Dr Leon Black


BSc (Hons) Chemistry, University of Bristol, 1992

MSc Advanced Analytical Chemistry, University of Bristol, 1993

PhD ‘Understanding the Factors Influencing the Development of a Patina on Architectural Lead’, University of Bristol, 1997


  • Director of the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure
  • Programme Leader for MSc in Advanced Concrete Technology

Research interests

I'm a surface analytical and materials’ chemist, who for the last 15 years has used various analytical techniques to investigate the structure and stability of cementitious materials. I spent a number of years applying Raman and photoelectron spectroscopies for the analysis of cement. More recently I've focussed on composition-microstructure-performance relationships in low-clinker binders. 

Outside of construction, my research extends into solidification/stabilisation of wastes within cement, and the immobilisation of low and intermediate level nuclear waste. As such, I am a member of Nuclear Leeds.

While in Leeds I have been an active participant in Nanocem; where I serve on the Steering Committee. My work within the consortium has led to collaborations with the Technical University of Munich, ZAG (Slovenia), Lund University and IFSTTAR (Paris).

Aside from my research, I am a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IoM3), as past-chair of the Institute's Cementitious Materials Group. I am the Deputy Editor of Advances in Cement Research, and serve on the Editorial Boards of Advances in Applied Ceramics and Cement and Concrete Research.

My technical expertise includes the use of;

  • (Environmental) Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • Vibrational Spectroscopy (Raman and Infra-Red)
  • Thermal Analysis
  • X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy
  • X-ray Diffraction

Student education

I teach civil engineering materials throughout many of the undergraduate programmes. My teaching shows how engineering performance can be understood by understanding the fundamental science behind many of the materials used throughout civil engineering. In particular, my teaching covers the fundamentals of cement hydration and the durability of concrete; bringing my research into the lecture theatre.

I am also heavily involved in the supervision of undergraduate and Masters research projects. My projects cover concrete durability and environmental aspects of cement and concrete.

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Resilient Infrastructure