Ellie Anna Vaserman

Ellie Anna Vaserman

Scholar Title

MIT CEE |Professor Wilson H. Tang (1966) Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Multi-Scale Chemo-Mechanical Analysis of Ancient Roman Mortars





Research Areas
  • Materials Science

Admir Masic


Roman concrete, renowned for its durability and self-healing capabilities, remains an enigma in terms of its exact composition and production. Contrary to historical beliefs that the Romans used slaked lime as the basis of the mortar, recent studies posit that the concrete was formulated on-site through hot mixing” techniques, involving the direct addition of quicklime. This research project seeks to deepen our understanding of this ancient technique using advanced imaging and analysis methodologies, including Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive spectroscopy. The objective is to elucidate the lime clasts’ particle size, elemental composition, and crystallinity, and to evaluate the strength, toughness, and self-healing capacity of hot-mixed concrete.”


The reason I am participating in SuperUROP is to prepare me to pursue academia in the future. The part of my project that I am most excited about is that it takes the old adage of listening to your elders” literally, and applies it to science. My hope is that by leveraging modern technologies to extend studies into past civilizations, we could learn more about what we must do for a sustainable future, especially in the construction industry.”

Back to Scholars