Research themes


Focus areas

  • Calcium sulfoaluminate based cement technology
  • MgO-based cements
  • Chemical carbonation and decarbonation
  • Clinker thermochemistry
  • Geopolymer and alkali-activated cements
  • Material circularisation
  • Nuclear waste immobilisation (please see below)
  • Portland cement hybrid systems
  • Pyro-processing/calcination
  • Waste valorisation

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 visit our contacts page


RILEM is the International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures. It is called RILEM from the name in French - Réunion Internationale des Laboratoires et Experts des Matériaux, systèmes de construction et ouvrages. 

RILEM is a world-leading association that focuses on the global advancement of scientific knowledge related to construction materials, systems and structures. Founded in 1947, RILEM’s mission is to collaborate with leading experts in construction science and practice, including academics, researchers, industrialists, testing laboratories and authorities. Cements@Sheffield researchers are active members of RILEM; being a part of its Technical Committees and also involved in the editorial boards in its key publications. Click the links below for more information about the main activities of RILEM that we are involved with:

Technical Committees (TCs)

UMW : Upcycling Powder Mineral “Wastes” into Cement Matrices

This TC aims to compile the plethora of available information and knowledge on the reuse and upcycling of all mineral wastes in cementitious matrices. It will investigate the landscape of mineral wastes by developing an inventory and map of global resources. In addition, it will explore the state-of-the-art of utilisation of these wastes in various binders.

MBC : Magnesia-based binders in concrete

Magnesia-based binders have gained more interest due to their positive impact on the contribution towards the Global Cement and Concrete Association’s (GCCA) Roadmap for Net Zero Concrete, which sets the target to reach net zero concrete by the year 2050. The main objective of this RILEM TC committee is to take stock of the knowledge created so far, define the major open scientific and technological questions, elucidate the main reaction mechanisms and help bring cohesion and coordination to the field of Mg-based binders.

294-MPA : Mechanical properties of alkali-activated concrete

This TC aims to gather the available information related to mechanical properties and mechanical behaviour of alkali-activated concrete. All relevant mechanical properties of alkali-activated concrete are considered within the scope of this TC, such as compressive strength and softening behaviour, tensile strength, flexural strength, elastic modulus, bond behaviour, shear strength, tension stiffening, creep, drying shrinkage, autogenous shrinkage, restrained-shrinkage and early age cracking.

283-CAM : Chloride transport in alkali-activated materials

This TC addresses critical questions related to the rate and mechanisms of chloride transport in alkali-activated binders and concretes, intending to draft Recommendations for the appropriate selection and application of testing methods. Research and development in alkali-activated materials is active in academia, government laboratories and commercial environments worldwide; therefore, the members of this TC come from across these backgrounds.

282-CCL : Calcined Clays as Supplementary Cementitious Materials

The scarcity of common supplementary cementitious materials has prompted the use of calcined clays as an alternative. There are a growing number of research groups working on the subject of calcined clays in Europe, Asia and Latin America. This TC aims to provide recommendations for the characterization of suitable clays for the production of reactive calcined clays, report on the use of calcined clays in cementitious systems, and to communicate findings to standardisation communities.

CCC: Carbonation of concrete with supplementary cementitious materials

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

PHC : Performance testing of hydraulic cements

In view of the urgent need to reduce CO2 from cement production, more and more “blended” or “composite” cements are being developed and used.  Currently less than 25% of the cements sold world-wide are what is usually referred to as OPC (>95% Portland clinker). To accommodate these new blends the current “prescriptive” cement standards are getting more and more complex. The aim of this committee will be to prepare the way for performance approaches to defining cements suitable for application and look at existing and new test methods of performance. The work of this committee will be critical to preparing standards which are suitable world-wide and not just based on practice in Europe or North America. 

Past TC highlights 

247-DTA: Durability testing of alkali-activated materials

The primary aim of this TC was to provide recommendations regarding appropriate test methodologies and protocols for the analysis of the durability of alkali-activated binders, mortars and concretes. Please find the main publications that resulted from this TC below.

267-TRM: Tests for reactivity of supplementary cementitious materials

The primary aim of this TC is to develop and critically examine a range of methods to assess the potential reactivity of a material for use as an SCM. This will include slags and combinations of SCM in addition to pure pozzolans. The main publications that resulted from this TC are below:

224-AAM:Alkali activated materials

The primary aim of the Alkali Activated Materials Committee was to develop performance-based specifications and recommendations for the development of Standards that are specifically applicable to these classes of materials. A key publication that resulted from this TC can be found below:

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