Prof. Susan A Bernal
- Position: Professor of Structural Materials
- Areas of expertise: Traditional and alternative cements; cement materials characterisation; wastes management and valorisation; durability of cement and concrete
- Email: S.A.BernalLopez@leeds.ac.uk
- Location: Civil Engineering Building, room 1.11
- Website: | LinkedIn | Googlescholar | Researchgate | ORCID
Susan is Professor of Structural Materials in the School of Civil Engineering at University of Leeds, and holds a prestigious EPSRC Early Career Fellowship in Multi-scale Engineering of Sustainable Concretes. Previously she was University Academic Fellow in Cementitious Materials at Leeds (2018-2019), and Research Fellow in Cements in the world leading NucleUS Immobilisation Science Laboratory in Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Sheffield (2012-2018). During that period she also held a one year appointment (2015-2016) as Lecturer in Concrete Technology in the Civil and Structural Engineering Department of this University. Prior to this, she was a Postdoctoral fellow (2009-2010) with Professor Jørgen Skibsted in the iNANO Instrument Center for Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy at Aarhus University, Denmark, and she then undertook a Research Fellow position (2010-2012) focusing on durability assessment of alkali-activated concretes, with Professor Jannie van Deventer and Professor John Provis in the Chemical Engineering Department at The University of Melbourne, Australia.
- Recipient of one of the Materials and Structures Outstanding Paper 2022 Awards – see paper here.
- Recipient of the 2022 RILEM Robert L’Hermite medal, in recognition of exceptional scientific contribution to the field of construction materials and structures.
- Recipient of the 2021 The Kavli Foundation Early Career Lectureship in Materials Science by the Materials Research Society (MRS), in recognition of significant novel contributions to materials science.
- Recipient of the 2020 IOM3 Rosenhain Medal and Prize for distinguished achievements in any branch of materials science – read more here
- Recipient of one of the Materials and Structures Outstanding Paper 2020 Awards – see paper here
- Recipients of one of the 2018 ICE Advances in Cement Research Prize (Best paper in the journal) - see paper here
- Recipient of one of the two 2016 RILEM Gustavo Colonnetti medals for outstanding scientific contributions to the field of construction materials and structures
- Recipient of one of the 2016 Distinguished Graduate Awards, Faculty of Engineering, Universidad del Valle, Colombia, in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions promoting regional development.
- Recipient of one of the Walter Mangold Trust Fund scholarship for studies in Australia, 2008. The programme provided funding for a 1-year occupational trainee position in The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Melbourne, Australia.
- Recipient of a COLCIENCIAS DEng Scholarship, 2005: Enhancement of Colombian Scientific Community through National Doctorate Programmes. (Fortalecimiento de la comunidad científica a través del programa de doctorados nacionales, Créditos condonables COLCIENCIAS).
Ongoing Professional Activities
- Member of the IOM3 Cementitious Materials group, part the newly formed Ceramics Group, since 2023
- Deputy-Chair of the RILEM technical committee TC 281 – CCC: Carbonation of concrete with supplementary cementitious materials, since 2017.
- Member of the RILEM technical committee TC UMW – Upcycling powder mineral “wastes” into cement matrices, since 2023.
- Member of the RILEM technical committee TC MCP – Accelerated mineral carbonation for the production of construction materials, since 2022.
- Member of the RILEM technical committee TC 294 – MPA: Mechanical properties of alkali-activated concretes, since 2019.
- Member of the RILEM technical committee TC 283 – CAM: Chloride transport in alkali-activated materials, since 2018.
- Member of the RILEM technical committee TC 282 – CCL: Calcined clays as supplementary cementitious materials, since 2018.
Ongoing Commisions of Trust
- Member of the UKRI Talent Peer-Review College. Since 2021
- Materials and Structures Group Lead, School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds. Since 2020
- Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College. Since 2019
- Editor, Cement and Concrete Research. Since 2022
- Associate Editor, RILEM Technical Letters. Since 2016
Ongoing Research Projects
- 2023 – 2024. Up-scaling on-site CO2 utilisation for decarbonisation of dispersed cement sector: a novel route to reliable net-zero concretes. IDRIC Wave 2 funding. X. Key (PI, U. Bath), P. Rainford (Heriot-Watt U.) & S.A. Bernal (U. Leeds).
- 2022 – 2026. Engineering UK clays for production of low carbon cements. EPSRC grant (EP/W021811/1). U. Leeds investigators: L. Black, A. Marsh, S.A. Bernal; in collaboration with colleagues from Imperial College London and British Geological Survey.
- 2022 – 2025. Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Wienerberger Ltd. U. Leeds investigators: S.A. Bernal (PI), J. Forth (co-I) & A. Marsh (co-I)
- 2022 – 2025. Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Sika Ltd. U. Leeds investigators: S.A. Bernal (PI) & L. Black (co-I)
- 2021 – 2024. UKRI Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre For Mineral-based Construction Materials. EPSRC grant (EP/V011820/1). U. Leeds investigators: L. Black, O. Iuorio, C. Velis & S.A. Bernal; in collaboration with colleagues from UCL, Loughborough U., Imperial College London, Lancaster U. & U. Sheffield.
- 2021 – 2023. Transforming Foundation Industries – A Network plus towards value by innovation. EPSRC / ISCF grant (EP/V026402/1). Investigator: I. Reaney (U. Sheffield, Director), S.A. Bernal (U. Leeds, Co-Director), W. Sampson (U. Manchester) and C. Preydell-Pearce (Swansea U.)
- 2020 – 2023. CMMI-EPSRC RENACEM: Response to CO2 exposure of concrete with natural supplementary cementitious materials. NSF-EPSRC Lead Agency grant (EP/T008407/1 and 1903457). UK Investigators: S.A. Bernal (UK-PI), J.L. Provis, L. Black & P.A.M. Basheer; US Investigators: M. Juenger (US-PI) & L. Katz
- 2019 - 2023. Design-for-manufacture of 3D concrete printed structural composites (DfM:3DCP). EPSRC grant (EP/S019650/1). Investigators: L. Susmel (PI), R. de Borst, J.P. Provis & S.A. Bernal
- 2018 - 2024. Multicale engineering of alkali-activated concretes for sustainable infrastructure. EPSRC Early Career Fellowship (EP/R001642/1). Investigator: S.A Bernal
Susan and her team research centres on novel cements and concretes, particularly focusing on waste management and valorisation, multi-scale infrastructure materials characterisation, durability assessment, and improving sustainability of novel cement and concrete technologies. Specifically Susan focuses on:
(i) Development, characterisation and exploitation of advanced and non-traditional cement and cement and concrete technologies, including:
- Design of bespoke cements including geopolymers and alkali-activated materials for waste management and/or valorisation.
- Determining the factors controlling phase assemblage evolution and stability of non-Portland cements, including application of thermodynamic modelling.
- Mechanisms leading to structural modifications of Portland and non-Portland cements exposed to aggressive environments, emphasising chemical/physical binding of anions/cations and structural phase transformations.
- Validation of testing methods for physicochemical characterisation of supplementary cementitious materials
- Development and validation of standardised testing methods to determine performance of alkali-activated materials
(ii) Evaluation of fit-for-purpose cementitious wasteforms for immobilisation of nuclear wastes, including:
- Chemical/physical binding mechanisms of radionuclides in cements with different chemistries
- Phase assemblage evolution and stability of Portland and non-Portland based cementitious wasteforms
- Effect of radiation in cementitious systems
(iii) Sustainability aspects of novel cement and concrete technologies
- Waste management and valorisation for production of low carbon construction materials
- Circularity of cement and concretes integrating durability concepts
- Infrastructure for well-being
Current team members
- James McKeen (BEng)
- Ella Shuttleworth (BEng)
- Similda Turay (BEng)
- Thomas King-Cline (MEng)
- Adam Dawson (BEng)
- Jessica Inacio Boa (BEng)
- Mithun Sabramaniam (MSc)
- Abdulaziz Almanzel (MSc)
- Atif Mulla (MSc)
- Megha Krishnan (MSc)
- Ngo Suet Au-Yeung (MSc)
- Savan Bharath (MSc)
- Muzzamil Shakil (MSc ACT)
- Juan Moreno Restrepo (MSc ACT)
- Chloe Monin (MEng – co-supervisor, University of Ottawa, Canada)
- Yuyan Huang (PhD researcher)
- Zengliang Yue (PhD researcher)
- Donald Nwonu (PhD researcher)
- Moro Sabtiwu (EPSRC CASE PhD researcher – National Highways)
- Heng Song (PhD researcher, co-supervisor)
- Zixian Su (PhD researcher, co-supervisor, University of Manchester)
- Suraj Rahmon (Research Assistant in Cements)
- Dr Alastair Marsh (Research Fellow in Alkali-Activated Materials)
- Dr Yuvaraj Dhandapani (Research Fellow in Durability of Cement and Concrete Materials)
- Dr Sreejith Krishnan (Research Fellow in Cement Materials Chemistry)
- Dr Zhi (Eric) Hu (KTP Associate In Low Carbon Cement Technologies)
- Dr Tharwat Hassan (KTP Associate in Geopolymers Technology)
- Dr Elijah Damilola Adesanya (Visiting Research fellow – University of Oulu, Finland)
- Dr Bruno Fernandes (Research Fellow in Circular Concrete, co-supervisor)
Former team members
- 2022 – Juan Manuel Etcheverry (Visiting PhD researcher)
- 2022 – Ana Rita Damasceno Costa (Visiting PhD Researcher)
- 2022 – Matthew Brayne (Henry Royce Institute/ Bragg Centre summer intern)
- 2021 – 22 – Hanwen Chen (MSc)
- 2021 - 22 – Srajan Bhandauria (MSc)
- 2021 – 22 – Niki Jackson (MSc ACT)
- 2021 – 22 – Jarod Wilson (MSc ACT)
- 2021 – 22 – Ares Neda (MEng)
- 2021 – 22 – Shahad Al-Busaidi (BEng)
- 2021 – 22 – Thomas King-Cline (BEng)
- 2021 – Natalia Wolfe (Henry Royce/ Bragg Centre summer intern)
- 2020 – 21 – Rutendo Rusike (BEng Laidlaw Scholar)
- 2020 – 21 – Madeline Rhiner (MSc)
- 2020 – 21 – Devika Nair (MSc)
- 2020 – 21 – Ivan Clarke (MSc ACT)
- 2020 – 21 – Thomas Dillon (MEng)
- 2020 – 21 – Gabriel Bowless (MEng)
- 2020 – 21 – Ryan McAlister (MEng)
- 2019 – 21 – Dr James Vigor (Research Fellow)
- 2019 – 21 – Dr J.P. Gevaudan (Research Fellow)
- 2019 – 20 - Luke Atkinson (MSc)
- 2019 – 20 - Moosa Awad (MSc)
- 2019 – 20 – Dr Tao Yang (Visiting Research Fellow)
- 2019 – 20 - Xiaowen Zhang (Visiting PhD researcher)
- 2018 – 19 - Kate Button (MEng)
- Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials
- Engineered UK clays for production of low-carbon cements
- Multi-scale engineering of alkali-activated concretes for sustainable infrastructure
- Doctor in Engineering, emphasis in Materials Engineering (Cum Laude) Universidad del Valle, Colombia
- Materials Engineer (Cum Laude), Universidad del Valle, Colombia
- Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, IOM3
- Senior Member of International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures, RILEM
- CIVE3750 – BEng Research Project
- CIVE5000 – MSc Dissertation
- CIVE5755 – MEng Research Project
- CIVE5455 – MSc Advanced Concrete Technology Research Project
- CIVE5452 – Cement and Concrete Properties
Research groups and institutes
- Materials and Structures
Current postgraduate researchers
<li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1333-low-carbon-and-reusable-structural-systems-formed-with-eco-friendly-materials-for-sustainable-infrastructures">Low-carbon and reusable structural systems formed with eco-friendly materials for sustainable infrastructures</a></li>