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Dynamic characterization of tensile and bond behaviour of basalt textile reinforced mortars (BTRM)

PhD project title

Dynamic characterization of tensile and bond behaviour of basalt textile reinforced mortars (BTRM)

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions (300 words max)

Textile reinforced mortars (TRM) is a family of composite materials used in civil engineering to strengthen and repair buildings and infrastructures. Compared to fibre reinforced polymers (FRP), TRMs have enhanced material compatibility with concrete and masonry and low sensitivity to fires. TRMs composites have thus great potential for strengthening existing structures and especially buildings with artistic and historic significance.

This project focuses on dynamic behaviour of TRM composites reinforced with basalt textiles (BTRMs). Basalt is a naturally occurring rock which just needs to be molten to produce a filament and then fibres. The simplicity of the manufacturing process makes basalt fibres cheaper and environmentally friendlier than the more widely used glass and carbon fibres. While still underproduced, market demand of basalt by 2025 is calculated to be 200,000 tons per year.

Research on TRM composites is still limited to static and seismic (quasi-static) applications. However there is a growing international interest for dynamic characterization of civil engineering materials as proved by the RILEM Technical Committee on Impact and Explosion (IEC) established in July 2018.

The goal of the project is to investigate the mechanical performance, i.e. tensile and bond characteristics, of the component and composite BTRM materials in a wide range of loading rates. To do so the project will be based on both the School of Natural and built Environment and School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. It will build on the interdisciplinary expertise of the supervisory team: composite and smart materials, seismic and impact loading, computational and experimental mechanics. As the planned impact of the project is to expand the applications of basalt TRMs and basalt fibres in the construction and aerospace sector, the PhD student will benefit from the industrial expertise of BASTECH, leading basalt producer in the UK.

Key words/descriptors



Composite materials, basalt, textile reinforced mortars, impact loading, bond behaviour


Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

Advanced Manufacturing

Supervisor Information



First Supervisor:             Giuseppina Amato                      School: Natural & Built Environment (NBE)

Second Supervisor:        Giuseppe Catalanotti                   School: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE)

Third Supervisor:            Yuri Ganfeld                                 Company: Bastech

What costs are associated with the project and how will they be funded?


NB: The COFUND research grant supports the financing of student fees and the salary of the ‘Fellows.’ Additional overheads (e.g. specialist training, equipment) are not provided for

  • Testing materials will be provided by the industry partner, see attached Letter of Support.
  • Software licences for numerical analyses are already available in NBE and MAE (Abaqus).
  • Hi-spec computer and access to HPC cluster will be provided by the academic supervisors and by the School.
  • Testing facilities are readily available in both NBE and MAE. Moreover, the student will have access to specialised equipment located at international institutes which are currently collaborating with the academic supervisors or to which the supervisors are associated as external collaborators. These are the University of Porto, the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (INEGI), and the Institute for Carbon Composites (LCC- Lehrstuhl für Carbon Composites) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
  • Travelling costs will be kept to minimum because meetings with our industrial partner (BASTECH) will be mainly in video conference. Travels for the student will be funded from her/his RTSG—Research Support and Training Grant (approx. £2400 for the entire duration of the project), and when necessary, by the academic supervisors’ accounts.

The following travels and travelling costs are foreseen:

  • Participation to the International Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM23, Belfast, August 2021. Cost: £0 (No travel costs since the conference is in Belfast. The fees will be covered by Dr. Catalanotti who is in the local organising committee of the Conference)
  • Participation to the 9th ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on the Mechanical Response of Composites Materials (Composites2023) that will be held in Palermo in September 2023. Total cost of £800 due to: economy return ticket Dublin>Palermo (£300), stay for three night in 4* hotel (£300), food (£200). Fee for the conference will be waived by Dr. Catalanotti who is the chairperson of the conference.
  • Internship at our industrial partner. Total cost of £1300 due to: economy return ticket Belfast-London (£100), return train ticket London-Bastech (£100), 1week stay at Wing (£800), food (£300).

Name of non-HEI partner(s)

BASTECH, website:

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:



BASTECH will contribute the basalt testing materials for the project. The company Project Director will join Dr G. Amato, and Dr G. Catalanotti in the dedicated supervisory team to provide guidance on manufacturing, regulations and commercialization of basalt products for the construction/aerospace sector during monthly meetings and the planned internship.