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Materials used in historic structures, especially the characterisation of historic mortars, and the development of new mortars for conservation. Petrographic analysis and application of microscopy to historic building materials. Characterisation of stone decay and its amelioration. Climate change impacts on and transformation and adaption of cultural heritage.

1995 …2021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

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 am particularily experienced in petrographic analysis and the application of microscopy for the characterisation of historic building materials.

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”, was a member of TC-SGM, “Specifications for Non-Structural grouting of historic masonries and architectural surfaces”, and now of TC-LHS "Specifications for testing and evaluation of lime-based materials for historic structures. 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.

I currently fulfil the following roles for the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences:

- Postgraduate Research Student Coordinator

- Chair of the Ethics Committee

- Coordinator for REF submission for UoA 12 Engineering.

Current research activities

Recent publication and research activity centres on the impacts of climate change on cultural heritage.  I have also been awarded a Conservation Guest Scholarship, for a residency at The Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, postponed from 2020 to autumn 2022, focussing on the area of microscopy applied to the built cultural heritage. Previous 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. During 2016 I 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.

Desired research direction

To continue to develop interdisciplinary links in the area of Cultural Heritage, whilst maintaining an emphaisis on material characterisation and performance issues.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

External positions

Conservation Guest Scholar, The Getty Conservation Institute

2021 → …

International Advisory Committee, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic: Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

1 Jan 201931 Dec 2023

Board Member - Treasurer, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Stone

17 Dec 2018 → …

Fellow of the Geological Society, Geological Society of London

18 Apr 2018 → …

Permanent Scientific Committee, International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone

2016 → …

External Examiner: Masters Programme in Heritage Science, Queen's University Belfast

1 Jun 20111 Nov 2015


  • QE Geology
  • Petrography
  • geochemistry
  • TH Building construction
  • Mortar
  • Stone
  • Heritage
  • Heritage Science
  • Cultural Heritage
  • climate change


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