Research themes

Construction Materials

Many research projects involve alkali-activated and geopolymer binders, for use in construction and infrastructure, aiming to drastically reduce the CO2 emissions footprint of the global construction materials industry.

We use advanced characterisation techniques - particularly high-resolution spectroscopy, including solid-state NMR, and synchrotron and neutron beamline-based methods – to give an unsurpassed level of understanding of these new materials.

We are also highly active in the technical committees of RILEM, working towards improvements in the science that underpins standards and specifications worldwide.

Focus areas:

  • Geopolymers – chemical and engineering properties
  • Chemistry of alkali aluminosilicate gels, including thermodynamic modelling
  • Other alkali-activated and Portland cement-hybrid concrete systems
  • Rheology control
  • Waste valorisation by alkali-activation

Nuclear Waste Immobilisation

Our research in nuclear waste immobilisation centres on the development, characterisation and use of advanced and traditional cementitious materials to enable the safe long-term storage and eventual disposal of wastes resulting from the nuclear fuel cycle. We also design innovative cements for the immobilisation of hazardous wastes resulting from other areas of industry and society.

Focus areas:

  • Performance prediction for cemented nuclear wasteforms, present and future
  • Novel cementing binders for nuclear and radioactive wastes: alkali and alkali-earth silicates, aluminates, phosphates and sulfoaluminates
  • Immobilisation of heavy metals
  • Mass transport properties of cemented wasteforms

Recent contributions

Cements@Sheffield researchers have contributed to, and continue to work on, major initiatives to improve sustainability in the construction sector:

Industrial Collaborations

We collaborate extensively with UK and international partners on a range of projects. Many of our projects are either directly sponsored by industry (as joint research or as consultancy), or involve extensive industrial collaboration in third party-funded work.

If you would like to contact us regarding a potential research or consulting project, please contact Prof. John Provis (+44 114 222 5490 or, and we will be more than happy to discuss ideas, needs and opportunities.


RILEM (from the French name Réunion Internationale des Laboratoires et Experts des Matériaux, systèmes de construction et ouvrages; with the English translation International Meeting of Laboratories and Experts of Materials, Construction Systems and Structures) is the peak scientific body for construction materials research.

RILEM exists to advance scientific knowledge related to construction materials, systems and structures and to encourage transfer and application of this knowledge worldwide. Many of our researchers are active members of RILEM and its Technical Committees - click the links below for more information about works we are involved with.

247-DTA: Durability testing of alkali-activated materials

The primary aim of this TC is to provide recommendations regarding appropriate test methodologies and protocols for the analysis of the durability of alkali-activated binders, mortars and concretes

CCC: Carbonation of concrete with supplementary cementitious materials

Supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) have a long history of being used as partial replacement of Portland cement in concrete. The primary aim of this TC is to assess carbonation of Portland cement blended with SCMs, as well as alkali-activated materials.

267-TRM: Tests for reactivity of supplementary cementitious materials

The primary aim of this TC is to develop and critically assess a range of methods to assess the potential reactivity of a material for use as an SCM.

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