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Special Issue "Sustainability and Materials"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. P.V. Kandachar

Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31-(0)15-27-85769
Interests: design; design thinking; inclusive innovation; well-being; emerging markets; development economics; sustainable development; social sustainability; technology; materials and manufacturing technology; design tools and methods; design strategy; user-centredness; entrepreneurship; research and development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Materials have close connection with real world challenges; they also are interlinked with sustainability, during the entire value chain, encompassing all major aspects of sustainability: social-, cultural-, economic-, and environmental. Many concepts of sustainability, like industrial ecology, life cycle assessment, eco-efficiency, as well as new thinking such as “Frugal innovation (doing more with less)”, “Cradle to Cradle”, “Biomimicry”, etc., are guiding the development of the next generation of materials, products, and processes.

During the last several decades, rapid economic growth has resulted in enormous material prosperity, but also in a substantial increase in environmental impacts and a rapid depletion of material resources, calling for austerity in resource-intensive applications and appropriate human behavior. Sustainable energy technologies, for instance, rely on materials at risk of supply disruptions in the short term, such as Critical Materials.

While sustainability is now the key driver of innovation, materials have a large role to play in achieving a transition to more sustainable planet. What are the ways materials are responding to challenges raised by the need for global sustainability? What are the implications for materials consumption, use and human behavior? Is material resource criticality an opportunity for sustainable innovations? How are materials and social sustainability related? How are businesses responding to the challenges of integrating simultaneously, culture, communities, environment, economy, green technologies, and materials? What are and should be the roles of scientists, designers, policy makers, etc.? Which multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches are being explored? New scientific, technological and policy insights, visions, principles and experiences addressing such questions and related issues form the essence of this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. P.V. Kandachar
Guest Editor

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. Sustainability 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 1400 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

  • materials science and technology;
  • global sustainability;
  • consumption;
  • resource criticality;
  • human behavior;
  • multi-disciplinary approach;
  • design and sustainable innovations;
  • role of science;
  • economy and society

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Cleaner Production Applied in a Small Furniture Industry in Brazil: Addressing Focused Changes in Design to Reduce Waste
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1867; doi:10.3390/su9101867
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
The wood industry is known for being among the biggest resource consumers, having a relatively low yield. The wood furniture industry as part of the wood industry also remains a big generator of residues and a big consumer of resources. Diverse solutions and
[...] Read more.
The wood industry is known for being among the biggest resource consumers, having a relatively low yield. The wood furniture industry as part of the wood industry also remains a big generator of residues and a big consumer of resources. Diverse solutions and technologies have been developed to deal with the residues generated, but those technologies are mostly applied at the end of the production chain with limited results. Cleaner production represents a program based on continuous strategies applied to a more sustainable use of materials and energy, minimizing waste and pollution. This paper presents a case study of a cleaner production program developed in a small furniture industry in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, applying the concepts of cleaner production with parameters of ecodesign developed for the furniture industry. The object of study was the production of a wooden chair made from eucalyptus wood. The application of the cleaner production program and ecodesign parameters allowed a detailed characterization of the waste, resulting in opportunities for a reduction of the use of raw material by 30%, a reduction in waste by 49% and allowing a reduction in energy by 36% due to simplification of the productive process. Among the strategies applied were reshaping pieces, redesigning, and the substitution of materials. The results suggest that despite the existence of more complex environmental methods and approaches, the application of cleaner production plus ecodesign parameters could be more achievable for micro and small furniture industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Open AccessArticle A Study of Lightweight Door Hinges of Commercial Vehicles Using Aluminum Instead of Steel for Sustainable Transportation
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1661; doi:10.3390/su9101661
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 25 September 2017
PDF Full-text (5038 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, lightweight design concepts have come into prominence for vehicle industry, especially for economic and environmental sustainability. Vehicle manufacturers have investigated new material usage to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution as increasing concerns. On the other hand, new legal obligations and global
[...] Read more.
Recently, lightweight design concepts have come into prominence for vehicle industry, especially for economic and environmental sustainability. Vehicle manufacturers have investigated new material usage to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution as increasing concerns. On the other hand, new legal obligations and global competition have accelerated this research and development process. Designing components with low-density materials is one the most common methods for reducing CO2 emissions. Among these materials, aluminum alloys stand out due to their adequate mechanical properties and specific strength. In this work, the study of lightening door hinges of a commercial vehicle is presented. To reduce the weight of vehicle door hinge, three different aluminum alloys are tried out and compared with steel. Finite element analysis (FEA) and experiments are conducted to determine if the safety requirements are fulfilled or not. According to results with an Al7075-T73 alloy, the weight of door hinge can be reduced by approximately 65%. Stress and strain values are suitable for FMVSS0206 standards. Additionally, it passed the corrosion test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Materialisation of Responsive Architecture
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 435; doi:10.3390/su9030435
Received: 27 December 2016 / Revised: 23 February 2017 / Accepted: 11 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Natural organisms which employ inherent material properties to enable a passive dynamic response offer inspiration for adaptive bioclimatic architecture. This approach allows a move away from the technological intensity of conventional “smart” building systems towards a more autonomous and robust materially embedded sensitivity
[...] Read more.
Natural organisms which employ inherent material properties to enable a passive dynamic response offer inspiration for adaptive bioclimatic architecture. This approach allows a move away from the technological intensity of conventional “smart” building systems towards a more autonomous and robust materially embedded sensitivity and climatic responsiveness. The actuation mechanisms of natural responsive systems can be replicated to produce artificial moisture-sensitive (hygromorphic) composites with the response driven by hygroexpansion of wood. The work presented here builds on previous research on lab-scale material development, to investigate in detail the applicability of wood-based hygromorphic materials for large-scale external applications. The suitability of different material production techniques and viability of potential applications is established through a detailed programme of experimentation and the first one-year-long durability study of hygromorphic wood composites in full weathering conditions. These results provide the basis for the design of an optimised responsive cladding system. The opportunities and challenges presented by building integration and architectural functionalisation of responsive wood composites are discussed based on a hierarchy of application typologies including functional devices and components, performance-oriented adaptive systems, the value of aesthetic and spatial experience and place-specific contextual integration. The design of the first full-scale building application of hygromorphic wood composites is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Critical Review of the Material Criteria of Building Sustainability Assessment Tools
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 186; doi:10.3390/su9020186
Received: 27 September 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 26 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2354 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Comparative analysis of the material criteria embedded in building sustainability assessment tools was performed. The material-related issues were identified, classified, and summarized. A framework, the triple bottom line of sustainability (environment, economy, and society), was used to examine the material assessment criteria, evaluation
[...] Read more.
Comparative analysis of the material criteria embedded in building sustainability assessment tools was performed. The material-related issues were identified, classified, and summarized. A framework, the triple bottom line of sustainability (environment, economy, and society), was used to examine the material assessment criteria, evaluation parameters, and descriptions. The material criteria were evaluated to identify the current features and weaknesses as balanced material assessments for sustainable development. The criteria showed significant differences in their scopes in covering the social and economic aspects beyond the environmental aspect. For comprehensive sustainability assessment purposes, it is essential that adequate attention be paid to all three dimensions. Finally, this paper proposes the indicators of the sustainable material assessment from an analysis of all the material-related items. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Magnesia Spinel Brick Production
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 662; doi:10.3390/su8070662
Received: 13 April 2016 / Revised: 2 July 2016 / Accepted: 5 July 2016 / Published: 20 July 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (767 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sustainable use of natural resources in the production of construction materials has become a necessity both in Europe and Turkey. Construction products in Europe should have European Conformity (CE) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), an independently verified and registered document in line with
[...] Read more.
Sustainable use of natural resources in the production of construction materials has become a necessity both in Europe and Turkey. Construction products in Europe should have European Conformity (CE) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), an independently verified and registered document in line with the European standard EN 15804. An EPD certificate can be created by performing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study. In this particular work, an LCA study was carried out for a refractory brick production for environmental assessment. In addition to the LCA, the Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis was also applied for economic assessment. Firstly, a cradle-to-gate LCA was performed for one ton of magnesia spinel refractory brick. The CML IA method included in the licensed SimaPro 8.0.1 software was chosen to calculate impact categories (namely, abiotic depletion, global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, human toxicity, ecotoxicity, ozone depletion potential, and photochemical oxidation potential). The LCC analysis was performed by developing a cost model for internal and external cost categories within the software. The results were supported by a sensitivity analysis. According to the results, the production of raw materials and the firing process in the magnesia spinel brick production were found to have several negative effects on the environment and were costly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)

Review

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Open AccessReview Material Services with Both Eyes Wide Open
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1508; doi:10.3390/su9091508
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
Energy has been at the forefront of the sustainable development discourse for quite some time as policymakers, industry heads and society at large have taken progressive steps to cut carbon via renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. Unfortunately, some of these methods
[...] Read more.
Energy has been at the forefront of the sustainable development discourse for quite some time as policymakers, industry heads and society at large have taken progressive steps to cut carbon via renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. Unfortunately, some of these methods have given rise to perverse socio-environmental effects; as materials have been unnecessarily sacrificed, mines and wells have opened and plantations grown, in the name of energy saving. This paper contributes to clean energy-orientated policies and practices by exploring the discipline of sustainable materials. We first review two strategies: energy efficiency linked to materials; and material efficiency, meaning “doing more with less.” We find that, although both contribute significantly, they are hampered by the rebound effect and their focus on “doing less bad” rather than “good”. Furthermore, they do not in themselves evaluate the services and societal wellbeing that materials provide. We then define “material services” and propose a wider strategy that encompasses and enhances the previous two. Under the new strategy, we argue that sustainable materials should be considered as those that do no harm and which optimally, through the services provided, contribute to better sustainable development policies and practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: The social footprint of hydrogen production - A Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) of alkaline water electrolysis
Author: Schlör, Holger, Koj, J., Zapp, P., Schreiber, A., Kuckshinrichs, W., Hake, J.-F.
Affiliation: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute of Energy and Climate Research - Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation (IEK-STE), D-52425 Jülich, Germany
Abstract:The United Nations (UN) published in 2015 “seventeen Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets” to delineate an urgent shift of the world to a sustainable and resilient path. The UN confirms also its three dimensional sustainability concept. Social protection and social well-being are central aspects of the UN concept and the life cycle assessment the adequate tool to analyse also social risks. We take up the UN concept and analyse the social footprint of the hydrogen production with a Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA). The hydrogen economy is seen as an instrument for the transformation of the energy system. To analyse social conditions (human well-being) throughout the hydrogen life cycle we use Sen’s capability approach and the S-LCA method as recommended by UNEP and SETAC. Therefore we selected five major functionings of the capability approach (welfare basis, health & safety, social participation, democracy & freedom, decent life) and assigned to these functionings five social impact categories (labour rights, health and safety, human rights, governance, community and infrastructure) of the Social Hotspots Database (SHDB). We connect thereby the Social LCA directly to Sen’s capability approach. We selected 23 social indicators from the Social Hotspots Database (SHDB) to assess the social effects of hydrogen production in Germany, Austria, and Spain along the whole hydrogen production process chain on the social impact categories and the functionings of Sen’s capability approach. Our social LCA (S-LCA) method based on the UNEP/STAC guidelines allows us on the basis of SHDB to determine the social footprint of hydrogen production and identify the composition and the regional origin of the social footprint (social rucksack).

 

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