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Special Issue "Recent Advances in Smart Materials for the Built Environment"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. ing. Cesare Sangiorgi

Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: pavements; bituminous materials; recyled materials; smart materials
Guest Editor
Prof. ing. Filippo Ubertini

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Perugia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: self-sensing nanocomposite materials; intelligent infrastructure system; smart materials
Guest Editor
Dr. Anna Laura Pisello

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy efficiency in buildings; urban heat island; thermal-energy storage; environmental monitoring; building physics; mitigation; passive cooling; cool roof

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The built environment of the future is expected to need novel smart and multifunctional construction materials that provide a variety of other features, in addition to strength and durability. In this view, many researchers worldwide are focusing on the development of such innovative and highly promising solutions with the purpose to enhance the construction material behavior in terms of environmental sustainability and technical performance including the new frontiers of self-sensing, self-healing, energy harvesting, overheating control, noise reduction, microclimate mitigation, and other capabilities.

Society itself will be the first beneficiary of such scientific discussion, since it will take advantage from these characteristics that will allow saving raw materials and energy, minimizing the externalities of construction, service and maintenance phases and impact. Furthermore, those solutions are expected to transform the physical and mechanical behavior of structural and non-structural elements into precious sources of data, renewable energy along with other functional advantages, such as noise and urban overheating reduction.

This Special Issue aims at presenting a number of high-quality up-to-date research contributions that have proven benefits and feasibility of smart materials in the built environment at large. Technical papers, review contributions and case histories on laboratory and in-situ experiments are all welcome. By acknowledging your important contribution in these fields, we would like to warmly invite you to submit a manuscript for consideration in the “Recent Advances in Smart Materials for the Built Environment” Special Issue in Materials.

Prof. ing. Cesare Sangiorgi
Prof. ing. Filippo Ubertini
Prof. ing. Anna Laura Pisello
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Smart materials
  • Self-sensing
  • Energy harvesting
  • Self-healing
  • UHI mitigation
  • Acoustic materials

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle An Innovative Approach to Control Steel Reinforcement Corrosion by Self-Healing
Materials 2018, 11(2), 309; doi:10.3390/ma11020309
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 20 February 2018
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Abstract
The corrosion of reinforced steel, and subsequent reinforced concrete degradation, is a major concern for infrastructure durability. New materials with specific, tailor-made properties or the establishment of optimum construction regimes are among the many approaches to improving civil structure performance. Ideally, novel materials
[...] Read more.
The corrosion of reinforced steel, and subsequent reinforced concrete degradation, is a major concern for infrastructure durability. New materials with specific, tailor-made properties or the establishment of optimum construction regimes are among the many approaches to improving civil structure performance. Ideally, novel materials would carry self-repairing or self-healing capacities, triggered in the event of detrimental influence and/or damage. Controlling or altering a material’s behavior at the nano-level would result in traditional materials with radically enhanced properties. Nevertheless, nanotechnology applications are still rare in construction, and would break new ground in engineering practice. An approach to controlling the corrosion-related degradation of reinforced concrete was designed as a synergetic action of electrochemistry, cement chemistry and nanotechnology. This contribution presents the concept of the approach, namely to simultaneously achieve steel corrosion resistance and improved bulk matrix properties. The technical background and challenges for the application of polymeric nanomaterials in the field are briefly outlined in view of this concept, which has the added value of self-healing. The credibility of the approach is discussed with reference to previously reported outcomes, and is illustrated via the results of the steel electrochemical responses and microscopic evaluations of the discussed materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Smart Materials for the Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Poly(hydroxyalkanoate)s-Based Hydrophobic Coatings for the Protection of Stone in Cultural Heritage
Materials 2018, 11(1), 165; doi:10.3390/ma11010165
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
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Abstract
Reversibility is a mandatory requirement for materials used in heritage conservation, including hydrophobic protectives. Nevertheless, current protectives for stone are not actually reversible as they remain on the surfaces for a long time after their hydrophobicity is lost and can hardly be removed.
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Reversibility is a mandatory requirement for materials used in heritage conservation, including hydrophobic protectives. Nevertheless, current protectives for stone are not actually reversible as they remain on the surfaces for a long time after their hydrophobicity is lost and can hardly be removed. Ineffective and aged coatings may jeopardise the stone re-treatability and further conservation interventions. This paper aims at investigating the performance of PHAs-based coatings for stone protection, their main potential being the ‘reversibility by biodegradation’ once water repellency ended. The biopolymer coatings were applied to three different kinds of stone, representative of lithotypes used in historic architecture: sandstone, limestone and marble. Spray, poultice and dip-coating were tested as coating techniques. The effectiveness and compatibility of the protectives were evaluated in terms of capillary water absorption, static and dynamic contact angles, water vapour diffusion, colour alteration and surface morphology. The stones’ wettability after application of two commercial protectives was investigated too, for comparison. Finally, samples were subjected to artificial ageing to investigate their solar light stability. Promising results in terms of efficacy and compatibility were obtained, although the PHAs-based formulations developed here still need improvement for increased durability and on-site applicability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Smart Materials for the Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Study of the Thermal Properties and the Fire Performance of Flame Retardant-Organic PCM in Bulk Form
Materials 2018, 11(1), 117; doi:10.3390/ma11010117
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 29 December 2017 / Accepted: 29 December 2017 / Published: 12 January 2018
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Abstract
The implementation of organic phase change materials (PCMs) in several applications such as heating and cooling or building comfort is an important target in thermal energy storage (TES). However, one of the major drawbacks of organic PCMs implementation is flammability. The addition of
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The implementation of organic phase change materials (PCMs) in several applications such as heating and cooling or building comfort is an important target in thermal energy storage (TES). However, one of the major drawbacks of organic PCMs implementation is flammability. The addition of flame retardants to PCMs or shape-stabilized PCMs is one of the approaches to address this problem and improve their final deployment in the building material sector. In this study, the most common organic PCM, Paraffin RT-21, and fatty acids mixtures of capric acid (CA), myristic acid (MA), and palmitic acid (PA) in bulk, were tested to improve their fire reaction. Several flame retardants, such as ammonium phosphate, melamine phosphate, hydromagnesite, magnesium hydroxide, and aluminum hydroxide, were tested. The properties of the improved PCM with flame retardants were characterized by thermogravimetric analyses (TGA), the dripping test, and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The results for the dripping test show that fire retardancy was considerably enhanced by the addition of hydromagnesite (50 wt %) and magnesium hydroxide (50 wt %) in fatty acids mixtures. This will help the final implementation of these enhanced PCMs in building sector. The influence of the addition of flame retardants on the melting enthalpy and temperatures of PCMs has been evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Smart Materials for the Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Self-Sealing Cementitious Materials by Using Water-Swelling Rubber Particles
Materials 2017, 10(8), 979; doi:10.3390/ma10080979
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 15 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 22 August 2017
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Abstract
Water ingress into cracked concrete structures is a serious problem, as it can cause leakage and reinforcement corrosion and thus reduce functionality and safety of the structures. In this study, the application of water-swelling rubber particles for providing the cracked concrete a self-sealing
[...] Read more.
Water ingress into cracked concrete structures is a serious problem, as it can cause leakage and reinforcement corrosion and thus reduce functionality and safety of the structures. In this study, the application of water-swelling rubber particles for providing the cracked concrete a self-sealing function was developed. The feasibility of applying water-swelling rubber particles and the influence of incorporating water-swelling rubber particles on the mechanical properties of concrete was investigated. The self-sealing efficiency of water-swelling rubber particles with different content and particle size was quantified through a permeability test. The sealing effect of the water swelling rubber particles was monitored by X-ray computed tomography. The experimental results show that, by using 6% of these water swelling rubber particles as a replacement of aggregates in concrete, up to 64% and 61% decrease of water permeability was realized for 0.7 mm and 1.0 mm cracks. Furthermore, when the concrete cracks, the water swelling rubber particles can act as a crack bridging filler, preventing the crack from fully separating the specimens in two pieces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Smart Materials for the Built Environment)
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Other

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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Andreotti, S.; Franzoni, E.; Fabbri, P. Poly(hydroxyalkanoate)s-Based Hydrophobic Coatings for the Protection of Stone in Cultural Heritage. Materials 2018, 11, 165
Materials 2018, 11(3), 389; doi:10.3390/ma11030389
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
The authors wish to add a new author, Micaela Degli Esposti, who also contributed to performing the experiments and analyzing the data of this published paper [1]. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Smart Materials for the Built Environment)
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