< Back to previous page


Johan Blom

  • Research interest:Mining the microscale for macroscale ideas My research can be divided in several domains, mainly connected to the study of binders, more specific bitumen, cements and geo polymers. Looking for answers for the behaviour of bitumen in the material’s microscale structure and composition is a key research topic. Microstructural changes in bitumen could have an impact on the material’s mechanical properties. On the one hand, the influence on bitumen of oxidation, UV and water is like a ‘grey zone’, which still needs to be fully explored. On the other hand, additives, rejuvenators and recycling (bitumen, rubber) will affect the bitumen. In this scope the latest analysis methods are used, in order to provide nanoscale information for these important research areas. • Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT IR) • Scanning electron microscope (SEM)• Atomic force measurement (AFM)• Time-of-Flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) In this perspective we are looking at new measuring devices like a Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope (CLSM) and multi spectral image cameras.The affinity of bitumen on asphalt stones, mesoscale, is a fundamental key in order to develop a more durable asphalt. New optical detection methods, based on digital image processing (DIP), are currently developed.Additional full rheological and mechanical research can be performed on bitumen, mortars and asphalt.• Ring and ball• Pen• Dynamic shear rheometer (DSR)• Bending BeamDue to my experiences with geopolymers, PhD 2015 VUB (Textile reinforced calcium phosphate cement for composite moulds to process thermoplastics), I focus on the use of geopolymers in base materials for road construction, replacement of Portland cement and 3D printing. One of the main research topics in this field is related to non-destructive testing, digital image correlation (DIC) and acoustic emission (AE).On macro scale my research focus is on Circular Bridges It’s becoming increasingly important for both designers and developers to deal with products and raw materials in a sustainable way. Therefore, maximizing the use of renewable raw materials in new products and upcycling the materials and products currently in use, are crucial. However, the criteria for such a circular economy approach have yet to be clearly defined. As such, this research aims to develop a clear tool, based finite element methods (FEM), on which will, apart from the current codes of good practice, indicate in how far a certain design for a cycling bridge adheres to the general concepts of circular economy and how this improves the bridge sustainability.
  • Disciplines:Sustainable buildings and cities, Soil mechanics, Geotechnical and environmental engineering not elsewhere classified, Infrastructure, transport and mobility engineering not elsewehere classified, Destructive and non-destructive testing of materials, Materials recycling and valorisation, Polymeric materials not elsewhere classified
  • Research techniques:• Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT IR) • Scanning electron microscope (SEM)• Atomic force measurement (AFM)• Time-of-Flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) • Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope (CLSM)• Multi spectral image cameras.• Dynamic shear rheometer• Bending beam• digital image correlation (DIC) • Acoustic emission (AE).• Finite Element methods, Scia, Abaqus, Siemens NX
  • Users of research expertise:Material researchRoad designers / ContractorsBitumen & additive suppliersBridge designers