Dr Rackel San Nicolas

  • Room: Level: 03 Room:
  • Building: Engineering Block D
  • Campus: Parkville

Research interests

  • Alkali activated materials for constructions (Alkali-activation, Geopolymers, Constructions, Slag, Fly ash)
  • Durability of concrete (Durability, Additions, Performance-based approach)
  • Smart materials for construction (Self healing concretes, bioconcrete)


Rackel San Nicolas is working to develop reliable test methods for sustainable materials for constructions durability, and to understand the relationship between sustainable concretes microstructure, mechanical, structural properties and durability. She is also developing new smart materials for construction, as biomodified self-healing concrete for examples, using her multidisciplinary background and network.She is working in close collaboration with several industries.

Recent publications

  1. Walkley B, Rees GJ, San Nicolas R, Van Deventer JSJ, Hanna JV, Provis JL. New Structural Model of Hydrous Sodium Aluminosilicate Gels and the Role of Charge-Balancing Extra-Framework AI. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C. American Chemical Society. 2018, Vol. 122, Issue 10. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.8b00259
  2. Un CH, Sanjayan JG, San Nicolas R. Comparison of creep behaviour of geopolymer concrete and opc concrete. 24th Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM). 2017.
  3. Rupasinghe M, San Nicolas R, Mendis P, Sofi M, Ngo T. Investigation of strength and hydration characteristics in nano-silica incorporated cement paste. CEMENT & CONCRETE COMPOSITES. Pergamon. 2017, Vol. 80. DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2017.02.011
  4. Walkley B, San Nicolas R, Sani M, Bernal SA, Van Deventer J, Provis J. Structural evolution of synthetic alkali-activated CaO-MgO-Na2O-Al2O3-SiO2 materials is influenced by Mg content. CEMENT AND CONCRETE RESEARCH. Pergamon-Elsevier Science. 2017, Vol. 99. DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconres.2017.05.006
  5. Bernal SA, San Nicolas R, Van Deventer J, Provis J. Alkali-activated slag cements produced with a blended sodium carbonate/sodium silicate activator. ADVANCES IN CEMENT RESEARCH. ICE Publishing. 2016, Vol. 28, Issue 4. DOI: 10.1680/jadcr.15.00013
  6. Walkley B, San Nicolas R, Sani M, Rees GJ, Hanna JV, Van Deventer J, Provis J. Phase evolution of C-(N)-A-S-H/N-A-S-H gel blends investigated via alkali-activation of synthetic calcium aluminosilicate precursors. CEMENT AND CONCRETE RESEARCH. Pergamon-Elsevier Science. 2016, Vol. 89. DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconres.2016.08.010
  7. Walkley B, San Nicolas R, Sani M, Gehman JD, Van Deventer J, Provis J. Phase evolution of Na2O-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O gels in synthetic aluminosilicate binders. DALTON TRANSACTIONS. Royal Society of Chemistry. 2016, Vol. 45, Issue 13. DOI: 10.1039/c5dt04878h
  8. Jayalath A, San Nicolas R, Sofi M, Shanks R, Ngo T, Aye L, Mendis P. Properties of cementitious mortar and concrete containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials. CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MATERIALS. Elsevier BV. 2016, Vol. 120. DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2016.05.116
  9. Walkley B, San Nicolas R, Sani M, Gehman JD, Van Deventer J, Provis J. Synthesis of stoichiometrically controlled reactive aluminosilicate and calcium-aluminosilicate powders. POWDER TECHNOLOGY. Elsevier Science. 2016, Vol. 297. DOI: 10.1016/j.powtec.2016.04.006
  10. Tennakoon C, San Nicolas R, Sanjayan JG, Shayan A. Thermal effects of activators on the setting time and rate of workability loss of geopolymers. CERAMICS INTERNATIONAL. Elsevier. 2016, Vol. 42, Issue 16. DOI: 10.1016/j.ceramint.2016.09.092
  11. Tennakoon C, Sagoe-Crentsil K, San Nicolas R, Sanjayan JG. Characteristics of Australian brown coal fly ash blended geopolymers. CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MATERIALS. Elsevier BV. 2015, Vol. 101. DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.10.089
  12. Un CH, Sanjayan JG, San Nicolas R, Van Deventer J. Creep behaviour of geopolymer. 10th International Conference on the Physical Properties and Application of Advanced Materials (ICPMAT). 2015.
  13. Walkley B, San Nicolas R, Bernal SA, Provis J, Van Deventer J. Effect of MgO incorporation on the structure of synthetic alkali-activated calcium aluminosilicate binders. 27th Biennial National Conference of the Concrete Institute of Australia (CONCRETE). 2015.
  14. Van Deventer J, San Nicolas R, Ismail I, Bernal SA, Brice DG, Provis J. Microstructure and durability of alkali-activated materials as key parameters for standardization. JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE CEMENT-BASED MATERIALS. Taylor & Francis Ltd. 2015, Vol. 4, Issue 2. DOI: 10.1080/21650373.2014.979265
  15. Un CH, Sanjayan JG, San Nicolas R, Van Deventer J. Mini-Beam Test for Assessing the Creep Trend of Paste, Mortar, and Concrete. 10th International Conference on Mechanics and Physics of Creep, Shrinkage, and Durability of Concrete and Concrete Structures (CONCREEP). 2015. Editors: Hellmich C, Pichler B, Kollegger J. DOI: 10.1061/9780784479346.160

View a full list of publications on the University of Melbourne’s ‘Find An Expert’ profile