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Dr Cristina De Nardi

Dr Cristina De Nardi

Research Associate

School of Engineering

Room 1.31, Queen's Buildings - West Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA


I am a Research Associate at the School of Engineering, member of Resilient Materials for Life (RM4L) research group in the Department of Civil Engineering, Cardiff University. I am a Chartered Architect and have more than 15 years experience as project manager for restoration and retrofitting operations and as site supervision for restoration works. In the last 5 years I worked on the development and experimental investigation of sustainable, cementitious, biomimetic construction materials that have the benefit of greater longevity with reduced impact on the environment.

My research activity is dedicated to studying innovative materials for structural restoration of historical

buildings as well as sustainable cementitious materials motivated by minimising the need for repair and maintenance of civil engineering infrastructure. Three key strands of my research are as follows:

  • Experimental investigations on self-healing behaviour of lime mortars for structural restoration of historic masonry constructions.
  • 3D printing for self-healing concrete technologies
  • The use of mini vascular networks in concrete structures to afford them a self-healing response when exposed to damage.
  • Physical-chemical properties and mechanical characteristics of innovative self-healing agents and their interaction with the host matrix.

I graduated with honors in History and Conservation of Architectural Heritage (2002), then in Architecture (2008) at IUAV University of Venice and licensed a professional architect. I held a PhD in Innovation for building and cultural heritage with the thesis entitled Self-healing behaviour of lime mortars for structural restoration of historical masonry constructions (2018).

My PhD research considered, through an extensive laboratory investigation, the influence of tailored additions to a lime-based mortar with a view to improve the self-healing capacity. I studied a proper constitutive low to simulate the whole experimental data in order to readily obtain coefficients, which allowed the prediction of healing behaviour in relation to the age and level of damage. Following my PhD, since 2018 I joined the EPSRC funded project RM4L (Resilient Material 4 Life) at the University working on 3D printed mini-vascular networks for self-healing concrete structures. My main areas of expertise are Construction Materials, Conservation and restoration of Cultural Heritage, Self-healing Technology, 3D


Dec 2017

PhD at the School of Doctorate Studies of University IUAV of Venice. Cycle XXX, with the track Innovation for building and cultural heritage. Dissertation title: “Self-healing behaviour of lime mortars for structural restoration of historical masonry constructions”.

Nov 2008

M.S in Architecture for Conservation at the University IUAV of Venice. Grade: magna cum laude.Thesis on retrofitting operations, case of study on architectural heritage.

Nov 2002

M.S in Conservation of Architectural and Environmental Heritage at University IUAV of Venice.Grade: magna cum laude.Thesis on evaluation of structural improvement of a historical masonry building, with attention to seismic actions.

Academic positions

2018-present: Research Associate, School of Engineering, Cardiff University.

Honours and awards


I was member of the project team and then of the site supervision team on the building site, ‘Bakery of Santa Marta in Verona and Silos di Ponente”. Total cost of the work: 50 milion euro.

The work received the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture 2015 (

  • Contribution published in ‘Un Restauro per Verona, la nuova sede universitaria di Santa Marta, Massimo Carmassi’, a cura di M. Scimemi. Electa Architettura editor, Milano, 2010.
  • Contribution published in ‘Conservazione e architettura, Progetto per il campus universitario di Verona, Massimo Carmassi ’, a cura di M Pastore e M. Spinelli, Marsilio editor, 2007

Professional memberships


Chartered Architect: architectural licence to practice.

Committees and reviewing

  • Cement and Concrete Composites
  • Construction and Building Materials
  • Mechanics of Masonry Structures Strengthened with Composite Materials
  • Advances in Civil Engineering





Research theme:  Construction Materials, Conservation and restoration of Cultural Heritage, Self-healing Technology, 3D printin.

Research links