My specialism is in the composition and properties of construction geomaterials, particularly of historic buildings. I research the properties of mortars and stone in old buildings to help conserve them better. I have taught earth science, covering the fundamentals and field courses and now teach geology to Civil Engineering students, and the properties of construction materials.
I was the secretary to RILEM technical committee TC-RHM “Repair Mortars for Historic Masonry”, and am now a member of TC-SGM, “Specifications for Non-Structural grouting of historic masonries and architectural surfaces”. I am also a member of the Applied Petrography Group of the Geological Society of London, the ICOMOS - ISCS International Scientific Committee for Stone and the Permanent Scientific Committee of the International Stone Congresses.
My recent research awards include AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Research Cluster (2009-10), as a partner in the EU "HEROMAT" 7thFP funded project (2011-2015) and a further AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme Research Development Award (2013-14). This project "Materiality, authenticity and value in the historic environment: a study of the effects of material transformation and scientific intervention" involved working closely with anthropologists and ethnographers to understand how science use in heritage affects the way we value historic buildings and sites. I recently led an EU funded IPERION CH MOLAB visit to characterise the consequences for the stone walls of the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building.
I have organised several conferences on construction materials: Historic Mortars 1999, Nanotechnology in Construction 2003, the 10th Euroseminar on Microscopy Applied to Building Materials 2005, the 3rd Historic Mortars Conference 2013 and most recently the 13th Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone September 2016.
To continue to develop interdisciplinary links in the area of Cultural Heritage, whilst maintaining an emphaisis on material characterisation and performance issues.