Smart & Sustainable Construction Materials (S2CM)

Research Group


The mission of our team is to contribute to a sustainable built environment through the development of innovative and functional construction products with high performance and durability.

Our research involves the use of various experimental and analytical techniques for the advancement of scientific knowledge and applications related to innovations in sustainable concrete materials. In our work, we focus on the use of waste materials, carbon sequestration, recycling, self-healing and 3D printing processes. Within these topics, we are interested in studying the relationship between reaction mechanisms, mechanical performance and microstructural development, as well as the environmental impacts of various binder systems and materials.

You can obtain more information about our work by browsing through our team, research areas and publications.

For potential collaborations or interest in our work, feel free to connect with us on Google Scholar, LinkedIN, ResearchGate or Publons.


With its overall goal of enhancing sustainability and minimizing the environmental impacts of concrete materials, our research explores new materials and structural solutions that optimize the use of concrete structures for a large range of civil engineering applications. Currently produced at a rate of >4 billion tonnes/year, Portland cement (PC) is the most widely used construction material in the world. This production rate is expected to double by the middle of the century. Production of PC is responsible for 5-7% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions due to the decomposition of limestone and the high calcination temperature used during this process. Major global pressures on the cement industry to reduce its emissions are being addressed by the partial replacement of PC with industrial by-products and wastes; improvement of overall energy efficiency with the use of alternative raw materials, renewable energy and low-energy production; and development of new cement formulations with lower energy consumption and carbon footprints.

In line with the rising need for environmentally friendly construction products, our research revolves around the development of novel cement formulations and sustainable concrete products incorporating waste by-products and fully recycled components. Some of the main properties that are being investigated include the production (i.e. alternative routes and life cycle analysis), performance (i.e. reaction mechanisms, strength and microstructural development) and recycling of various binder systems. The main outcome of our research is sustainable formulations involving novel binders, waste materials and industrial by-products. These products are designed for their capability to absorb CO2 while gaining strength, self-healing properties under various conditions, potential to be used in 3D printing for the production of environmentally friendly construction components, and recyclability at the end of use.

Please see the details of the 5 main research areas we are currently working on below.

Large scale demonstration of our work: Sustainable pavement at BCA Zero Energy Building

More information about this project can be found here, here and here.

3D printing of sustainable building panels


Dr Cise Unluer

Principal Investigator

Research Fellows

Dr Dung Nguyen Tien

Postdoctoral studies (July 2015–present) on the hydration and carbonation mechanisms of alternative binders.

PhD (2014) on the engineering properties and microstructural examination of cementitious materials with SCA eco-binder, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST), Taiwan

MSc in Civil Engineering, Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology (SIIT), Thammasat University, Thailand

BEng in Civil Engineering, Hanoi University of Civil Engineering, Vietnam

ResearchGate profile

Dr Lei Gu

Postdoctoral studies (May 2019–present) on the self-healing mechanisms of alternative binders.

PhD (2018) on the degradation phenomenon of cementitious materials under sulphuric acid attack, University of Adelaide, Australia

MEng in Civil & Structural Engineering, University of Adelaide, Australia

BEng in Civil & Structural Engineering, Southeast University, China

ResearchGate profile

Dr Murugan Muthu

Postdoctoral studies (December 2018–present) on the performance of sustainable binders in different conditions.

PhD (2017) in Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India

MEng in Civil Engineering, Anna University, India

BEng in Civil Engineering, Anna University, India

ResearchGate profile

Dr Sanjeev Kumar

Postdoctoral studies (March 2018–present) on the durability of alternative binders involving the use of waste materials.

PhD (2018) in Civil Engineering, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, India

MEng in Structural Engineering, Anna University, India

BEng in Civil Engineering, Anna University, India

ResearchGate profile

Dr G.V.P. Bhagath Singh

Postdoctoral studies (March–August 2018) on the use of nucleation seeding to enhance the performance of novel mixes.

PhD (2017) in Structural Engineering/ Cementitious Materials, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad, India

MTech in Structural Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad, India

BTech in Civil Engineering, Sri Venkateswara University (SVU) College of Engineering, India

ResearchGate profile

PhD Students

Cem Sonat

Mechanical performance and microstructural development of MgO-SiO2-H2O systems

January 2014-2018

(main supervisor)

Current post: Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University

Shaoqin Ruan

Development of reactive magnesia cement-based formulations with improved performance and sustainability

August 2014-2018

(main supervisor)

Current post: Research Fellow at Brunel University London

Liyun Pu

Improving the strength and microstructure of reactive magnesia based concrete blocks

August 2014-2018

(main supervisor)

Current post: Research Associate at Southwest Jiaotong University

Jiawei Liu

Production, characterization and performance of magnesia cements

January 2015-2017

(main supervisor)

Haoliang Dong

Synthesis of reactive magnesia from reject brine

January 2014-2018


Biranchi Panda

3D printing of high-volume fly ash mixtures for digital concrete construction

August 2015-2019


Xi Xiao

Self-healing of sustainable binder systems

August 2018-2022


Kumaran Coopamootoo

Low-CO2 geopolymer cements

August 2017-2020


Final Year Undergraduate Students

2015-2016: Mr Lim Chin Haow (received the Guocoland Green Technology Book Prize due to his highest marks in his Final Year Project based on green technology and sustainable engineering), Mr Pham Viet Hoang, Mr Sean Teo Zhe Wei, Ms Aswini Raveendran, Ms Zhan Wang Yi Ru, Mr Ong Jacon, Ms Ong Shi Qi Nicole, Ms Shermeen Fones Si Ying

2016-2017: Mr Sai Kaung Thura, Ms Ong Xi Chun, Mr Lee Kong Jian, Mr Lim Eng Hui, Ms Lim Suet Min Sophia, Mr Lin Shiyi, Ms Teo Wen Wei

2017-2018: Mr Lim Chong Han, Ms Sumirati Bte Misti, Mr Tan Herh Kai, Mr Tye Wenkai, Mr Yong Kim Wui

2018-2019: Mr Shi Feng, Mr Douglas Kieo Yong Qiang

2019-2020: Mr Liu Luyao, Ms Lim Bee Ting, Mr Johnathon Chng Wenjun, Mr Yong Shun Kai



We are always interested in hearing from colleagues interested in establishing academic or industrial collaborations. Please feel free to get in touch via any of the following routes:

  • Email: ucise at
  • Address: School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Block N1, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798

Research profiles: