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Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa CEng, FICE

Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa, CEng, FICE

Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Abir Al-Tabbaa is accepting applications for PhD students.

Abir Al-Tabbaa is available for consultancy.

Department of Engineering
Trumpington Street

Cambridge , Cambs CB2 1PZ
Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 332715


Professor Al-Tabbaa graduated from Bristol University in Civil Engineering and obtained an MPhil and PhD degrees in Soil Mechanics from Cambridge University working on the permeability and stress-strain response of speswhite kaolin clay both experimentally and numerically. She worked as a geotechnical engineer with Ove Arup & Partners Consulting Engineers in their London and Nottingham Offices for just over three years and was involved in the geotechnical design and construction aspects of a number of projects including Embankment Place and Ludgate Railways Works in the centre of London and Corby and Peterborough power stations.

She started her academic career as a lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Birmingham and in 1997 returned to Cambridge University as a University Lecturer, now Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering. She is a fellow of Sidney Sussex College. She is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

She was a member of the British Geotechnical Association Executive Committee (2001-2004), a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers Geotechnical Engineering Advisory Panel (2003-2005), Ground Improvement Advisory Panel (2007-2014). She was awarded the Institution of Civil Engineers Reed and Mallik Medal in 2003 for her paper on the five-year soil mixing treatment work at the West Drayton site near Heathrow Airport.

She is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the ASCE Materials in Civil Engineering, Panel Member of the ERC Consolidator Grant Panel, the UK representative on the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering Technical Committee TC211 on Ground Improvement, the UK representative on the EU COST Action CA15202 - SARCOS: Self-healing as Preventative Repair of Concrete Structures, member of the new RILEM Technical Committee SHE: Self-healing Concrete: Efficiency and Evaluation and a member of the World Economic Forum Network.

Departments and Institutes

Department of Engineering:
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Research Interests

Areas of interest and expertise:

Intelligent materials for construction and the environment

  • Magnesia cements
  • Low pH cements
  • Alkali activated cements
  • Low carbon and low energy materials
  • Sustainable Binders
  • Advanced and Green grouts
  • Resilient and durable materials
  • Lightweight aggregates and materials
  • High performance sorbents
  • Nanomaterials
  • Carbon nanotube concrete
  • Self-healing and self-repair materials
  • Bio-concrete
  • Phase change materials
  • Integrated oxidants
  • Versatile immobilisation agents
  • Reuse of wastes and by-products
  • Cements for extreme environments (high temperature, pressure and rich CO2 environment)
  • Green soil amendments
  • Composites and hybrid materials
  • Geopolymer cements

Soil Mix Technology

  • Ground improvement
  • Land remediation
  • Integrated systems
  • Field applications

Carbon capture and storage and low carbon materials

  • Accelerated carbonation
  • Mineral carbonation
  • Seawater/brine CO2 sequestration
  • Carbon negative materials for construction and environment
  • Carbon storage materials
  • CO2 sequestration in industrial by-products, residues and wastes
  • Integrated CO2 capture and sequestration systems
  • Chemical looping

Data mining, mapping, modelling and management

  • Soil modelling
  • Stabilised soil systems
  • Cementitious systems
  • Artificial neural networks
  • Process Envelopes
  • Data management in geotechnical engineering
  • LCA in land remediation projects
  • LCA in ground improvement projects

Contaminated and problematic soils

  • Contaminated land and in-situ land remediation
  • Contaminated groundwater
  • Hypersaline soils
  • Peat, soft soils and organic soils
  • Sensors for groundwater monitoring
  • LCA in land remediation and ground improvement

Waste valorisation, management and reuse

  • Agricultural waste to sorbents and soil amendments
  • Drill cuttings to construction products
  • Extraction of raw materials from wastes
  • Conversation of waste into added value products
  • Encapsulation of nuclear waste

Examples of completed and on-going projects:

Long term behaviour of cement-treated soils

MgO cement

Process Envelopes for Cement-based Stabilisation/Solidification (ProCeSS)

Soil Mix Remediation Technology (SMiRT)

Stabilisation/Solidification Treatment and Remediation network (STARNET)

Sustainable Urban Drownfield Regeneration: Integrated Management (SUBR:IM)

Materials for Life: Self-healing Construction Materials

Cambridge-Africa Alborada project


  • Fourth year module on Foundation Engineering (1997-2002, 2017-).
  • Fourth year module on Ground Engineering - Slope Stability lectures (1999 – 2001).
  • Fourth year module on Contaminated Land and Waste Containment (2004 – date).
  • Third year module on Environmental Engineering (1997- 2011, 2017).
  • Third year Quay Wall Design project (1998 - 2001).
  • Third year design project on Sustainable Construction Products (2004-2008).
  • First year Exposition (1997 - date).
  • Shared third and fourth year module of Construction and Management (2008-2012)

Key Publications

See my publications list.