Isabel Rodrigues ’23

Headshot of Isabel Rodrigues


Project Title

Mitigating Acid Attack in Sustainable Cements

Presentation Link

View Isabel's Presentation

Certificate(s): Statistics and Machine Learning

I worked on two projects studying alkali-activated metakaolin cement, which is a sustainable alternative to conventional Portland cement. The first was part of a life-cycle assessment quantifying carbon dioxide emissions from Portland cement and alkali-activated metakaolin cement. I calculated transportation-related emissions by verifying mine/plant locations for the components of both cements by tracing their registration in various government databases. I also documented relevant greenhouse gas emission databases. The second project involved analyzing infrared spectroscopy data procured from metakaolin cement samples. We traced the development of the cement using relative peak intensities, which indicate the presence of metakaolin and an aluminosilicate gel. After combing through the data by hand, I shifted my focus to developing a Python application that would run the procedure automatically and implemented an automatic baseline-correction to improve consistency between files. The general-purpose application I created can now be used by anyone in the lab. Both projects inspired me to continue studying data science, and working with the Sustainable Cements Group showed me how exciting and fun the lab is – even while remote!

* This internship is connected to the HMEI Urban Grand Challenges project, “Fate of Heavy Metals in Valorization of Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Ash.”

Internship Year


Project Category

Urban Systems and Planning for a Sustainable Future


Sustainable Cements Group, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University


Claire White, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment; Christine Pu, Ph.D. candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering