Forskerportrett: Shima is researching for construction on the Moon

Shima Pilehvar is associate professor at the Faculty of Engineering, advanced materials group. Her main research fields are material technology and energy efficiency improvement in building materials. Here you can read the whole portrait about Shima.

Position, name and department:

Associate Professor, Shima Pilehvar, Engineering Faculty, advanced materials group

Field of study:

Geopolymer concrete, Construction materials, Materials for saving energy


Råde (Originally from Iran)


35 :D

At HIØ since:


Title of doctoral dissertation / graduate institution / dissertation year:

Effect of Micro-Encapsulated Phase Change Materials on the Mechanical Properties of Concrete, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena (UPCT), 2018


1. What challenges are you working on, and why is it important?

My main research fields are material technology and energy efficiency improvement in building materials. Currently, I work on a project in collaboration with European Space Agency (ESA) about construction on the Moon. In this project, the limited source of water on Moon was as the main challenge for lunar construction. We therefore need to minimize water consumption. At the same time, it is important that the concrete mixture is not so dry that it becomes unsuitable for 3D printing. We have therefore tested whether urea can be used for this. Urea is, next to water, the substance most found in urine. Where you have people, you thereby have a continuous access to urine/urea.

2. What is your most read and / or quoted publication about?

Articles “Microencapsulated phase change materials for enhancing the thermal performance of Portland cement concrete and geopolymer concrete for passive building applications” and “Mechanical properties and microscale changes of geopolymer concrete and Portland cement concrete containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials” are the most cited article , 93 and 51 times, respectively. In these articles, we investigated the thermal and mechanical properties of geopolymer concrete containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials. Article related to the Moon project “Utilization of urea as an accessible superplasticizer on the moon for lunar geopolymer mixtures” has been listed among the most downloaded articles since published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Links to the publications:

3. What did motivate you to choose a research career?

I like academic atmosphere since I was a child. I think it can be because of my mother who was a teacher. If I want to mention a person who influence on my work-life, definitely would be my Mom. She always supports me and encourages me to pursue my goals. She raised me in a manner to believe that everything in this world is possible for a woman even making concrete :D

4. If you could change anything in the world of research, what would it be? Why?

I wish I could dismantle gender stereotypes in all aspects of life especially in science. I try to achieve full and equal access to science for women as men in this world.

5. What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Finding a trustful mixture design for construction on the Moon :)

6. Who would you rather take a coffee with (colleague, acquaintances, celebrities, etc.)?

My PhD teammate, Susana :D I really miss those days that we could have coffee together and talk about all trend news at our faculty :)

7. What do you do in your free time?

I love farming and I am proud of my harvest (especially potatoes) as much as my scientific research for construction on the Moon :D

8. Latest cultural experience

Let’s talk about culture shocks when I moved to Norway :)

Publisert 4. sep. 2020 11:46 - Sist endret 10. sep. 2020 09:01
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