Prof. George Scherer retires

     Prof. George W. Scherer retired from Princeton University in the spring term of 2017, and will become an Emeritus Professor at the end of the academic year in June, 2017. Prof. Scherer joined the faculty of Princeton in 1996 with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Princeton Materials Institute (now called PRISM). He has dissolved his research group, but remains active in collaborative projects. 

Enrico Sassoni in Göttingen

     Dr Enrico Sassoni will spend 6 months in Göttingen, Germany, supported by a Marie Curie Fellowship, in the group of Prof Siegfried Siegesmund. Prof. Siegesmund, who is an expert on the structure and properties of marble, will supervise Dr Sassoni’s investigation of the use of phosphate consolidants on weathered marble. Following his stay in Germany, Dr Sassoni will return to the University of Bologna, where the Fellowship will provide an additional year of support.

New group member!

     Dr Lori Tunstall gave birth to Elias Tunstall, her third child, on Feb 13, 2017.

Prof. George Scherer to be Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Bologna

     Prof. Scherer will be a Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Bologna, Italy from April 24 until May 24. Scherer’s group has been collaborating with the group of Prof. Elisa Franzoni since 2010, when Enrico Sassoni first came to Princeton as a Visting Student Research Collaborator (VSRC). Enrico was succeeded by Gabriela GrazianiFor the last 18 months, who was a VSRC in Princeton from October, 2014 until March, 2015Enrico has rejoined the Scherer group with support from a Marie Curie Fellowship.

Dr Zhigong Zhang becomes Post-doc at ETHZ

     Dr Zhidong Zhang has joined the group of Prof. Ueli Angst at ETH Zurich in the Institute for Building Materials, on a project to model corrosion-induced concrete cracking.

Dr Enrico Sassoni wins RILEM Award

     Dr. Enrico Sassoni has been selected to receive the Gustavo Colonnetti medal for 2017 from RILEM. This highly selective distinction is awarded to researchers of less than 35 years, who have made an outstanding scientific contributions to the field of construction materials and structures. Enrico has been invited to present his work on the 29th of March 2017 in Detroit at the ACI convention

Dr Enrico Sassoni wins poster award

Dr Enrico Sassoni won the best-poster award at the 13th International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone held in Paisley, Scotland from Sept 6-9, 2016. The poster entitled, "Conservation of sugaring marble by hydroxyapatite” and co-authored by Gabriela Graziani, Elisa Franzoni, George W. Scherer, described recent progress in developing coatings of hydroxyapatite to protect marble from weathering.

Dr Zhidong Zhang wins second poster award 2

For the second time, Dr Zhidong Zhang has won a best-poster award for his research on supercritical drying of cement paste: “Comparison of different methods to dry OPC paste” at the 7th Advances in Cement-Based Materials conference, July 10–13 at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (

Tyler Ley (left), Cements Division Chair, poses for a picture with two of the winners of the student poster competition. Matthew Krafcik (center), Purdue University, won for his poster “Superabsorbent hydrogels as internal curing agents: Investigating the effects of hydrogel particle size on properties and microstructure of concrete.” Zhidong Zhang (right), Princeton University, won for his poster “Comparison of different methods to dry OPC paste.” Credit: ACerS

Lori Tunstall successfully defends thesis

     Lori Tunstall successfully presented her Final Public Oral defense of her thesis on Friday, May 13. Her thesis, entitled "A study of surfactant interaction in cement-based systems and the role of the surfactant in frost protection” addressed four main topics: (1) interaction of air-entraining agents (AEA) with ions in solution; (2) adsorption of AEA onto cement, fly ash, and carbon contaminants; (3) strains during freezing of cement containing AEA; (4) strains during freezing of cement containing carbon-contaminated fly ash and AEA. Her work demonstrated distinct differences in the behavior of 4 commercial AEA, and showed that AEA exhibiting the strongest tendency to self-association are most effective in protecting against frost damage. She explained the mechanism by which carbon contamination interferes with air entrainment, which resolved decades of contradictory reports in the literature. Her measurements of strain during freezing revealed that the microstructure of the shells around air voids is a critical factor in the frost protection provided by the AEA. In summary, her thesis clarifies the mechanisms by which AEA work, how carbon contamination interferes with AEA, and how the molecular structure of the AEA influences the microstructure of the voids that provide frost protection in concrete.

Enrico Sassoni wins prize for poster

     Dr. Enrico Sassoni won second prize at Princeton Research Day on May 5, 2016 ( for his poster, "Can the mineral constituting our teeth and bones help us preserving our monuments?  The HAP4MARBLE project"

Lori Tunstall selected as Emerging Alumni Scholar

 Lori Tunstall has been chosen as one of three recipients for the Emerging Alumni Scholars Award for 2015-2016.

      The announcement read in part, "My colleagues on the Alumni Council’s Committee on Academic Programs for Alumni (CAPA) have selected you based on the excellence of your dissertation project, your ability to communicate in an engaging manner to a broad public outside your discipline, and on the merits of your distinguished career at Princeton.

     As part of the competition, Lori created a video describing her work that is available here:

Dr Zhidong Zhang wins poster award

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     Dr Zhidong Zhang presented a poster entitled, Supercritical drying of OPC paste, which won the Outstanding Poster Presentation Award at the conference, "Cementing the Future: Grand Challenges in Construction Materials” at UCLA on March 17-18, 2016. The poster presents the first results of supercitical drying performed on cement paste, which avoids the creation of artifacts resulting from capillary pressure. The poster can be seen here

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Lori Tunstall wins a poster award

Lori Tunstall won the Best Poster Award for her presentation entitled Physical and Chemical Interaction of Air-Entraining Agents with Paste and Ash at the conference 6th Advances in Cement-based Materials on July 20 – 22, 2015 at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., USA. The poster can be seen here.

Another new group member!

Ethan Daniel Tunstall was born to Lori Tunstall on May 13, 2015. Ethan means strong and optimistic, solid and enduring. 

Dr Sonia Naidu defends her thesis

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     On May 1, Sonia Naidu successfully defended her doctoral thesis, entitled "Novel hydroxyapatite coatings for the conservation of marble and limestone”. This work has resulted in 11 refereed publications and 9 oral presentations at conferences. 

© Princeton University 2012