Materials and Durability

Materials and Durability

• Material properties and optimization
• Characterization and modelling 
• Building physics and moisture
• Construction materials in Arctic context
• Deterioration and repair
• Reuse and upgrading 

Our research takes offset in construction materials properties and optimization of these. We investigate fundamental links between material characteristics in nano-scale to the macro-scale properties of building materials. Our approach is a combination of experimental work and modeling. We develop new experimental methods and models when necessary in order to support our research. Concrete technology is a major topic; however, our research covers properties and optimization of a wide range of inorganic and organic construction materials.

Materials optimization must consider the physical context of the structure. Building physics is a key in describing the interaction between the material and a varying physical context. Within building physics, we highlight moisture transport as well as coupled flows. The Arctic context sets the building physics to an edge in its extreme climatic environment, and we use our direct access to the Arctic (through Arctic DTU) to conduct on-site materials testing under arctic conditions.

Materials optimization involves deep understanding of deterioration processes to counteract the decay and optimize the material characteristics towards more durable materials. We specialize in characterizing and modeling the deterioration of materials across several length scales to support the generic understanding of the deterioration processes and support optimization of material use. In addition to optimization of new materials, we use the knowledge on deterioration processes to develop new repair technologies to prolong lifetime of the materials already in structures.

Additionally, materials optimization involves sustainability aspects. Our research includes the use of secondary resources in the production of new construction materials. The secondary resources are both materials from demolition sites and from other industries. We develop knowledge for direct reuse when possible, and technologies for upgrading materials, which are hazardous or have physical or chemical characteristics hampering the direct use.


Lisbeth M. Ottosen
Professor, head of section
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 22 60
18 JANUARY 2019