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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 08/09/2021 08:19:21

Title of Module: Adv Materials for Sustainable Construction

Code: ENGG11026 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Wenzhong  Zhu

Summary of Module

The Module is to further extend students’ knowledge/understanding of construction materials and particularly to help them to develop an in-depth understanding of the behaviour and characteristics of special and high performance concrete, composite materials and stone masonry. It is also to make them aware of the recent advances & developments in the materials and sustainable construction domain, and to illustrate it on practical examples. These include use of natural renewable/low-carbon engineering materials, nanomaterials and multifunctional materials, waste/recycled materials, etc in the construction industry and the built environment, and material compatibility issues in conservation of built heritage, and the significance in terms of sustainability and the environment. Much of the module is research informed teaching.

Innovative materials and sustainability are a key focus in this module. Students are introduced to resource scarcity; environmental impact (e.g. energy, CO2 emission, wastes/pollution, etc) associated with the construction/manufacturing, the building operations and the end of life waste management in the construction industry; the demands of a growing world population and urbanization on housing and infrastructure; whole life cycle consideration/assessment (i.e. ‘cradle to grave’); implications of climate change and the various international and national targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and how these impact on materials development, selection and applications.

The Module will consist of a balanced programme of lectures by experts in the field, supported by a number of laboratory work including demonstrations and exercises, where students will learn the relevant standards, and specialist, state-of-the-art testing techniques.

  • A diverse range of sustainable solutions are covered in the module. For example, reduce the cement clinker content in concrete (through optimisation of concrete mix design and the use of various cement replacement materials); reduce the embodied energy and carbon footprint in cement/binder (by using low energy/low emission cements/binders, geopolymer, etc); reduce the concrete/materials required (by using high strength/high performance/high durability concrete/composite materials – as less materials is required for achieving the same performance, and reduced repair/maintenance/replacement over a longer period); use innovative concrete/materials for special applications or extreme exposure conditions (e.g. permeable concrete for SUDS, high performance, nano-modified concrete/composite materials for coastal/offshore application, self-healing concrete, photocatalytic surface for building, etc); reduce long-term energy consumption/emission of operating a building (through energy efficient building – highly efficient insulating materials, smart windows, led lighting, Solar photovoltaic, improving thermal mass of concrete); use more waste/recycled materials (thus reduced landfill and improve resource efficiency); fundamental understanding/design of materials (through advanced characterisation, modelling, nano-engineering, etc).

  • The main content: Special and high performance concrete and composite materials: modern constituent materials, self-compacting concrete, fibre reinforced concrete, high/ultra-high strength concrete, durability, advanced fibre reinforced polymer composites, structural strengthening, performance-based design, sustainable development, etc. Sustainability: natural materials, low energy/low emission binders, use of waste/recycled materials, green construction, whole life-cycle analysis, energy efficient buildings, impact and mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Built Heritage: stone masonry, heritage construction, decay & treatment, materials compatibility (to improve sustainability of repair). Nanotechnology: research and recent applications, new materials development, multi-functional, self-healing & self-cleaning materials, biomimetic materials, etc. Advanced techniques for materials characterisation: Nanoindentation, SEM, XRD, Porosimetry, etc.

  • This module will work to develop a number of the following key 'I am UWS' graduate attributes: Critical thinker, Inquring, Collaborative, Research-minded, Knowledgeable, problem solver, autonomous, ambitious, innovative and driven.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Competently assess the latest advances & developments in the materials and sustainable construction domain. Demonstrate critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, trends associated with the developments.

L2. Develop comprehensive and practical understanding of several important test standards and characterisation techniques for construction materials.

L3. Fully understand the key characteristics and structural behaviour of the existing and new engineering materials and hence apply them most appropriately in the construction industry.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

Gain and consolidate knowledge and understanding of some more advanced aspects of construction materials and sustainability.

Develop critical awareness of some of the recent important developments in materials, their potentials and limitations.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Use a range of specialised skills, techniques, practices and/or materials that are at the forefront of, or informed by forefront developments- through group laboratory work and demonstrations.

Use a significant range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with the subject/discipline/sector – through research essay/coursework.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues, or issues that are informed by forefront developments in the subject/discipline/sector – through research essay/coursework.

Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline/sector – through coursework.

Apply appropriate quantitative methods to the experiment and results analysis.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Through group laboratory work, individual report/coursework and presentation:
• Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
• Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.
• Use a wide range of ICT applications to support and enhance work at this level and adjust features to suit purpose.
• Undertake critical evaluations of a wide range of numerical and graphical data.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Through group laboratory work, individual report/coursework and presentation:
• Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities.
• Take responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:Civil Engineering Materials at undergraduate level
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Teaching in this module is research-led and students are learning about the latest research and development from the key academic staff and industry practitioners. The learning and teaching activity for this module include lectures (including video/online contents), and laboratories/demonstrations.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this Module may be delivered in a 'hybrid' mode with an 'adaptive' online examination. If the Covid-19 restrictions are eased, the preferred mode of delivery will be the one approved by the Accrediting Body (JBM) prior to the global pandemic, which is 3 face-to-face contact hours/week of key practical classes.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery18
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity6
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Various handout materials and the University's VLE

Construction Information Service data base– This provides access to the publications of the BRE, Concrete Society, CIRIA, British Standards Institutions, etc.

Institution of Civil Engineers Virtual Library Archive – This provides access to the full library of the journals published by the Institution of Civil Engineers

The following journals available online and in the library: Cement and Concrete Research, Cement Concrete Composites, Materials and Structures, Construction and Building Materials, ACI Materials journal, Concrete, Vols. 2000 – present.

Neville, A. M., “Properties of Concrete”, 4th Edition, Longman, 1995.

Bentur, A., “Fibre reinforced Cementitious Composites”, London, Elsevier, 1990.

EFNARC, et al, “The European Guidelines for Self Compacting Concrete”, 2005,

Bai, J., “Advanced Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composites for Structural Applications, Woodhead Publishing Series in Civil and Structural Engineering”

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardEngineering
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCivil Engineering and Quality Management
ModeratorJohn Hughes
External ExaminerJ Oti
Accreditation DetailsAccredited by the Joint Board of Moderators as a Technical MSc and meeting Further Learning requirements for a Chartered Engineer (CEng)
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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Coursework: a laboratory report (analyze and discuss test results and the relevant test methods/techniques) - assessed at 20%
- a research essay (critical literature review) - assessed at 30%
Examination: assessed at 50%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen open bookcheck markcheck markcheck mark502

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay check markcheck mark300
Report of practical/ field/ clinical work check markcheck mark200
Combined Total For All Components100% 2 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.