Department of Construction & Property Management

The ReSHEALience HORIZON 2020 Project

The ReSHEALience HORIZON 2020 Project


The ReSHEALience HORIZON 2020 Project 

The ReSHEALience Project  is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement
No 760824, and refers to Advanced Materials and Nano-Technology.

The goal of ReSHEALience is to develop Ultra High Durability Concretes (UHDCs) and a Durability Assessment-based Design (DAD) methodology for structures to improve durability and their long-term performance under Extremely Aggressive Exposures (EAEs). The ReSHEALience Horizon 2020 project has a total duration of 48 months, starting in January 2018, and a budget of 5,557,595.50 €. The project consortium consists of fourteen partners: five universities, two research centres and seven industrial partners. The ReSHEALience Project is led by the Politecnico di Milano. The University of Malta is one of the partners, with Prof. Ruben Paul Borg from the Faculty for the Built Environment being the local project coordinator.

A significant challenge in civil engineering is the reduced durability of structures in Extremely Aggressive Exposures (EAEs). Such severe and challenging conditions affect the structural performance, lead to quick deterioration and shorten the lifespan of these structures, resulting in the need for continuous and risky maintenance, which costs billions of euros each year. Since the problem is especially pronounced in remote applications (i.e. offshore) and difficult-to-access sites, the focus of this project will be on marine structures and infrastructures for geothermal/biomass energy plants and coastal structures.

The reSHEALience project has 3 general objectives:

  • To increase significantly the durability of concrete to decrease maintenance and reduce the consumption of resources. 
  • To quantify and predict the durability of UHDC structures in different service conditions when subjected to EAEs, namely chloride-induced attack and chemical attack.
  • To validate the capacity of the UHDC and the new developments, through 6 pilot studies covering two strategic sectors where the material is expected to add high value and generate large impacts.

This goal will be achieved through the following activities:

  • Tailoring UHDC to target a 100% enhancement in material durability.
  • Upgrading experimental methods to validate durability properties of UHDCs in service conditions (cracked state) and validate an enhancement of at least 30%.
  • Developing a theoretical model to evaluate ageing and degradation of UHDC structures in EAE with a 75% of accuracy, extending the modelling to predict the lifespan.
  • Proposing new design concepts DAD, for the use of UHDC and assessing the structures durability and Life Cycle Analysis with a 95% confidence level, to achieve an increase service life of 30%, and a long-term reduction of maintenance costs by at least 50%.
  • Proving, through long-term monitoring in 6 full-scale proof-of-concept structures that UHDC in real conditions has the expected enhancement of 30% in durability for both repaired and new elements.
  • Developing a Business Plan per industrial partner analyzing the market niches and sectors where the developments will be exploited.

One of the 6 pilot studies focuses on the damaged reinforced concrete water tower at the Civil Abattoir in Marsa, Malta. This historic 1930s reinforced concrete water tower is characterised by severe degradation, mainly on the side exposed to the sea, primarily due to a chloride-rich environment. Textile reinforced high performance concrete and self-compacting UHDC will be used to restore the tank and the supporting columns. The other pilot projects considered in ReSHEALience include a geothermal plant tower basin, a drilling platform basin, offshore wind floating UHDC structures, Aquaculture raft – UHDC floating structures and breakwaters based on precast elements.

Further information on the ReSHEALience Horizon 2020 Project can be found at or by contacting the University of Malta Project Coordinator Prof. Ruben Paul Borg at the Faculty for the Built Environment.