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Carbonation Curing of Cementitious Systems (C3S): solid-state NMR studies of carbonated recycled concrete

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Nanoscience programme. The position is available from 1 November 2020 or later.


Title:
Carbonation Curing of Cementitious Systems (C3S): solid-state NMR studies of carbonated recycled concrete

 

Research area and project description:
A PhD stipend is available from 1 November 2020 or later at iNANO and the Department of Chemistry, the Faculty of Natural Science, Aarhus University, focussing on the potential of using out-sourced concrete to sequester CO2 directly from the flue gasses of combustion power plants, cement plants or similar concentrated sources of CO2.

Concrete is the world’s most durable, reliable and economical construction material with an annual consumption in volume by society only surpassed by water. Portland cement represents the “glue” in conventional concrete, and its word-wide production is responsible for 7–8% of the man-made CO2 emissions. The CO2 emission originates from decomposition of limestone (CaCO3) and combustion of fuels for heating the cement kilns. Concrete hardens by reaction of Portland cement with water to from hydrate phases. Natural carbonation of cement hydrates is a well-known process, contributing to the deterioration of concrete during its service life. However, it is a slow process and most of the old concrete is not carbonated.

The aim of the PhD project is to strongly accelerate this process and use end-of-life concrete as a sink for CO2. This will produce CaCO3 and an amorphous alumina-silica rich phase which can improve material properties to enable use as high-grade aggregates in concrete or as supplementary cementitious material (SCM) for partial replacement of Portland clinker in new cement formulations. Thus, the project will contribute to a circular utilization of concrete. Furthermore, the recarbonated material will result in a significant uptake of CO2, that will be chemically bonded on a geological time scale, and thereby contribute to a more sustainable production of cement-based construction materials.  

The C3S project aims to explore the basic structure, composition and fundamental chemical properties of the amorphous silicate, aluminosilicate, and carbonate product phases that are formed during the recarbonation of the cement hydrate phases in end-of-life concrete. We wish to unravel the carbonation mechanisms on a full structural scale and to explore the properties of the carbonated material as SCM in new Portland cement blends.

Solid-state NMR spectroscopy will be a principal analytical tool in the project, where a range of different 1H, 13C, 27Al and 29Si NMR experiments will be used to achieve the desired information. A part of these experiments will be conducted at the 950 MHz spectrometer at the Center for Ultrahigh Field NMR spectroscopy at iNANO. The project will be performed in collaboration with Dr. Ruben Snellings, Sustainable Materials Management, Flemish Institute of Technological Research (VITO, Belgium), who is an expert in the carbonation of waste products and characterization of blended cement systems, and the PhD study will involve an extended visit to VITO’s research laboratories.

All highly motivated candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Equal consideration will be given to all qualified applicants independent of their gender, race, and cultural background. We see diversity as a strength.


Qualifications and specific competences:
The PhD candidate should have a Master’s (3-year PhD programme) or 4-years studies (4-year PhD programme) in chemistry, nanoscience, physics, or materials science. Knowledge about inorganic materials, cement chemistry, microscale characterization tools, and NMR spectroscopy will be considered as a plus.


Place of employment and place of work:
iNANO, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (www.inano.au.dk), was established in 2002 and at present is a major research and education center based at Aarhus University hosting 60 senior scientists, ~100 PostDocs and ~100 PhD students. The center combines expertise and faculty from Physics, Chemistry, Molecular biology and Medicine to carry out world class interdisciplinary research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The center gives access to a broad range of infrastructure, tools and expertise including clean-room facilities. With a 5 year undergraduate nanotechnology programme and nanoscience graduate programme (www.inanoschool.au.dk) the center provides a full educational environment. In addition to the large base of basic research, the center has a large number of ongoing industrial projects and partnerships.


Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:  Assoc. Prof. Jørgen Skibsted, Department of Chemistry and iNANO, Langelandsgade 140, 8000 C Aarhus, Denmark, e-mail: jskib@chem.au.dk, tel.: +45 2899 2029.


Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at the graduate school is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test (internet-based), minimum score: 83. The graduate school does not accept the paper-based test, nor the TOEFL ITP test. Remember to ask the test center to send your test results to Aarhus University in order to enable verification of your test results. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935.
    Currently, the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test (available in selected areas) will also be accepted.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points/C1 level
    Please note, from 1 June 2020 the Graduate School of Science and Technology has split in two following the split of the faculty. For the two new schools, Graduate School of Natural Sciences and Graduate School of Technical Sciences, the minimum average score requirement for an IELTS test is  6.5 points equivalent of a C1 level. B2 level is no longer accepted.
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to gsns@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at a Danish university for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to https://phd.nat.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here/ - Note, the online application system opens on 1 June 2020.
Choose August 2020 Call with deadline 1 August 2020 at noon (11.59 AM CEST).
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme “Nanoscience”.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: “Carbonation Curing of Cementitious Systems (C3S): solid-state NMR studies of carbonated recycled concrete”
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

All information in the application must be in English or Danish, preferably English. A certified English translation is required for documents written in languages other than English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) languages.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts, grade point averages (weighted and unweighted), and diploma(s) for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. If the original documents are not in English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) then copies of the original documents as well as a certified English translation must be attached.
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed.

The graduate school reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSNS Application Guide.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

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