Dr Susan A. Bernal López

Dr Susan A. Bernal López

B.Mater.Eng, D.Eng.
Research Fellow, Cements

Address:
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5490
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5943

Email: s.bernal@sheffield.ac.uk

Susan Bernal joined the Department in 2012 as a Research Fellow working on novel cement materials, particularly focusing on waste valorisation, materials characterisation and durability. She holds a Bachelor of Materials Engineering from Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia (2004), and a Doctorate in Materials Engineering from Universidad del Valle (2009). From 2009 to 2010 she was a research fellow with Prof. Jørgen Skibsted in the Instrument Center for Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy at Aarhus University, Denmark, and she then worked with Prof. John Provis at the University of Melbourne, Australia from 2010-2012 before relocating to Sheffield.

Research interests

Her research centres on the development, characterisation and exploitation of advanced and non-traditional cement and concrete technology. Topics covered include:-

  • Construction materials synthesis and testing

1. Geopolymers and alkali-activated slags – chemical and engineering properties
2. Chemistry of alkali aluminosilicate gels
3. Interactions with the environment (durability, fire testing)
4. Application of NMR spectroscopy to construction materials
5. Other alkali-activated and Portland cement-hybrid binder systems
6. Composite materials with cementitious matrix (fibre reinforcing)

  • Waste valorisation

1. Metallurgical slags
2. Biomass and coal ashes
3. Waste catalysts and other industrial by-products

Key projects

  • Durability analysis and standardisation of alkali-activated cements and concretes (via RILEM technical committees)
  • Development and characterisation of novel cements and concretes based on waste materials
  • Structural analysis of aluminosilicates via advanced X-ray and spectroscopic techniques

Professional activities and recognition

  • Member of RILEM Technical Committees: TC 224-AAM and TC DTA
  • Laureate doctoral thesis - Universidad del Valle 2009. Carbonation of concretes based on binary systems of alkali-activated granulated-blast furnace slag and metakaolin (Carbonatación en concretos basados en sistemas binarios de una escoria siderúrgica y un metacaolín activados alcalinamente).
  • Walter Mangold Trust Fund scholarship for research studies in Australia – 2008
  • COLCIENCIAS Scholarship – 2005: Enhancement of Colombian Scientific Community through National Doctorate Programs. (Fortalecimiento de la comunidad científica a través del programa de doctorados nacionales – Créditos condonables COLCIENCIAS – 2005)
  • Laureate bachelor thesis - Universidad del Valle 2004. Durability and mechanical properties of concretes based on alkali-activated slag (Durabilidad y propiedades mecánicas de concretos de escoria siderúrgica activada alcalinamente).

Key publications

Journal Papers

  1. Bernal S.A., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Ruiz F., Quiñones H., Provis J.L. Desempeño a temperaturas altas de morteros y hormigones basados en mezclas de escoria/metacaolín activadas alcalinamente/ High-temperature performance of mortars and concretes based on alkali-activated slag/metakaolin blends. Materiales de Construcción. In press, 2012. [in both Spanish and English, included in the ISI data base].
  2. Provis J.L., Hajimohammadi A., White C.E., Bernal S.A., Myers R.J., Winarski R.P., Rose V., Proffen T.E., Llobet A., van Deventer J.S.J. Nanostructural characterization of geopolymers by advanced beamline techniques. Cement and Concrete Composites. In press, 2012, DOI: 10.1016/j.cemcomcomp.2012.07.003.
  3. Ismail I., Bernal S.A., Provis J.L., Hamdam S., van Deventer J.S.J. Microstructural changes in alkali activated fly ash/slag geopolymers with sulfate exposure. Materials and Structures. In press, 2012, DOI: 10.1617/s11527-012-9906-2.
  4. Rodríguez E.D., Bernal S.A., Provis J.L., Monzó J.M., Paya J., Borrachero M.V. Structure of Portland cement pastes blended with sonicated silica fume. Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering. 2012, in press, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)MT.1943-5533.0000502.
  5. Provis J.L., Harrex R.M., Bernal S.A., Duxson P., van Deventer J.S.J. Dilatometry of geopolymers as a means of selecting desirable fly ash sources. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids. 2012, 358, pp. 1930-1937.
  6. Bernal S.A., Bejarano J., Garzón C., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Delvasto S., Rodríguez E.D. Performance of refractory aluminosilicate particle/fiber-reinforced geopolymer composites. Composites Part B: Engineering. 2012, 43 (4), pp. 1919-1928.
  7. Bernal S.A., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Provis J.L. Engineering and durability properties of concretes based on alkali-activated granulated blast furnace slag/metakaolin blends. Construction and Building Materials. 2012, 33, pp. 99-108.
  8. Bernal S.A., Rodríguez E.D., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Provis J.L., Delvasto S. Activation of metakaolin/slag blends using alkaline solutions based on chemically modified silica fume and rice husk ash. Waste and Biomass Valorization. 2012, 3(1), pp. 99-108.
  9. Provis J.L., Bernal S.A. Comment on E. Prud’Homme et al., “Structural characterization of geomaterial foams — Thermal behavior”, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids. 2012, 358 (3), pp. 715 - 716.
  10. Bernal S.A., Rodríguez E.D., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Gordillo M., Provis J.L. Mechanical and thermal characterization of geopolymers based on silicate-activated metakaolin/slag blends. Journal of Materials Science. 2011, 46 (16), pp. 5477-5486.
  11. Bernal S.A., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Pedraza A.L., Provis J.L., Rodríguez E.D. and Delvasto S. Effect of binder content on the performance of alkali-activated slag concretes. Cement and Concrete Research. 2011, 41(1), pp. 1-8.
  12. Bernal S.A, Provis J.L., Rose V. and Mejía de Gutiérrez R. Evolution of binder structure in sodium silicate-activated slag-metakaolin blends. Cement and Concrete Composites. 2011, 33(1), pp. 46-54.
  13. Bernal S.A, Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Provis J.L., Rose V. Effect of silicate modulus and metakaolin incorporation on the carbonation of alkali silicate-activated slags. Cement and Concrete Research. 2010, 40(5), pp. 898-907.
  14. Bernal S., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Delvasto S. and Rodríguez, E. Performance of an alkali-activated slag concrete reinforced with steel fibers. Construction and Building Materials. 2010, 24 (2), pp. 208-214.
  15. Provis J.L., Rose V., Bernal S.A. and van Deventer J.S.J. High resolution nanoprobe X-ray fluorescence characterization of heterogeneous calcium and heavy metal distributions in alkali activated fly ash. Langmuir. 2009, 25 (19), pp 11897–11904.
  16. Bernal S., Esguerra J., Galindo J., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Rodríguez E., Gordillo M. and Delvasto S. Morteros geopoliméricos reforzados con fibras de carbono basados en sistemas binarios de un subproducto industrial. Revista Latinoamericana de Metalurgia y Materiales. 2009; S1 (2), pp. 587-592. ISBN: 0255-6952. [in Spanish]
  17. Rodríguez E., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Bernal S. and Gordillo M. Síntesis y caracterización de polímeros inorgánicos obtenidos a partir de la activación alcalina de un metacaolín de elevada pureza. Revista Latinoamericana de Metalurgia y Materiales. 2009; S1 (2), pp. 595-600. ISBN: 0255-6952. [in Spanish].
  18. Bernal S., Gordillo M., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Rodríguez E., Delvasto S. and Cuero R. Modelamiento de la resistencia a la compresión de concretos alternativos, usando la metodología de superficie de respuesta / Modelling the compressive strength of alternative concretes using the response surface methodology. Revista de la Facultad de Ingenieria de la Universidad de Antioquia. 2009. 49:112-123. ISSN 0120-6230. [in Spanish, included in the ISI database].
  19. Rodríguez E., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Bernal S. and Gordillo M. Efecto de los módulos SiO2/Al2O3 y Na2O/SiO2 en las propiedades de sistemas geopoliméricos basados en un metacaolín/ Effect of the SiO2/Al2O3 and Na2O/SiO2 ratios on the properties of geopolymers based on MK. Revista de la Facultad de Ingenieria de la Universidad de Antioquia. 2009. 49:30-40. ISSN 0120-6230. [in Spanish, included in the ISI database].
  20. Bernal S., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Rodríguez E. and Delvasto S. Comportamiento mecánico de hormigones de escoria activada alcalinamente reforzados con fibras de acero / Mechanical behaviour of AAS concretes reinforced with steel fibers. Materiales de Construcción. 2009, 59 (293): 55-64. [in both Spanish and English, included in the ISI data base].
  21. Rodríguez E., Bernal S., Mejía de Gutiérrez R., Delvasto S. Concretos alternativos basados en GBFS / Alternative concretes based on GBFS. Materiales de Construcción. 2008, 58 (291):53-67. ISSN: 0465-2746. [in both Spanish and English, included in the ISI data base].

Patents

  1. Colombian patent N° 10-013707-00000-0000, Inorganic non-Portland cements based on binary and ternary systems obtained from wastes and industrial by-products for structural and non-structural applications / Cementos inorgánicos no-portland basados en sistemas binarios y/o ternarios obtenidos a partir de desechos y subproductos industriales para usos estructurales y no estructurales. 2010.
  2. World patent WO2010130623, Alkali sulphate activated composite cement. Inventors D. Herfort, J. Skibsted, S.A. Bernal Lopez, F. Besenbacher. 2010.

Research centres

Immobilisation Science Laboratory