Multi-Scale & Multi-Modal Characterization

Natural & artificial materials are complex and heterogenous across multiple scales. In order to characterize these systems, we are adopting a ‘multi-modal’ approach where multiple, complementary imaging techniques are used in combination for an enhanced and deeper understanding of any given material. With this approach, we are improving our understanding of a variety of materials such as clay minerals,1 WTE fly ashes,2 rocks,3 and cements.4,5

1 Romero & Garg, Applied Clay Science 2022

2 Samouh, Kumar, Santiago & Garg, Journal of Hazardous Materials 2023

3 Polavaram & Garg, Scientific Reports 2021

4 Polavaram & Garg, Cement and Concrete Research 2021

5 Polavaram & Garg, Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2023


Understanding Material Degradation & Repair

Almost all engineering materials are subject to long-term degradation, necessitating replacement and repair. We are investigating a variety of degradation phenomena for concrete: ranging from water ingress1,2 to radiation damage in nuclear power plants.3, 4 On the repair and mitigation side, we are exploring numerous options such as self-healing systems, ultra-high performance concrete systems, and superhydrophobic coatings.5

1 Kabir & Garg, Scientific Reports 2023

2 Kabir & Garg, npj Materials Degradation 2023

3 Baral et al, Cement and Concrete Research 2022

4 Cheniour et al, Materials and Structures 2022

5 Sharma & Garg, ACS Applied Engineering Materials 2023


Low Carbon & Sustainable Construction Materials

Construction materials are an essential component of our physical infrastructure. However, when produced at a scale of billions of tons per year, these materials contribute to a significant carbon footprint. We are investigating novel recipes & AI-led routes to lower the carbon footprint of concrete, including solutions such as calcined clays, alkali-activated materials,1 cementitious carbonation,2 C-S-H seeds,3,4 and waste-to-energy ashes5 generated from combustion of municipal waste.6

1 Abdelrahman & Garg, Frontiers in Chemistry 2022

2 Srivastava & Garg, Journal of Raman Spectroscopy 2023

3 Qadri & Garg, Case Studies in Con. Mat. 2023

4 Qadri, Kumar & Garg, Materials Today Communications 2024

5 Kumar & Garg, Resources, Conservation, and Recycling 2022

6 Kumar & Garg, Environmental Research: Infra. & Sus. 2021

Acknowledgement: To enable projects within & across these thrusts, we acknowledge support from various external funding agencies such as the US Department of Energy (DOE), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). We also thank our industry sponsors & partners as well as internal support units on the UIUC campus.