PhD Research Position (Nancy, France)

« Impact of climatic conditions on long term performances of treated soils »

A fully funded PhD scholarship for 3 years at the Université de Lorraine (F) is available to start in October 2020. This work will be accomplished in cooperation with the company Ginger-CEPBTP.

Waste-geomaterials generated by construction and mining activities represent more than 50% of the total waste generated in Europe, corresponding to 1.5 billion tons of excavated geomaterials that are landfilled while at the same time virgin soil and rock resources are extracted and used by the same infrastructure projects. The fundamental goal of this thesis is to contribute to the development of strategies and tools for the valorisation of waste-geomaterials, and thus to turn a waste into a valued durable construction material. Although frequently used, this technique is limited to certain materials and applications due to a lack of knowledge on the coupling between the physical and chemical actions of the binder and the geotechnical behaviour of the treated material. The challenge is to determine how the site materials can be reused in a variety of contexts (backfill, dykes, canals, retaining walls, dams, etc.).

 In this context, the main objective of the thesis is to understand the evolution of the hydromechanical characteristics of soils treated with lime and/or cement as a function of environmental stress (hydric cycle and prolonged exposure to water). For this purpose, the research work will focus on reference soils and on treated materials taken in situ, just after the treatment or on old structures, several years after the commissioning of the structure. The thesis work will combine an experimental approach and a modelling approach using the resources of the project partners. The thesis should lead to the development of an approach to take into account the alteration of the mechanical characteristics of a treated soil in the dimensioning of a geotechnical structure.

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