Research and expertise

I am a civil engineer with 15 years of experience in building materials and structural engineering research and practice. My areas of research encompass innovative manufacturing processes for construction (Hybrid 3d printing), structural design, building materials (UHPC, FRC and other advanced cementitious composites), advanced modelling of cementitious materials performance and production processes (FEM, DEM, CFD),  and durability (reinforced concrete corrosion and sulphate attack) applied to delivery and maintenance of infrastructure and buildings. 

I have led and worked in 14 publicly-funded, peer-reviewed research projects worth more than £5.3 M to address urgent challenges in my field. I have published 80 refereed publications, supervised 16 PhD students to successful completion. I have a strong track record of collaboration with major stakeholders from the construction sector, equating to an enterprise income of more than £2.3 M. I have acted as an expert consultant in major infrastructure projects to solve challenging issues related to my research field.  In 2018 I was awarded the RILEM Gustavo Colonnetti Medalfor outstanding scientific contribution to the fields of construction materials and structures.

I am a member of several scientific and standardisation committees in international organisations about infrastructure, advanced materials and advanced simulation techniques. I am also the deputy director of the multi-partner UKCRIC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure and Cities,and I welcome enquiries from postgraduates who wish to study for a PhD in my areas of research interest.

Current research activity

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/
  • DURADOV (RTC-2015-3617-4): Development of segmental linings made of non-metallic FRC with high durability and improved sustainability (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness) https://www.atem.upc.edu/duradov/
  • PHANTOM-CRETE (BIA2013-50069-EXP): Ghost aggregate to obtain high-performance pervious concrete (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness) https://www.atem.upc.edu/phantom-crete/
  • FIBHAC (RTC-2015-3185-4): Fibres and Self-Compacting Concrete. Development of a new concept of precast segments for tunnelling (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness)  https://www.atem.upc.edu/fibhac/

Recent publications

  • Carlesso, D.M., de la Fuente, A., Cavalaro, S. (2019) Fatigue of cracked high performance fiber reinforced concrete subjected to bending. Constr Build Mater 220, 444-455.
  • de la Fuente, A., Bairan, J.M., Cavalaro, S. (2019) Case study of failure of long prestressed precast concrete girder during lifting. Eng Fail Anal, 100, 512-519.
  • Gonzalez-Ortega, M.A., Cavalaro, S., Rodriguez de Sensale, G., Aguado, A. (2019) Durability of concrete with electric arc furnace slag aggregate. Constr Build Mater, 217, 543-556.
  • Ikumi, T., Cavalaro, S., Segura, I.  (2019) The role of porosity in external sulphate attack, Cement Concrete Comp, 97, 1-12. 
  • Ikumi, T., Segura, I., Cavalaro, S.H.P. (2019) Effects of biaxial confinement in mortars exposed to external sulfate attack. Cement Concrete Comp, 95, 111-127.
  • Herrera-Mesen, C., Salvador, R.P., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2019) Effect of gypsum content in sprayed cementitious matrices: Early age hydration and mechanical properties. Cement Concrete Comp, 95, 81-91.
  • Blanco, A., Pardo-Bosch, F., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2019) Lessons learned about the diagnosis of pathologies in concrete dams: 30 years of research and practice.  Constr Build Mater, 197, 356-368.
  • Cecini, D., Austin, S.A., Cavalaro, S., Palmeri, A. (2018) Accelerated electric curing of steel-fibre reinforced concrete. Constr Build Mater, 189, 192-204. 
  • Pujadas, P., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2018) Mives multicriteria assessment of urban-pavement conditions: application to a case study in Barcelona. Road Mater Pavement, 1-17. 
  • Casagrande, C.A., Cavalaro, S., Repette, W.L. (2018) Ultra-high performance fibre-reinforced cementitious composite with steel microfibres functionalized with silane. Constr Build Mater, 178, 495-506. 
  • Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., Segura, I., Segura-Castillo, L., Aguado, A. (2018) Expansions with different origins in a concrete dam with bridge over spillway. Constr Build Mater, 163, 861-874. 
  • Segura-Castillo, L., Cavalaro, S., Goodier, C., Aguado, A., Austin, S. (2018) Fibre distribution and tensile response anisotropy in sprayed fibre reinforced concrete. Mater Struct. 51(1), 29. 
  • Pieralisi, R., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2017) Advanced numerical assessment of the permeability of pervious concrete. Cement Concrete Res, 102, 149-160. 
  • López-Carreño, R.-D., Pujadas, P., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2017) Bond strength of whitetoppings and bonded overlays constructed with self-compacting high-performance concrete. Constr Build Mater, 153, 835-845. 
  • Galeote, E., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., & de la Fuente, A. (2017). Correlation between the Barcelona test and the bending test in fibre reinforced concrete. Constr Build Mater, 152, 529-38. 
  • Pujadas, P., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., de la Fuente, A., & Aguado, A. (2017). The need to consider flexural post-cracking creep behavior of macro-synthetic fiber reinforced concrete. Constr Build Mater, 149, 790-800. 
  • Blanco, A., Aire, C., Pujadas, P., & Cavalaro, S. (2017). Luong test for the characterization of the shear post-cracking response of fiber reinforced concrete. Constr Build Mater, 149, 207-17.
  • Ikumi, T. Segura, I. Cavalaro, S. (2017) Influence of early sulfate exposure on the pore network development of mortars. Constr Build Mater, 143, 33-47. 
  • Picolo, R., Cavalaro, S., Monte, R., de Figueiredo, A.D. (2017) Relation between chemical processes and mechanical properties of sprayed cementitious matrices containing accelerators. Cement Concrete Comp, 79, 117-132. 
  • Pieralisi, R.; Cavalaro, S.H.P.; Aguado, A. (2016) Discrete element modelling of the fresh state behavior of pervious concrete. Cement Concrete Res, 90, 6-18. 
  • Salvador, R., Cavalaro, S., Cincotto, M., de Figueiredo, A.D. (2016) Parameters controlling early age hydration of cement pastes containing accelerators for sprayed concrete. Cement Concrete Res, 89, 230-248. 
  • Galobardes, I., Salvador, R., Cavalaro, S., Figueiredo, A., Goodier, C. (2016) Adaptation of the standard EN 196-1 for mortar with accelerator. Constr Build Mater, 127, 125-136. 
  • Garcia, T., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S. (2016). Shear behaviour of sprayed concrete. Constr Build Mater, 124, 722-31. 
  • Salvador, R., Cavalaro, S., Cano, M., de Figueiredo, A.D. (2016) Influence of spraying on the early hydration of accelerated cement pastes. Cement Concrete Res, 88, 7-19. 
  • Blanco, A., Pujadas, P., De La Fuente, A., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2016). Influence of the type of fiber on the structural response and design of FRC slabs. J Struct Eng-ASCE, 142(9). 
  • Klein, N. S., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A., Segura, I., Toralles-Carbonari, B. (2016) The wetting water in cement-based materials: modeling and experimental validation. Constr Build Mater, 121, 34-43. 
  • Juan-García, P., Torrents, J.M., López, R., Cavalaro, S. (2016) Influence of fiber properties on the inductive method for the steel-fiber-reinforced concrete characterization. IEEE T Instrum Meas, 65-8, 1937-1944. 
  • Segura, I., Cavalaro, S., de la Fuente, A.; Aguado, A.; Alegre, V. (2016) Service-life assessment of existing precast concrete structure exposed to severe marine conditions. J Perform Constr Fac, 30(3).
  • Picolo, R., Cavalaro, S., Segura, I., de Figueiredo, A.D., Pérez, J. (2016) Early age hydration of cement pastes with alkaline and alkali-free accelerators for sprayed concrete. Constr Build Mater, 111, 386-398. 
  • Liao, L., de la Fuente, A., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2016) Design procedure and experimental study on fibre reinforced concrete segmental rings for vertical shafts. Materials & Design, 92, 590-601. 
  • Ikumi, T., Cavalaro, S., Segura, I., de la Fuente, A., Aguado, A. (2016) Simplified methodology to evaluate the external sulfate attack in concrete structures. Materials & Design, 89, 1147-1147. 
  • Cavalaro, S., López, R., Torrents, J.M., Aguado, A., Juan-García, P. (2016) Assessment of fibre content and 3D profile in cylindrical SFRC specimens. Mater Struct, 49(1), 577-595. 
  • Blanco, A., Segura, I., Cavalaro, S., Chinchón-Payá, S., Aguado, A. (2016). Sand-Cement Concrete in the Century-Old Camarasa Dam. J Perform Constr Fac, 30(4). 
  • Canadell, S., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S. (2016). Comprehensive design method for earthbag and superadobe structures. Materials & Design, 96, 270-82. 
  • Pieralisi, R.; Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2015) Evolutionary lattice model for the compaction of pervious concrete in the fresh state. Constr Build Mater. 99, 11-25. 
  • Pujadas, P., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., & Aguado, A. (2015), Performance-based procedure for the definition of controlled low-strength mixtures. J Mater Civ Eng, 27(11). 
  • Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2015) Intrinsic scatter of FRC: an alternative philosophy to estimate characteristic values. Mater Struct, 48 - 11, 3537-3555. 
  • Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., de la Fuente, A., Grünewald, S., Blom, C. B. M., Walraven, J. C. (2015). Application of FRC constitutive models to modelling of slabs. Mater Struct, 48(9), 2943-59. 
  • Gomez, J., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2015) The trencadis mosaic on the pinnacles of the Sagrada Familia cathedral. Int J Archit Herit, 9-5, 594-604. 
  • Liao, L., de la Fuente, A., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A., Carbonari, G. (2015) Experimental and analytical study of concrete blocks subjected to concentrated loads with an application to TBM-constructed tunnels. Tunn Undergr Sp Tech, 49, pp. 295 - 306. 
  • Cavalaro, S., López, R., Torrents, J.M., Aguado, A. (2015) Improved assessment of fibre content and orientation with inductive method in SFRC. Mater Struct. 48-6, 1859 - 1873. 
  • Liao, L., de la Fuente, A., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2015) Design of FRC tunnel segments considering the ductility requirements of the Model Code 2010. Tunn Undergr Sp Tech, 47, 200-210. 
  • Galobardes, I., Cavalaro, S., Goodier, C., Austin, S., Rueda, A. ( 2015)Maturity method to predict the evolution of the properties of sprayed concrete. Constr Build Mater, 79, 357-369. 
  • Blanco, A., Pujadas, P., De La Fuente, A., Cavalaro, S., & Aguado, A. (2015). Assessment of the fibre orientation factor in SFRC slabs. Compos Part B-Eng, 68, 343-54. 
  • González-Ortega, M., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2015) Influence of barite aggregate friability on mixing process and mechanical properties of concrete. Constr Build Mater, 74, 169-175. 
  • Blanco, A., Pujadas, P., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2014). Methodology for the design of controlled low-strength materials. Application to the backfill of narrow trenches. Constr Build Mater, 72, 23-30. 
  • Oliveira, I., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2014) Evolution of pyrrhotite oxidation in aggregates for concrete. Mater Construcc, 64(316).
  • Pujadas, P., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2014). Plastic fibres as the only reinforcement for flat suspended slabs: Experimental investigation and numerical simulation. Constr Build Mater, 57, 92-104. 
  • Blanco, A., Pujadas, P., Cavalaro, S., De La Fuente, A., Aguado, A. (2014). Constitutive model for fibre reinforced concrete based on the Barcelona test. Cement and Concrete Comp, 53, 327-40. 
  • Ikumi, T.; Cavalaro, S.H.P.; Segura, I.; Aguado, A. (2014) Alternative methodology to consider damage and expansions in external sulfate attack modeling. Cement Concrete Res, 63, 105-116. 
  • Pujadas, P., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., de la Fuente, A., Aguado, A. (2014) Fibre distribution in macro-plastic fibre reinforced concrete slab-panels. Constr Build Mater, 64, 496-503. 
  • Pujadas, P., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., de la Fuente, A., Aguado, A. (2014) Multidirectional double punch test to assess the post-cracking behaviour and fibre orientation of FRC. Constr Build Mater, 58, 214-224. 
  • Galobardes, I., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A., Garcia, T. (2014) Estimation of the modulus of elasticity for sprayed concrete. Constr Build Mater, 53, 48-58
  • González-Ortega, M., Segura, I., Cavalaro, S., Toralles-Carnonari, B., Aguado, A., Andrello, A. (2014) Radiological protection and mechanical properties of concretes with EAF steel slags. Constr Build Mater, 51, 432-438. 
  • Pujadas, P., Blanco, A., Cavalaro, S., Aguado, A. (2014) Plastic fibres as the only reinforcement for flat suspended slabs: Experimental investigation and numerical simulation. Constr Build Mater, 57, 92-104.

Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching

I contribute to learning and teaching activities across the Schools programmes including: 

Undergraduate

  • Structural engineering & Engineering materials modules in 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 

Affiliations, awards, external activities and key collaborators

Current projects 

  • Development of advanced cementitious composites in the UK (Thorp Precast Ltd)
  • Assessment of the durability in tunnel segments – Phases I and II(Acciona-Ghella Joint Venture)
  • Optimised quality control for fibre reinforced concrete (Ghella S.p.A)

Recently completed projects

  • Conductive concrete for protection against lightning (Ingesco)
  • Evaluation of the sustainability of sprayed concrete with different accelerator types. (BASF)
  • Development of optimized fibre for FRC – Phases I and II (BASF)
  • Application of high-performance fibre reinforced concrete to 3D printing construction (Acciona)
  • Develop an in-depth study about the set accelerator admixtures for sprayed concrete (IQE)
  • Development of strength analysis techniques for the study of new set-accelerators for concrete (IQE).
  • High performance concrete barrier built in situ with improved safety and sustainability (SERVIÀ CANTÓ)
  • Evaluation of the state of concrete dams of the UPH Ebro-Pirineos, Spain (Endesa-Enel)
  • Development of high-performance concrete and mortar for Sagrada Familia, Spain (The Foundation of the Temple of Sagrada Familia, Spain)
  • Design and rehabilitation of the storm water harvesting and drainage channel Africa(Acciona)
  • HATCONS: Self-compacting concrete for underground construction. (FCC)
  • Rethinking the bilayer concrete pavement technology (Uniland).
  • Study of the problems related to the express manufacturing of concrete (Cementos Portland Valderribas).
  • High performance pervious concrete (BASF, Cementos Portland-Valderribas)
  • High performance concrete barrier built in situ with improved safety and sustainability (SERVIÀ CANTÓ)
  • Concrete with high content of recycled aggregate for structural applications (BASF, FCC, Uniland)
  • Development of a new controlled-low strength material for trench filling (Gas Natural Fenosa)
  • Development of a new solution to reuse trench arisings as filling material in utility trenches (Gas Natural Fenosa)
  • Study about Fibre Reinforced Concrete in the framework of the Folloline Tunnel Project (ACCIONA)
  • Development of program for the optimized design of pavements (IECA)

Professional affiliations

  • Member, RILEM (International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures)

Awards

  • Awarded the RILEM Gustavo Colonnetti Medal 2018 for outstanding scientific contribution to the fields of construction materials and structures

External activities

  • Visiting Professor at Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2018-present)
  • Visiting Professor at Universidade Federal do Parana, Brazil (2019-present)
  • Member of the Technical Activities Committee (TAC) of the RILEM (2018-present)
  • Deputy Chair, RILEM CCF Committee about the creep of FRC (2014-present)
  • Member, of FIB Task Group.2.11: Structures made by digital fabrication (2019-present)
  • Deputy Chair of the sprayed materials commission for the Spanish Structural Code (2015-2016)
  • Member, Standardization Committee SC-05 of AEN/CTN 83 – AENOR (Spain) about FRC (2014-present)
  • Member, Standardization Committee SC-06 of AEN/CTN 83 – AENOR (Spain) sprayed materials (2014-present)
  • Expert reviewer of the British Council Newton Fund (2018-present)
  • Expert reviewer of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (2017-present)
  • Expert reviewer of the Norwegian Research Council (2016-present)
  • External examiner, PhD programme of the Polytechnic School at Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2019-present)

Key collaborators

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

  • Universities: Currently collaborate with colleagues in 15 Universities in Europe, the Americas and Asia 
  • Technology companies: SIKA, BASF, IQE, Autodesk
  • Consultants: Mott MacDonald, Cundall, Foster and Partners

Background

I received a degree in Civil Engineering in 2006 from the Universidade Estadual de Londrina in Brazil. Then I continued my research career in Spain, focusing on concrete technology and underground infrastructure. In 2009 I was awarded a PhD for my research on technological aspects of tunnels built with tunnelling boring machines (TBM) and precast concrete segments from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC) with a European mention for the work developed at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. After a year as a research assistant, I became an Assistant Professor (2010-2015) at the School of Environmental and Civil Engineering of UPC. Then, I was promoted to Associate Professor (2015-2017). 

Over a period of seven years, research interests were extended from the initial area of advanced special concretes (fibre reinforced concrete, ultra-high performance concrete, sprayed concrete, pervious concrete, conductive concrete, 3D printed concrete) and durability of concrete structure (sulfate attack and reinforced concrete corrosion) to advanced modelling of cementitious materials performance and production processes (FEM, DEM, CFD) and innovative manufacturing. In 2015, I co-founded a spin-out company that develops enhanced cementitious materials and provides advanced design and maintenance solutions for civil and urban infrastructure.

In November 2017, I joined the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering (ABCE) at Loughborough University as a Reader in Infrastructure Systems and member of the Structures and Materials Group. I ama Deputy Director of Doctoral Programmes at ABCE, Programme Director of the MSc in Infrastructure Design and Management and the Deputy Director of the UKCRIC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure and Cities.