The University of Wolverhampton

Concrete development tackled by student

Ground-breaking research into the structure of concrete is being conducted by an 82 year old PhD student from the University of Wolverhampton.

Philip Owens, who also makes up one third of the industrial consultancy firm ‘Nustone Ltd’, is investigating a way to vary concrete density using combinations of normal and light-weight coarse aggregate materials such as clay.

If successful, Philip’s research will enable the creation of a light-weight concrete structure which could benefit the country economically and environmentally.

His quest was given a boost when he, along with other post-graduate students from the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, were invited to meet David Gauke MP, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, in the House of Commons.

There Philip, alongside his University supervisor Professor Jamal Khatib, explained how detritus clay removed from tunnels by the Crossrail project in London would be the ideal raw material for the manufacture of lightweight aggregates that would make structural concrete 25% lighter and buildings less expensive to construct.

Speaking about his research, Philip Owens said: “Concrete is not very friendly to the environment, thus any initiative to conserve resources or to reduce its impact is ideal for research.

“More efficient structural concrete has used light-weight aggregates (LWA) for at least 100-years, but suitable supplies of LWA have been intermittent.

“Currently in London, tunnels are being driven through clay, which makes a very good LWA. The benefit of Nustone's LWA proposal is that every tonne of London clay used to manufacture LWA is equivalent to three tonnes of normal coarse aggregate.

“This then contributes significantly to the conservation of normal aggregate reserves, without reducing the overall effectiveness of concrete.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Patrick Campbell in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322448

Date Issued: Friday 5 July 2013

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