Research Statement

Research Statement

Taken as a whole, the goal of my research is to assess the performance of locally available materials and emerging waste products as construction materials. The adverse effects of waste on environment, public health, ecosystem together with cost of waste management are enormous. There are huge tons of unaccounted biomass wastes emanating from the agricultural and industrial sectors, demolition of buildings, and other infrastructural facilities that could be used as non-Portland cement and recycled aggregates. However, these wastes end up in landfills and rivers thereby negatively impacting public health and environment by occupying useful land, degrading the soil and releasing greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, the significance of my research is on possible recycling and reuse of these wastes as construction materials.

One of the conventional construction materials requiring the highest energy for its production is cement. The basic raw materials for cement and aggregates are limestone and other natural resources such as weathered rocks. The energy involved in sourcing for these materials is enormous, depletion of these natural resources is another challenge, cost of these materials is also a barrier together with the associated green-house gases emission; and pollution during the production of these materials. Hence, investigating on local materials, biomass and demolition waste products as materials for cement and construction aggregates in construction works come with diverse benefits which include reduction in energy in sourcing for virgin materials, preservation of natural resources; reduction in air, water and land pollution; enhancing concrete properties; reduction in concrete production costs and reduction in green-house gases.

The research has potential for scientific breakthrough in form of resource recovery through waste to energy and cost- effective recycled construction materials. In line with Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) number eleven, possible use of biomass waste and local materials will preserve natural resources, minimize waste and preserve the environment as a result of human activities and make construction materials affordable. The impact of this research will bring about improvement in public health and environment, reduction in carbon footprints and make construction materials for shelter affordable for teeming population.

The need for this research is borne due to the fact that major cities and communities in Africa are filled with uncontrolled and un-recycled biomass, and demolition wastes. Despite this, the need for new infrastructural developments has resulted in sourcing for large quantities of virgin materials which are capital intensive, energy intensive during the extraction, transportation, processing, operation and maintenance processes. In addition, the environmental damage as a result of these resource materials poses a threat to the sustainability of the universe. This whole process makes the construction materials expensive and unaffordable for many to own shelter leading to increase in slum areas. The negative impacts of these wastes must be minimized. The current measures to this menace have been disposal of wastes through burning and sanitary landfills. These methods have negative impact on ecological and depletion of ozone layer. In addition, landfills could lead to contamination of water resources with grievous public health impacts. The current research is focused on sustainable reuse of biomass waste as a source of energy and material for non-Portland cement and reuse of demolition waste as construction materials.

Results of some of the previous experimental works on locally available materials and waste products as well as application of numerical finite element software for civil engineering problems have been published and indexed in ISI, Scopus and University-based journals with good citations and impacts.
The current research is on producing normal, lightweight, high-strength, geopolymer, fibre reinforced concrete, and non-Portland cement. Apart from achieving good mechanical properties, the long-time durability of the products are being investigated.

The future plan is on carrying out finite element modelling and simulation of different civil engineering structures made with these materials. Their performance under different scenarios will then be investigated. A pilot project utilizing these materials will be carried out. Apart from sustainable materials for construction, my other research interests include finite element analysis of civil engineering structures, offshore structures, as well as analysis and design of concrete and steel structures.

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