Nair’s research focusses on development and characterization of novel cementitious materials. Prior to joining CEE, she worked as a Post-Doctoral Associate at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), investigating the micro-mechanical response of alternate cementitious materials. Previously, she was a Research Associate in the Petroleum Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin and worked on improving zonal isolation of oil and gas wells and for decommissioning and permanent abandonment of wells. Dr. Nair received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and developed a novel set-on-demand concrete based on the principles of magneto-rheology. Her master’s degree is from the University of California, Davis and her undergraduate degree is from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. She is an active member of American Concrete Institute and American Ceramics Society.
In January 2023, Nair was named an Early-Career Research Fellow of the Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Concrete is a widely used construction material and its inexpensive. However, there are a few existing challenges with use of concrete. The primary ingredient in concrete is portland cement which is manufactured and leads to about 5-8% of global CO2 emissions. The other challenge is that our infrastructure is crumbling and needs to be replaced. Furthermore, as the global economy continues to grow there will be a continuous need for constructing infrastructure and its our responsibility to ensure they are durable. We use various tools in our lab to characterize alternate, sustainable cementitious materials and to understand which ones would be more durable than our currently used traditional materials. Applications of interest include 3D printing of concrete and well cementing. We also work on a novel cementitious materials with the use a magnetic approach in order to control their rheological properties in real time. This technique ensures cementitious materials can be placed appropriately and will set on demand.
- Liu, X., Nair, S.D., Aughenbaugh, K., and van Oort, E., “Mud-to-cement Conversion of Synthetic-Based Drilling Mud using Alkali-activated Fly Ash Slurries”, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, vol 182, pp. 106242, 2019.
- Wu, Q., Nair, S.D., Shuck, M., van Oort, E., Guzik, A. and Kishida, K. “Advanced Fiber Optic Sensors for Monitoring Cement Integrity and Zonal Isolation”, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, vol. 158, pp. 479-493, 2017.
- Nair, S.D. and Ferron, R.P., “Smart cement-based materials via a magnetorheological approach”, Rheologica Acta, vol. 55 (7), pp. 571-579, 2016.
- Nair, S.D. and Ferron, R.P., “Set-on-demand concrete”, Cement and Concrete Research, vol. 57, pp. 13-27, 2014.
- Bolander J.E., Choi S. and Duddukuri S.R., “Fracture of fiber-reinforced cement composites: effects of fiber dispersion,” International Journal of Fracture, vol. 154 (1), pp. 73-86, 2008.
Selected Awards and Honors
- Gulf Research Program, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Early-Career Research Fellow, 2023
- The University of Texas at Austin, Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering, 2013
- University of California, Davis, Master of Science, 2008
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering, 2006