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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5452M Cement and Concrete Properties

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Professor Leon Black

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Bachelor's degree in civil engineering or approved prior learning (certified or experiential).

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module contributes to students' comprehensive understanding of the properties of concrete at both fresh and hardened states at an advanced level. Course content provides participants with an in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles underpinning the construction of high-quality, durable concrete civil engineering structures and is aimed at students and current construction professionals involved in production, use, quality control or learning activities associated with concrete construction.


The aim of the module is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the early-age and the long-term performance of concrete, including issues such as its ability to be placed and compacted, properties and performance characteristics; structural movements; and strength development, fire resistance and durability performance. In addition, students will develop the ability to appraise practical situations and make informed decisions regarding early-age performance, long-term concrete performance and related testing regimes.

Learning outcomes
Successful completion of the course will lead to the following learning outcomes:
• A comprehensive understanding of the relevant scientific principles underpinning the short-, medium- and long-term performance of concrete.
• Critical awareness of latest research findings concerning concrete performance.
• Profound understanding of the fundamental principles of concrete mix design.
• Critical awareness of concrete mix design methods and ability to apply them to design concrete mixes to different specifications and for different applications.
• Awareness of the value of sustainable development with reference to concrete.
• Awareness of the social and commercial and regulatory issues surrounding the design and performance of concrete.
• A thorough understanding of current concrete mix design methodologies and their practical limitations.

Transferable skills:
• Confidence to work independently, or as part of a team, to research, collate and synthesise information;
• Awareness of the need for a high level of professional and ethical conduct;
• Ability to derive solutions to engineering problems;
• Ability to reflectively evaluate one's own learning and personal development;
• Apply subject-specific knowledge to generic engineering challenges;
• Ability to collate complex information in a concise and effective manner in the form of a report.

Skills outcomes
Please see learning outcomes


The module will cover the following broad topics:
• concrete rheology and its impact on issues such as consistence, stability, mobility and compactability;
• key factors influencing concrete segregation, bleeding, plastic settlement and plastic shrinkage;
• the principles governing correct placing, compaction and curing of concrete;
• concrete heat evolution, including related test methods and performance issue;
• early-age strength development characteristics, maturity methods;
• appropriate curing methodologies and the impacts of hot and cold weather;
• concrete porosity and its impact on concrete strength and modulus of elasticity;
• causes and main factors affecting creep and shrinkage deformation;
• effects of shrinkage and creep upon concrete in service;
• thermal and moisture movements in concrete;
• durability concepts and transport processes for harmful species into concrete;
• causes, impacts and solutions for key durability problems associated with concrete;
• relevant British and European specifications.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning20.250.50
Class tests, exams and assessment23.006.00
Group learning125.0025.00
Independent online learning hours170.00
Private study hours96.50
Total Contact hours33.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

This module will be delivered via distance learning and will involve no conventional lectures or seminars, but will be based on the concept of self-learning, coordinated by the programme leader and invited University tutors (as appropriate). The module will be introduced through four recorded lectures by the programme leader or industry experts.

The learning process will be achieved via the completion of group-based and individual assignments set by the programme leader, in consultation with University Tutors. These assignments will be based on reference text books made available to students specifically for this self-learning module, together with relevant online resource materials, as appropriate. Assignment topics will be both topical and challenging, designed to provide revision, updating and an advanced understanding of concrete technology against the module’s syllabus and learning objectives.

There will be an initial group assignment, with each member expected to contribute. Each assignment group will receive technical and moral support from an appointed academic member of staff or invited University tutor as appropriate. This assignment will be formative and the feedback provided will aid further learning. Assignment-specific discussion forums will also be created on Minerva to allow open communication between students and enable input/review by the module coordinator/ tutors. For the group assignment, the team leader will be responsible for organising the group’s work and posting the final report online and to deadline, via Minerva.

Following the group assignment, there will be two individual assignments. As for the group assignments, background material will be supplemented by input from an academic tutor and by a discussion board. Feedback on the first individual assignment will be returned before submission of the second, so that students can learn from their feedback.

The assignments will be complemented by online MCQs. These will be designed to test deeper level thinking than conventional MCQs, by introducing “assertion-reason” style questions, or enabling calculation based questions. The introduction of these MCQs has been considered so as to provide instant feedback to students and guide them through their learning and potential gaps in their knowledge.
Information required to contribute to group assignments will come from independent online learning and private study.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored via a number of routes. Firstly, students are encouraged to use each module's online discussion board. Engagement is then followed by regular assessment through the semester, with an assessment timetable developed so as to offer regular feedback to students while also monitoring student engagement and progress. A typical timetable is given below:

Week 1 Group Assignment set
Week 3 Individual component submission of Group Assignment
Weeks 4-5 MCQ 1
Week 5 Feedback on Individual component of Group Assignment
Week 6 Individual Assignments set
Week 8 Group Assignment submission
Weeks 9-10 MCQ 2
Week 10 Feedback on Group Assignment
Week 11 Submission of Individual Assignment 1
Late March Feedback on Individual Assignment 1
Week 12 Submission of Individual Assignment 2
Late May Feedback on Individual Assignment 2

Note that the weeks are indicative of teaching weeks rather than calendar weeks, such that students also have the Easter vacation to complete their individual assignments.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words40.00
Essay3.000 words40.00
Group Project5,000 words (formative)0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)80.00

Resit: Essay 50%; Essay 50%

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online MCQ0 hr 00 mins10.00
Online MCQ0 hr 00 mins10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)20.00

Resit: Essay 50%; Essay 50%

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/12/2021


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