Ana Blanco Alvarez

Dr Ana Blanco

Pronouns: She/her

BSc MSc PhD FHEA

  • Senior Lecturer in Infrastructure Engineering

Research and expertise

I am a civil engineer with more than 10 years of experience in concrete technology and civil infrastructure research.

I conduct research in advanced cementitious composites (fibre reinforced concrete, ultra-high performance concrete, sprayed concrete and self-healing concrete), diagnosis and repair of civil infrastructure (concrete dams and tunnels).

I have participated in 6 publicly-funded, peer-reviewed research grants worth £0.97 M on topics related to advanced cementitious composites and infrastructure. I have published over 30 refereed publications and supervised PhD dissertations to successful completion and ongoing dissertations. Since 2009 I have participated in or led 20+ enterprise projects worth more than £0.85 M diverse client base of energy suppliers, contractors, asset operators and public institutions. I am a member of several scientific committees in international organisations about infrastructure and advanced materials.

I welcome enquiries from postgraduates who wish to study for a PhD in my research areas.

Current research activity

  • Self-healing high-performance cementitious composites
  • Interlaboratory activity for the EU-funded SARCOS Cost Action

Recently completed research projects 

  • MAPMIT (RTC-2015-3185-4): Sprayed multi-functional materials for reinforcement and monitoring of transport infrastructures (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness) https://www.atem.upc.edu/mapmit/
  • CONSFIB (BIA2010-17478): Construction processes with fibre reinforced concrete (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness)

Recent publications

Teaching

I contribute to learning and teaching activities across the School's programmes, including:

Undergraduate

  • Structural engineering & Engineering materials modules in the civil engineering programmes;
  • Tectonics module on Architecture, Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying and Construction Engineering Management; and
  • Supervision of dissertations on topics aligned to my research interests

Postgraduate

  • Supervision of dissertations on topics aligned to my research interests

Enterprise

Current projects 

  • Patch Repair using Perfect Fit Parts. 2022-2023 Client: Network Rail (UK)

Recently completed projects

  • Advanced Patch Repair of Masonry Tunnels. 2020-2021 Client: Network Rail (UK)

Consultancies

  • Service life of tunnels subjected to high-temperature gradients. 2020-2021 Client: Acciona (Norway) 
  • Development of ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) in the UK with locally sourced materials. 2019 Client: Thorp Precast (UK)

Profile

I received my BSc and MSc in Civil Engineering from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Spain. I then conducted research in concrete technology at UPC and Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) and was awarded a PhD in 2013 for an investigation on the characterisation and modelling of fibre reinforced cementitious composites.

This was followed by three years as a postdoctoral researcher at UPC, involving research and enterprise projects in hydraulic infrastructure maintenance and development of high-performance cementitious composites for underground infrastructure. In 2015, I co-founded a spin-out company that develops enhanced cementitious composites and advanced technical solutions. I joined the spin-out company as a project leader in 2017 while combining my part-time research at UPC. 

I joined Loughborough University through the Excellence 100 programme in 2018 as a Lecturer in Infrastructure Engineering and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2022.  I am a member of the Enterprise Committee and the EDI Committee.

Professional affiliations

  • Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (CEng MICE)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Spanish Association of Structural Engineering (ACHE)
  • Member of the Committee of Concrete Dams of the Spanish National Committee on Large Dams (SPANCOLD)

External activities

  • Member of the Technical Committee of BSI B/517/11 Fibres for concrete
  • Reviewer of the British Council Newton Fund (2018-present)
  • Member of the Task Group for Expansive Reactions in Concrete Dams (SPANCOLD)
  • Member of the Task Group TG1.6 for Ultra-High-Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete of ACHE (2016-2018)

Key collaborators

My research and enterprise activities are conducted with a range of academic and stakeholder partners, including:

  • Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Politecnico de Milano (Italy)
  • Network Rail, Mott McDonald, Thorp Precast