Material specific


Our concrete laboratory allows us to carry out research into concrete and the resoling structures. This includes the characterisation and materials development of novel cements through calorimeters and rheometers, as well as novel reinforcement methods. We have a range of mixes that let us investigate a large manage of concrete forms.


Our work developing the use of fibre-reinforced polymers for repair and strengthening of existing concrete structures is known worldwide. We also explore its use in new build applications such as for reinforcement or permanent formwork.

Our work in this field also includes developing innovative natural fibre composite materials. We are also developing fully polymeric structures and cladding applications.


Our soil laboratory allows us to characterise a range of geomaterials and to determine their engineering properties. Our tools include:

  • particle size distribution and Atterberg limits for characterisation
  • triaxial and oedometer set-ups for engineering properties

Advanced materials

We have equipment for the physical and chemical characterisation of construction materials in our advanced materials laboratory. This allows us to develop materials including bio-based and other natural materials, as well as novel photocatalytic coatings and sol-ges. Our equipment includes:

  • a mercury porosimeter and physisorption analyser for physical characterisation
  • a thermal analyser for chemical characterisation

Application specific


Our structures laboratory lets us investigate material strength and stiffness properties through a diverse set-up.

Our test frames allow us to test from small-scale materials to large structures. Our machines range from 1kN to 2000kN.

We can also customise the setup of our frames for different testing needs. This includes investigating impact load and dynamic floor loading of a range of materials.

Building environment

We take a holistic approach to a material's passive role in the built environment. We are able to investigate the small-scale materials properties and replicate full constructions. We research thermal conductivity on novel insulation materials and concretes. We also investigate various transient properties for the development of phase change materials.

From this, we can explore the similar properties on a larger scale using heat flow meters. In parallel, we investigate the moisture regulation characteristics through various static and dynamic vapour sorption set-ups. We use environmental chambers to simulate a range of wall build-ups to investigate their full hydrothermal performance. These give us precise control over the conditions.

Building Research Park

Our Building Research Park is a facility located at Wroughton Airfield, Swindon. It offers the capability of full-scale research into building materials and systems using 16 re-configurable research buildings.

The Building Research Park is home to our HIVE facility. This is an experimental building offering a framework for large-scale, in-situ testing.

University facilities available to us

Material and chemical characterisation facility (MC²)

Our material and chemical characterisation facility combines cutting-edge analytical equipment with extensive in-house expertise to provide a comprehensive chemical characterisation service.

Available techniques include:

  • mass spectrometry
  • bio-imaging
  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • electron microscopy
  • x-ray diffraction

Visit the MC² website to find out more.