Utilisation of Australian natural minerals for novel building products

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


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

External supervisors

  • Lloyd Gainey, Brickworks


This project aims to utilise nano/micron-scale, locally-sourced minerals as additives for novel building products development in order to provide increased strength, product density and crack resistance to the finished product.

Prototype products and techniques will be developed for higher quality building materials that outperform existing imported, low quality products used in the building industry.

The project will evaluate existing recyclable materials as additives to pre-cast panels and will develop products that have the potential for being recycled when at the end of their service life.

Being part of a 'university for the real world' this project will not only concentrate on academic innovations but also solutions to industrial problems.

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. These materials include:

  • kaolinite
  • hematite
  • magnetite
  • pyrolusite
  • pyrophyllite
  • basalt.

A combination of the two products/techniques will further lead to value-added building products with high performance and improved aesthetic appeal for consumers and building construction markets.

You will gain valuable and practical experience in the development and characterisation of novel building materials under the supervisions of two materials/minerals scientists at QUT and a co-supervisor from a major manufacturer of consumer building products in Australia.


Depending on the level of study 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 some of the below areas (no need to be in every area):

  • Materials science
  • Mineralogy
  • Clay minerals
  • Concrete
  • Building materials


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisors for more information.