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Doctoral Student Zengliang Yue awarded prestigious Adam Neville Prize

The 2023 Adam Neville Prize for best national PhD in the field of cement has been awarded to Zengliang Yue from Royce Partner the University of Leeds for his project titled ‘A novel multi-physics modelling framework to reduce the uncertainty of the carbonation resistance and carbon capture potential of concrete materials’.

The prestigious award was developed in honour of the late Professor Adam Neville, a world-leading expert in concrete and former Head of University of Leeds’ Department of Civil Engineering.

Yue’s project focused on developing the fundamental knowledge needed to better understand the factors which influence the micro-structure of sodium sulfate-activated slag cements and how exposure to CO2 might affect these materials.

The important research will support the development of a modelling framework to simulate and predict the long-term performance of concrete when exposed to different environmental conditions.

Yue was able to explore the mechanisms leading to CO2 uptake by novel cements, as well as identifying strategies for producing low carbon cement with a reduced carbon footprint and enhanced longevity.

Yue’s work was commended with this prestigious award due to his project’s originality, technical rigour and scientific excellence, alongside his effective communication of the findings.

Utilising NXCT’s Zeiss Xradia 520 Versa, Yue was able to develop pioneering research applying XCT (X-ray computed tomography) and synchrotron XRD-CT (X-ray diffraction computed tomography) to elucidate the pore structure and the chemical alterations induced by CO2 exposure in of alkali-activated materials, which are a new type of low carbon cement.

Yue also attended specialised NXCT training courses to further develop his knowledge and skills in tomography data collection and processing, which contributed significantly to his final project.

With the input of colleagues from NXCT and the Henry Royce Institute, Yue was also able to access facilities and expertise from the University of Manchester and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France.

On winning the award and his experience conducting his project, Zengliang Yue said:

“I am deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award, a recognition that not only acknowledges my dedication to alkali-activated materials but also fuels my passion for pushing the boundaries of knowledge and innovation.

“My heartfelt thanks go to the collaborative efforts of the School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, NXCT, and the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Manchester.

“Their unwavering support and provision of access to cutting-edge technologies have been instrumental throughout this transformative PhD journey. I eagerly anticipate further contributions, leveraging world-leading technology to propel the application of alkali-activated cement as a crucial material to reduce CO2 emissions in construction.”