Estimation of standard molar entropy of cement hydrates and clinker minerals" by Dr Sam Ghazizadeh, Dr Theodore Hanein, Prof John Provis, and Prof Thomas Matschei.

"The role of zinc in metakaolin-based geopolymers" by Dr Lei Wang, Daniel Geddes, Dr Brant Walkley, Prof John Provis, Prof Viktor Mechtcherine, and Prof Daniel Tsang.

"Thermodynamic modelling of phase evolution in alkali-activated slag cements exposed to carbon dioxide" by Dr Xinyuan Ke, Prof Susan Bernal, Prof John Provis, and Prof Barbara Lothenbach

New research funding for SMASH

Congratulations to Dr. Brant Walkley for recent funding awards for the SMASH research group! Two projects related to BEIS "Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme" have been awarded, focusing on Iodine and Carbon-14 abatement in fuel recycling. Full details can be found here.

Cements@Sheffield return to lab

We're pleased to announce that in line with the University of Sheffield we are beginning to return campus, which means that the long awaited return to laboratory is in sight for our researchers! We're all very excited to get back to the practical side of our research projects. Huge thanks to the department and staff for their hard work that will enable us to return to work safely.

74th RILEM Annual Week and 40th Cement and Concrete Science Conference moved online

We have taken the decision to move the 74th RILEM Annual Week and 40th Cement and Concrete Science Conference (31 Aug – 4 Sep 2020) (both the conference and all associated committee meetings) to an online format. We are sorry to have to take this step, but are still excited for you all to attend virtually. Please find updated information here, and this page will be revised with new information as planning progresses.

Low carbon cement collaboration between University of Sheffield and University of Oulu

Collaboration between Dr Theo Hanein and Visa Isteri at the University of Oulu has produced low carbon cement materials from inorganic industrial wastes, successfully creating symbiotic solutions for industrial waste streams. Read more on this fascinating project here.

Dr. Theo Hanein and collaborator Visa Isteri from the University of Oulu

Dan Geddes wins Best Poster prize at Materials Research Exchange 2020

Dan Geddes recently won the Poster Competition at the Materials Research Exchange for his poster titled "Cements@Sheffield: 100 years of Sustainable Research" which outlined past and current research being completed by the research team. Well done Dan!

Dan Geddes with the Best Poster award at MRE 2020

Tamara Chidiac awarded Best Presentation at DuRSAAM meeting

Congratulations to PhD student Tamara Chidiac who was awarded Best Presentation at the PhD seminar for DuRSAAM, held at KIT, Germany on the 30/01/2020. DuRSAAM is the PhD training network on Durable, Reliable and Sustainable Structures with Alkali-Activated Materials, and more information can be found here.

Cements@Sheffield attend URBCON 4th partner meeting 

Prof. John Provis and Laura Stefani attended the URBCON partner meeting in Ghent, and presented their findings on test mixtures of sustainable concrete. More information on this multi-partner project on sustainable concrete can be found here.

Prof. John Provis Editor in Chief of Materials and Structures

Congratulations to Prof. John Provis on his appointment as the new Editor in Chief of the prestigious Materials and Structures journal.

Cements@Sheffield at the ICCC 2019

Cements@Sheffield recently attended the 15th International Congress on the Chemistry of Cement in Prague, enjoying an interesting week of world class research. The research team were very busy giving several excellent presentations and posters, but we managed to snap a quick photo of us all between the science!

The Cements at Sheffield research team at ICCC 2019.
Cements@Sheffield at ICCC 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Brant Walkley on new role!

Congratulations to Dr. Brant Walkley on his recent appointment as Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering here at Sheffield. We wish you all the best and look forward to many new exciting collaborations!

Congratulations to Cements@Sheffield and ISL PhD graduates!

Huge congratulations to Dr Rebecca Sanderson and Dr Shishir Mundra who recently graduated with much-deserved PhD degrees! Well done folks!

Professor John Provis named Fellow of the American Ceramic Society

Congratulations to Professor John Provis who has recently been named a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, representing not only cements@sheffeild but Materials Science and Engineering and the Immobilisation Science Laboratory at the University of Sheffield in the ACerS Cements Division. 

Find out more at

Welcome Lei Wang, visiting researcher from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dr. Lei Wang (Leo) obtained his PhD degree from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and was awarded the Humboldt Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Leo is visiting the Cements@Sheffield research group from November 2018 to May 2019 and his research will focus on stabilizaition/solidification of industrial sludge by alkali-activated materials. Welcome Leo!

Dan Geddes wins Poster Competition at UK NDA PhD Bursary Seminar

Doctoral student Dan Geddes recently won the Poster Competition at the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDS) PhD Bursary Seminar for his poster examining early-age properties of geopolymer cements for nuclear waste immobilisation. Well done Dan!

Cements@Sheffield attends NUWCEM

Several members of the Cements@Sheff team attended the 3rd International Symposium on Cement-Based Materials for Nuclear Wastes conference in Avignon, France last week.

Hosted by the CEA and SFEN at the incredible Palais des Papes, our group provided 4 oral presentations and 3 poster presentations covering novel research on irradiation effects in Portland cement and geopolymer systems, radionuclide retention, leaching of backfill materials and phosphate modified CAC binders.

The conference took place between the 24-26/10/18 and provided a great forum for discussion with the international community, allowing new connections and collaborations to be fostered.

Dr Juho Yliniemi awarded 'Best Presentation' at Young Researchers' Forum IV

Visiting researcher Dr Juho Yliniemi (University of Oulu, Finland) was recently awarded the prize for 'Best Presentation' at the Young Researchers' Forum IV - Innovation in Construction Materials held in Newcastle on April 9th 2018.

The event was organised by the Department of Architecture and Built Environment (Faculty of Engineering and Environment) at Northumbria University, and was supported by IOM3, SCI, Institute of Concrete Technology and Newcastle Gateshead Initiative. Well done Juho!

Congratulations Cements@Sheffield and ISL graduates!

A big congratulations to Dr Xinyuan Ke and Dr Ross Peel who recently graduated with very well-earned PhD degrees!

Dr Ke was also awarded the Department Ceramics Prize for the best PhD thesis in the area of ceramics. Well done!

Welcome Juho Yliniemi, visiting researcher from the University if Oulu, Finland

Dr Juho Yliniemi (University of Oulu, Finland) is visiting the Cements@Sheffield research group for the first six months of 2018. He will be working with Cements@Sheffield researchers on a project focused on production of low-CO2 cements via alkali-activation of mineral wool wastes. Welcome Juho!

Second International Conference on Calcined Clays for Sustainable Concrete, 2017

The 2nd International Conference on Calcined Clays for Sustainable Concrete in Havana, Cuba, was a great success for the Cements@Shef research group.

As a research group we have presented ground breaking research on the chemical and physical properties of geopolymer materials and their potential applications in infrastructure and in nuclear decommissioning.

Farewell lunch for Dr Zhijun Tan

Today Cements@Sheffield said farewell to Dr Zhijun Tan. Dr Tan has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Cements@Sheffield for the past 3 years, and we wish him well as he shifts into industry.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch at a local pizzeria, and managed to capture a few photos of Tan with the group before he departs. All the best Tan!

Cement and Concrete Science Conference 2017

Cements@Sheffield researchers recently attended The Cement and Concrete Science Conference (CCSC), the leading UK conference on cementitious materials.

Hosted by the Advanced & Innovative Materials Group at University College London and organised by the IOM3 Cementitious Materials Group, the conference took place on the 11th and 12th of September 2017.

Of the two hundred delegates that attended, eight were from the University of Sheffield (UoS). One hundred and fifty papers were presented at the 37th CCSC; ten of which were presented by the cements@sheffield team. The conference allowed the attending academic and industrial scholars and practitioners to meet and discuss their research topics which included: cement manufacture and hydration, concrete durability and sustainability, nuclear waste immobilization, and low carbon technologies.

Find out more here.

Visit to Hope Cement Works 2017

Situated in the centre of the Peak District National Park (Derbyshire), Hope Cement Works is currently part of the Breedon Group and employs 165 people.

It produces approximately 1.5 million tonnes of cement per year (approximately 0.05% of the world’s cement production!).

The day involved presentations from both HOPE Cement Works and the University of Sheffield personnel, a visit to the limestone quarry, a tour of the labs and a tour of the plant to see the the key operations.

Find out more here.

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