Dr Martin Pritchard

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Martin undertakes research work and commercial development on a geotextile structure he has a patent on, and on the application of novel simplistic water purification systems for developing countries.

From his research activities he has established a research group under the title CERF, which stands for the Civil Engineering Research Facility. He has obtained research funding to a value of £400k from both UK and international funding sources. Peer review grades of 'tending to internationally leading' for 'research planning and practice' and tending to outstanding for both 'quality of training and experience' and 'potential benefits to society' have been obtained from EPSRC. Feedback from DelPHE noted that this proposal 'was excellent and well thought out' and is 'carefully developed over three years to allow sustainable strategy to become embedded which should ensure post project legacy'.

He is currently the Director of Studies (DoS) for five PhD students and has acted as the DoS for four MPhil/PhD students to successful completion. In turn, he has produced publications ranging from learned journals, book chapters conference papers and technical reports (30 publications to-date). He has chaired international conference sessions; received various awards for a number of his R&D projects and presented findings to policy makers, in particular to MPs at the House of Commons. He has also acted as a scientific peer reviewer for funding bodies and journal / conference publications.

Current Teaching

BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering:

  • Geotechnical Engineering A (Module leader)
  • Geotechnical Engineering B (Module leader)
  • Major Project - Environmental Geotechnics

BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering:

  • Geotechnical Engineering: Application and Theory (Module leader)

MSc in Civil Engineering:

  • Geotechnical Analysis and Design (Module leader)

Research Interests

Over the past seven years the Civil Engineering and Microbiology Groups at Leeds Beckett University, in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Malawi, have been researching into the water quality of shallow wells in Malawi. Data collected from these studies have shown that about 80% of the wells tested failed to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for safe drinking water. To address this, Leeds Beckett University PhD students have shown that a locally available plant extract, which grows wild throughout Malawi, can be used to improve water quality by 80%. Hence, the use of this technology should significantly help to reduce water related diseases throughout the developing world.  

One particular activity Dr Pritchard has been working on is the commercialisation of his patent, GB2339803. That is, the exploitation of a new biodegradable soil reinforcing geotextile, which is far more sustainable than its synthetic equivalent.  

The development of new forms of concrete and mortar that utilise soils from contaminated land sites, which have undergone thermal treatment, is also currently being investigated. The benefits in terms of environmental issues for the use of such soil as a cement replacement would be twofold; firstly by directly using a waste material as opposed to disposal to landfill; and secondly, more indirectly, by using less cement, i.e. reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere during the manufacture of cement, which is currently responsible for 7–10% of the global CO2 emissions.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (3)

  • Pritchard M; Craven T; Mkandawire T; Edmondson AS; O'Neill JG (2010) A comparison between Moringa oleifera and chemical coagulants in the purification of drinking water - An alternative sustainable solution for developing countries
  • Pritchard M; Craven T; Mkandawire T; Edmondson AS; O'Neill JG (2010) A study of the parameters affecting the effectiveness of Moringa oleifera in drinking water purification
  • Pritchard M; Mkandawire T; Edmondson A; O'Neill JG; Kululanga G (2009) Potential of using plant extracts for purification of shallow well water in Malawi

Chapters (2)

  • Pritchard M; Mkandawire T; O'Neill JG; Edmondson AS; Craven T (2010) Water Quality Monitoring from Shallow Wells in Malawi: Case Study 2005-2007. In: Ertuš K; Mirza I Water Quality: Physical, Chemical and Biological Characteristics. : Nova Science Publishers, pp. 165-186.
  • Pritchard M; Allen D (2010) Potential reuse of contaminated soils in the built environment. In: Geller PS Built Environment: Design, Management and Applications. : Nova Science Publishers Inc, pp. 281-306.

Conference contributions (2)

  • Pritchard M; Craven T; Mkandawire T; Edmondson A; O'Neill JG (2009) A parametric study on the performance of Moringa oleifera to purify water Entebbe, Uganda 28/10/2009.
  • Pritchard M; Craven T; Mkandawire T; Edmondson A; O'Neill JG (2009) Biological versus chemical coagulates - a potential solution for the developing world Entebbe, Uganda 28/10/2009.