Nanoporous media for sustainable construction materials

Nano and microporous materials are ubiquitous across many industrial sectors including construction, food and pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and agriculture. We study the distribution and transport of liquids (usually water) within the pore structure of these materials, these phenomena impact many of the processes central to these industries.

Our research

The group carries out fundamental experimental and modelling studies of relevance to porous media. Experimental work, led by Professor Peter McDonald focuses on the development and application of a suite of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMR and MRI) and relaxation analysis instruments and techniques using facilities some of which are unique to the University of Surrey. NMR and MRI are powerful, non-destructive and non-invasive techniques able to probe fluid dynamics in porous media over a very wide range of time and length scales ranging for nanometric and pico-second to centimetres and days.

Theoretical work is led by Dr David Faux. Like the experimental research, it too is multi-length and timescale ranging from molecular dynamics simulations of diffusion and surface adsorption at the molecular level all the way through to Lattice Boltzmann and Monte Carlo simulations of transport in complex geometries. A second and equally important strand of the theoretical work focuses on proper interpretation of NMR relaxation times of fluids in porous media with a view to learning both about the confining microstructure (pore size distribution; pore connectivity) and of the fluids within (surface wetting; surface adsorption; inter-pore exchange rates etc.).

Applications work in the group focuses primarily on construction materials including cements and concrete; wood (both living trees and felled timber) and, along with Professor Joe Keddie, coatings materials.

Student using physics equipment

PhD opportunities

Interested in doing a PhD involving our research? Take a look at the PhD opportunities available to you.