Materials Science and Structure (MSS)

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Materials Science and Structure (MSS)

Cambodian Context 

Cambodia has a long history of engineering skills in materials and structures. Looking back at Angkorian times, the Khmer empire built a considerable amount of constructions in bricks and sandstone: religious buildings, bridges, dams (barray), some of them now in a bad state because of the deterioration of the materials and damages to the structures. The preservation of Khmer heritage is an important issue for the tourism industry and Cambodian universities have an important role to play to develop solutions.

In the present days, new challenges have to be met: the construction sector has boomed in 2016 with a total investment of 8.5 b$. There are over 900 high-rise buildings (more than 5 floors), the majority of them in Phnom Penh. This fast evolution of Cambodian cities causes issues of quality (qualified human resources, redefining building standards) and of sustainability (depletion of local resources in construction materials).

Research in materials science and structures for civil engineering is needed in order to develop eco-friendly concrete or building components adapted to local resources, but also to study and reinforce the stability of embankments, dams, slopes, especially in the context of variable conditions of soils between the rainy and the dry season.

But materials science is not limited to the building industry, as there are also big challenges in recycling or recovering materials from waste, replacing polymers from fossil origin with biopolymers, and producing sustainable products from local materials.

Materials Science and Structure Research Unit was established to build up a researcher group with the same skill and work with other researcher groups as interdisciplinary to create new materials and structures which serve for various applications. 

The Research Unit

The Material sciences and Structures Research Unit focuses on the innovation and trends in construction material, especially with low carbon impact materials and light structures, including geotechnical engineering, underground structures, roads, embankments, … to address specific Cambodian needs.


The whole set of available natural materials in Cambodia (silk, wood, agricultural by-products, starch, bamboo, clay, limestone,…) is also reconsidered to produce sustainable goods and products. The Research Unit works among an international network on heritage preservation with a specific dedication to materials science (sandstones, ceramics, iron, bronze, …). An important effort is made on modeling and simulations with high standards numerical tools associating mechanics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. 


MSS Research Unit will be nationally and internationally recognized as one of the first destinations for education and research in materials and structure by industries and academic institutions. MSS Research Unit will be a source for technical innovation transfer, scientists, and engineers.


• To strengthen research capacity in the field of materials and structure

• To enlarge and improve Materials and Structure laboratory 

• To boost the research activities through local and international collaborations (Universities, Government, SMEs, NGOs) 

• To promote technology transfer and provide training and consultancy services

• To increase national and international publications

• To host scientific events

Research Theme

• Numerical modeling and experimental analysis of infrastructure and materials

• Polymer composites and plastic waste recycling, eco-materials for construction (concrete, binder…)

• Failure analysis of steel structure

• Soil improvement for various applications using binder and waste products

• Slope stability analysis and deep excavation

• Heritage preservation (structure, source of rock…)

Research Projects