Design of alkali-activated material with maximised recycle content

Laura Stefanini

Laura is a PhD researcher in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She is a member of both the Cements@Sheffield and Sustainable Materials at Sheffield (CBE) research teams.

Laura joined the University of Sheffield in May 2019 to start her PhD project on the Design of alkali-activated material with maximised recycle content (URBCON, NWE Interreg).

Previously, she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy (2015), followed by two Master’s Degrees at Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain, in Sustainable Chemistry (MSc, 2017) and in Environmental and Industrial Safety (MEng, 2018). During those years in Valencia Laura joined the ITQ (Instituto de Tecnología Química) Research Centre to develop projects in the field of the Green and Sustainable Chemistry and mainly focused on heterogeneous catalysis and on the removal of contaminants from the environment.

The project

The focus of my PhD project is the study of chemical and engineering properties of alkali-activated binders and mortars, with a particular interest on early-age properties. The aim is waste valorisation (the process of converting waste into more valuable products) and the control of CO2 emissions by alkali-activation of industrial by-products to maximise the replacement of raw materials and cement, in agreement with a sustainable development in the construction and environmental sector. 


In September 2021, Laura worked with Hope For The Future to produce: Cement and Concrete How concrete action can protect us from climate change. This brief looks at decarbonising cement production with a focus on getting UK MPs to take action. , but taking action now is crucial if we are to meet our climate targets. This resource explores some of the things you and your MP can do to take action on this area.





Professor John L Provis

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Dr Brant Walkley

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering