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Concrete Infrastructure Research Group (CIRG)


Michele has recently published two papers with the head of CIRG, Janet Lees. The two papers focus on arch action in reinforced concrete as well as carbon reductions and strength enhancement in functionally graded beams.


Arch action in reinforced concrete subjected to shear:

Reinforced concrete elements without transverse reinforcement are vulnerable to shear failure. This premature failure mode prevents structures from developing their full flexural load-bearing capacity. In this research, the behaviour of the specimens was enhanced by isolating the internal arch action and increasing the efficiency of the inclined struts. Contrary to common beliefs, it was shown that the targeted removal of material and reduction of internal redundancy can lead to a net increase in the overall resistance and ductility of reinforced concrete structures. The findings of this study can lead to enhanced design and assessment approaches, for the development of safer and more efficient structures.

You can read more about the work here


Carbon reduction and strength enhancement in functionally graded reinforced concrete beams:

The production of cement alone is responsible for 5–8% of global CO2 emissions. This research investigates a novel approach to the enhancement of the environmental and mechanical performance of reinforced concrete structures. Functionally graded concrete and voids were used to engage a preferential internal resisting mechanism reliant on the internal arch action. Volumes that were superfluous or detrimental were either cast with a lightweight concrete and with lower embodied carbon or left unfilled. In the specimen with the highest performance, the overall resistance almost doubled whilst the calculated embodied carbon was reduced by approximately a third. These findings demonstrate the potential for a new generation of more sustainable reinforced concrete structures with higher mechanical resistance and lower environmental impact.

You can read more about the work here


The authors of the papers would like to extend their gratitude to William F. Baker and Karl Micallef of Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) as well as Dr Chris T. Morley (Cambridge, Emeritus) for the valuable and insightful discussions.



The Concrete Infrastructure Research Group develops sustainable infrastructure, through an improved understanding of existing infrastructure assets, the use of new materials, and the creation of innovative structural solutions.


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