Study level


Master of Philosophy



Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Associate Professor Yunfei Xi
Advance Queensland Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


This project will explore the potentials of local natural minerals and waste products for developing next-generation, high-quality precast panels that impose a high cost environmental footprint.

Our research will:

  • advance fundamental knowledge of natural minerals
  • reduce building industry dependence on lower-quality imported products
  • expedite local manufacturing of energy efficient solutions for building facades, roofs and wall systems.

Use of precast panels speeds up construction, reduces on site defects, construction times, scaffolding and site labour costs. These advantages contribute to increased productivity in the building industry. This project will consider sustainable design as the developed products will have the potential for recycling at the end of their service life.

Being part of the 'university for the real world' this project will not only concentrate on academic innovations but also solutions to industrial problems. Prototypes will assist design of full-scale manufacturing processes by the Partner Organisation.

Research activities

In this project, existing and undeveloped sources of industrial minerals and rocks, clays and oxides, will be evaluated for the suitability to fabricate functional building materials including novel coatings and large format ceramic panels.

Some of these materials include:

  • kaolinite
  • palygorskite
  • montmorillonite
  • basalt
  • hematite
  • magnetite

You will gain valuable and practical experience in the development and characterisation of these novel materials under the supervision of Associate Professor Xi who is an experienced scientist and a program leader of “buildings and people” in the newly established Centre for Clean Energy Technologies and Practices (CCETP) at QUT.


Depending on your study level, the objectives are to research and develop:

  • causal connections between the raw input materials as well as manufacturing process and new innovative products that meet consumer demand. (Honours, Masters, PhD)
  • a fundamental understanding, at a microstructural level, of R&D of modern building materials. (Honours, Masters, PhD)
  • theoretic construction on the relevant reaction and fabrication mechanisms under the framework of mineralogy, crystallography and materials science. (PhD)

Skills and experience

As the successful applicant, you may have background in one or some of the below areas:

  • chemistry
  • material science
  • minerals (e.g. clay minerals)



Contact the supervisor for more information.