The mining field is harsh with various corrosive media that cause rapid deterioration and ageing of concrete. This project aims to develop a novel hydrophobic concrete with integrated water-proofing and self-healing capacities and optimise its efficacy and cost-effectiveness for durable and resilient mining infrastructure using hybrid water-repellent nanoparticles and raw crystalline admixtures. The new hydrophobic concrete is expected to significantly improve structural safety, durability, and service life of mining infrastructure while simultaneously reducing protection costs, repair needs, and reconstruction. The outcomes will offer desirable benefits for Australia’s mining industry, with significant reductions in maintenance costs.


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Area

Construction materials  | Structural engineering

UNSW Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety (CIES) is a first-rate and productive research centre that has developed a world class research reputation, particularly in the areas of cement and concrete materials, and innovative decarbonised infrastructure. It consistently produces cutting-edge and high-impact research outcomes with state-of the-art facilities including a cementitious materials lab, heavy structures research lab, and advanced computational capabilities.

Objective 1: Optimise hybrid admixtures to develop integral hydrophobic concrete (Task 1 – Optimum mix, water-repelling, and water absorption; Task 2 – workability, permeability, and mechanical properties)

Objective 2: Investigate the performance of integral hydrophobic concrete with self-healing ability (Task 3 – crack self-healing, stiffness, and strength recovery; Task 4 – transport properties, chemical attacks, and carbonation)

Objective 3: Explore integral hydrophobic concrete components for application in the mining field (Task 5 – wet-dry cycles, load capacity, and failure mode; Task 6 – chloride diffusion, reinforcing corrosion, and durability)

Scientia Associate Professor Wengui Li
Scientia Associate Professor

[1] B. Li, H. Yin, X. Mao, Y. Li, L. Zhang, R. Liu, P. Qiu, Macroscopic and microscopic fracture features of concrete used in coal mine under chlorine salt erosion, Int J Min Sci Technol, 26(3) (2016) 455-459.

[2] N. Ghafari, Corrosion control in underground concrete structures using double waterproofing shield system (DWS), Int J Min Sci Technol, 23(4) (2013) 603-611.

[3] W. Li, F. Qu, L. Liu, Enhanced durability of concrete materials and structures under harsh mining environments, Innovation and Connections Project report for YAT Engineering and Construction, 2023.

[4] R. Javaherdashti, H. Nikraz, On the role of deterioration of structures in their performance; with a focus on mining industry equipment and structures, Mater Corros, 61(10) (2010), 885-890.