Forterra donation helps London PhD student purchase tools

Building products manufacturer, Forterra, has donated £800 to Ashraf Nayel, a PhD student at Imperial College London to progress his research.ImperialCollegeAshraf 072 Ashraf Nayel PhD student at Imperial College London holding materials for his experiments

Ashraf began his PhD in June 2021 under the supervision of Dr Christian Málaga-Chuquitaype and Dr Lorenzo Macorini in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to create a practical protection alternative for historical buildings against extreme stress. The preservation of historical buildings is a challenging task due to the fragility of the ancient masonry material and the lack of any previous preventative measures against extreme actions and other environmental impacts.

When historical buildings are located in more modern and vulnerable areas providing physical protective barriers is difficult. Most barriers that prevent external sources of stress or more aggressive means of decay can cause further damage to the buildings historical structural or architectural elements. Ashraf’s PhD research project sets out to develop an innovative protective system that could be applied to historical buildings without impairing their heritage value.

Forterra’s donation will cover the purchase of tools such as a core cutter, formworks and mortar ingredients including lime and sand which are required to perform experiments. The experiments will form one of the core elements of Ashraf’s thesis, and will include extracting brick samples to study, and dynamic impact tests to explore the behaviour of materials under different stress conditions including what are known as Quasi-static tests to compare the difference between dynamic and static loadings. These experiments aim to find practical solutions to protect historical buildings and buildings of interest.

Ashraf, PhD student at Imperial College London said, “I’m grateful to Forterra for its donation. To be able to progress my research and purchase some of the important tools I need is a significant contribution to my project.”

Dr Christian Málaga, Ashraf’s main supervisor, said, “Ashraf’s work is crucial to the preservation of invaluable historical assets made more vulnerable by being located in harsh environments. It involves multiple aspects that must be rigorously balanced without cutting corners, and Ashraf is the right researcher for this demanding project. This donation will contribute to key components of the experiment and we are grateful for it.”

Caroline Wildman, Marketing Director at Forterra said, “We understand the importance of protecting buildings for the future, ensuring our own bricks are created to last. We are glad to see our donation help Ashraf purchase the tools he needs to progress his research.”

The Forterra Community Fund gives charities, clubs, groups and societies the opportunity to apply for funding or building products to be used in projects that make a positive contribution to their local community.

To apply to the fund, visit

About Elizabeth Jordan

I'm the Assistant Editor on BMJ. If you have any product or people information, or some news you'd like to share, please feel free to email me.

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