IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability

A special issue of Infrastructures (ISSN 2412-3811). This special issue belongs to the section "Infrastructures Materials and Constructions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2023) | Viewed by 23513

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Energy & Materials in Infrastructure & Buildings (EMIB), Faculty of Applied Engineering, University of Antwerp, 171 Groenenborgerlaan, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium
Interests: fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor monitoring systems; concrete technology; asphalt and bitumen; recycling of industrial wastes and byproducts
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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 8, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: sustainability; life cycle assessment; recycling; bitumen; asphalt; smart infrastructure; road pavements; railway trackbeds
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sustainable infrastructure we are building today will shape tomorrow’s communities. This refers to the design, building, and operation of structural elements in ways that do not diminish the social, economic, and ecological processes required to maintain human equity, diversity, and functionality of natural systems. The recent quest for developing new, low-carbon-footprint construction materials to lower environmental emissions and implications of infrastructure has imposed many challenges and created many opportunities for research and development in academia and industrial sectors. New and improved sustainable material systems enhance our society’s resilience to climate change and preserve our ecological infrastructure and biodiversity.

The goal of this Special Issue is to publish original research papers or review articles with transversal topics focused on engineering sustainability for civil infrastructure with a focus on materials.

The research topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Infrastructure and construction materials;
  • Multifunctional materials and structures;
  • Concrete (Portland cement concrete, alkali-activated concrete, high-performance concrete, ultra-high-performance concrete, lightweight concrete, eco-concrete, etc.);
  • Laboratory testing and computer modeling;
  • Operation and maintenance;
  • Pavement management;
  • Management and application of construction and demolition waste (CDW);
  • Sustainability assessment, LCA, LCC, SLCA, end-of-life;
  • Smart solutions for sustainable materials and transport infrastructure;
  • Bio-based materials and recycling.

The current SI is related to the Conference IOCI 2022, and selected papers from Session 4 of the conference will be published in this SI. Contributions from academics, industry, practitioners, and students are welcome.

Patricia Kara De Maeijer
Dr. Davide Lo Presti
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Infrastructures 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 1800 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

  • infrastructure and construction materials
  • multifunctional materials and structures
  • concrete
  • AAMs
  • operation and maintenance
  • pavement management
  • end-of-life
  • management and application of construction and demolition waste (CDW)

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

22 pages, 7070 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Reinforced Concrete Beams: Investigating Steel Dust as a Cement Substitute
by Ali Jahami, Hussein Younes and Jamal Khatib
Infrastructures 2023, 8(11), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8110157 - 31 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1798
Abstract
This research undertook an extensive examination of the ramifications of integrating steel dust as a partial substitute for cement within reinforced concrete beams. The investigation encompassed an assessment of various facets, encompassing the workability of the concrete mixture, alongside crucial mechanical properties such [...] Read more.
This research undertook an extensive examination of the ramifications of integrating steel dust as a partial substitute for cement within reinforced concrete beams. The investigation encompassed an assessment of various facets, encompassing the workability of the concrete mixture, alongside crucial mechanical properties such as compressive strength, split tensile strength, flexural strength, ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV), and elasticity modulus. The findings unveiled a notable reduction in workability as the proportion of steel dust increased within the mixture, with a consequential substantial impact on the elasticity modulus. Notably, compressive strength exhibited an enhancement at a 10% replacement of cement yet exhibited a decline with higher degrees of cement substitution. The inclusion of steel dust led to the formulation of adjusted equations pertaining to split tensile and flexural strength characteristics within the mixture. Remarkably, the incorporation of 10% steel dust yielded an increase in ductility. Conversely, at a 30% steel dust inclusion level, ductility diminished alongside a reduction in the maximum load-bearing capacity. In light of these findings, it is imperative to exercise prudence when considering the utilization of steel dust as a cement substitute, particularly when approaching or exceeding the 10% replacement level threshold. Further comprehensive research is imperative to acquire a comprehensive understanding of its implications and its susceptibility to potential corrosion concerns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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21 pages, 9968 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Recipe-Technological Factors on the Resistance to Chloride Attack of Variotropic and Conventional Concrete
by Evgenii M. Shcherban’, Sergey A. Stel’makh, Alexey N. Beskopylny, Levon R. Mailyan, Besarion Meskhi, Valery Varavka, Andrei Chernil’nik, Diana Elshaeva and Oxana Ananova
Infrastructures 2023, 8(7), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8070108 - 27 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
A current problem in the construction industry is the lack of complex, scientifically based technological materials and design solutions for universal types of building materials, products, and structures, especially in terms of structures operating under conditions of aggressive chloride exposure. The aim of [...] Read more.
A current problem in the construction industry is the lack of complex, scientifically based technological materials and design solutions for universal types of building materials, products, and structures, especially in terms of structures operating under conditions of aggressive chloride exposure. The aim of the study was to compare and evaluate the differences in the durability of conventional and variotropic concretes made using three different technologies, vibrating, centrifuging, and vibro-centrifuging, modified with the addition of microsilica, under conditions of cyclic chloride attack. Laboratory experiments and analyses using scanning electron microscopy were conducted. Vibro-centrifuged concrete showed the highest resistance to cyclic aggressive chloride exposure, which was expressed by a lower percentage drop in compressive strength compared to vibrated (87%) and centrifuged concrete (24%). The use of a microsilica as a modifying additive in the amount of 2–6%, instead of as a part of the binder, had a positive effect on the resistance of concrete to cyclic chloride attack. The most effective intervention was the introduction of additives in the amount of 4%. There was a reduction in the loss of strength of vibrated, centrifuged, and vibro-centrifuged concrete after 90 “dry-wet” cycles, as a result of the use of a modifying additive, in an amount between 45% and 55%, depending on the type of technology being used for producing a composite. The combined effect of the use of vibro-centrifuged concrete and microsilica led to a 188% decrease in strength loss resulting from cyclic chloride exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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19 pages, 5683 KiB  
Article
Using Construction and Demolition Waste Materials to Develop Chip Seals for Pavements
by Mohsen Shamsaei, Alan Carter and Michel Vaillancourt
Infrastructures 2023, 8(5), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8050095 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2273
Abstract
Construction and demolition waste (CDW) materials account for a considerable part of waste materials throughout the world. As these materials are not usually recycled, reusing them in construction projects is of major significance. In this study, recycled concrete, bricks, and glass were used [...] Read more.
Construction and demolition waste (CDW) materials account for a considerable part of waste materials throughout the world. As these materials are not usually recycled, reusing them in construction projects is of major significance. In this study, recycled concrete, bricks, and glass were used as 100% aggregates of chip seal, which is a corrective or preventive pavement maintenance method. A cationic rapid setting (CRS-2) bitumen emulsion was also used to prepare the chip seal. Different tests, including the sand patch test, sweep test, British pendulum tester (BPT), interface bond, and Vialit test, were conducted. The results of these tests revealed that all these materials had sufficient aggregate embedment for vehicle speeds of more than 70 km/h, and the number of chips was less than 10%, indicating their good performance. All developed chip seals ranked as high skid resistance pavement at ambient temperature. The chip seals developed with concrete and glass showed the best adhesion with an asphalt pavement surface and an aggregate–bitumen adhesion at very cold and ambient temperatures due to the fact of their chemical compositions. Overall, using concrete aggregates to develop chip seals under different traffic loads is recommended. Finally, these findings can provide a novel approach for recycling CDW materials with low costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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18 pages, 4555 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Multi-Recyclability of Recycled Plastic-Modified Asphalt Mixtures
by Gaetano Di Mino, Vineesh Vijayan, Shahin Eskandarsefat, Loretta Venturini and Konstantinos Mantalovas
Infrastructures 2023, 8(5), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8050084 - 29 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2196
Abstract
Although the benefits of asphalt recycling have been scientifically proven and several best practices are being implemented, further research is required in specific and specialized areas. One of these circumstances is the recycling of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavements (RAPs) that contain asphalt modifiers such [...] Read more.
Although the benefits of asphalt recycling have been scientifically proven and several best practices are being implemented, further research is required in specific and specialized areas. One of these circumstances is the recycling of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavements (RAPs) that contain asphalt modifiers such as elastomers and/or plastomers. Following the principles of the circular economy and considering the sustainability implications of asphalt mixtures, this paper deals with the multi-recyclability of asphalt mixtures containing 50% RAP with and without a recycled plastic asphalt modifier and rejuvenating agent. The recycled plastic asphalt modifier was made of hard recycled plastics and was introduced to the mixture via a dry method. The research focuses on the characterization of binders via conventional, rheological, and chemical analysis. To control the consistency and variables of the mixtures, the RAP was produced artificially in the laboratory following an ageing protocol for loose asphalt mixtures. According to the obtained results, at all three cycles of binder recycling, comparable properties for (i) the extracted binders from the recycled plastic-modified asphalt mixture, (ii) the extracted binders from the control un-modified mixture, and (iii) the reference bitumen 50/70 were obtained. This was even noticed when a nearly similar quantity of the rejuvenator was needed during the rejuvenator optimization process. Overall, it can be deduced that from the binder-scale point of view, the mixture containing the introduced recycled plastic additive could be recycled for multiple life cycles without any degradation of its mechanical and physical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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16 pages, 1244 KiB  
Article
A Top-Down Approach Based on the Circularity Potential to Increase the Use of Reclaimed Asphalt
by Konstantinos Mantalovas, Iain Peter Dunn, Francesco Acuto, Vineesh Vijayan, Laura Inzerillo and Gaetano Di Mino
Infrastructures 2023, 8(5), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8050083 - 28 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2097
Abstract
Resource depletion and climate change, amongst others, are increasingly worrying environmental challenges for which the road engineering sector is a major contributor. Globally, viable solutions that comply with the principles of circular economy (CE) are being investigated that can replace conventional asphalt mixtures [...] Read more.
Resource depletion and climate change, amongst others, are increasingly worrying environmental challenges for which the road engineering sector is a major contributor. Globally, viable solutions that comply with the principles of circular economy (CE) are being investigated that can replace conventional asphalt mixtures in a post-fossil fuel society. The use of reclaimed asphalt (RA) is a widely used and well-established method to reduce the environmental and economic impacts of asphalt mixtures while increasing their circularity. However, RA’s market supply and demand have not yet been systematically analyzed and established. Moreover, the actual circularity potential and the opportunity of re-circulating RA in a closed-loop model have not yet been methodically defined. To address this, a three-layered framework to quantify and assess the circularity potential (Ω) of RA has been developed. To give stakeholders and legislative bodies a simple method to assess the opportunities available to them to become “more circular”, a novel equation has been formulated. This takes the form of a three-level indicator that considers: technical aspects, the effect of the RA market, and the legislative restrictions. A case study in Germany was structured and undertaken to develop and verify the proposed approach. The results indicate that the available RA is insufficient to cover the needs of asphalt mixture production; even though RA production is significantly lower than the actual need of asphalt mixtures, it is not utilized in its entirety. An impactful step forward is the alteration of the regulations to support the higher utilization of RA in asphalt mixtures, and subsequently, the increased circular opportunity and potential of RA. Thus, Circularity potential (Ω) is a composite indicator that can support stakeholders, designers, and asset managers during the process of decision-making, to follow more circular operational, design, and asphalt pavement management patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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22 pages, 4320 KiB  
Article
Environmental Impact Analysis of Alkali-Activated Concrete with Fiber Reinforcement
by Pujitha Ganapathi Chottemada, Arkamitra Kar and Patricia Kara De Maeijer
Infrastructures 2023, 8(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8040068 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3233
Abstract
The scientific community is shifting its focus towards construction materials with a low carbon footprint, such as alkali-activated concrete (AAC). The present study conducts an environmental impact assessment using the cradle-to-grave approach to examine the environmental implications of three different types of ambient-cured [...] Read more.
The scientific community is shifting its focus towards construction materials with a low carbon footprint, such as alkali-activated concrete (AAC). The present study conducts an environmental impact assessment using the cradle-to-grave approach to examine the environmental implications of three different types of ambient-cured AACs with varied combinations of precursors. The 28-day compressive strength values of the concrete mixes used for comparing environmental impacts vary from 35 to 55 MPa. Among these mixtures, the one with the least environmental impact is chosen for further impact assessment with the inclusion of fibers. Three different fiber reinforced AAC mixes containing 0.3% steel, glass, and polypropylene fibers, respectively by volume of AAC, are used in this study. The findings show that Portland Cement concrete has 86% and 34% higher impacts than AAC on the ecosystem and human health, respectively. In the production of AAC, sodium silicate is found to have the highest impact on the environment, in the range of 30–50% of the total impact. Among the various fibers used, glass fibers have the highest impact, which is 12% and 13% higher than that of the plain AAC mix, on the ecosystem and human health, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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17 pages, 1572 KiB  
Article
Coexistence of Energy Harvesting Roads and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
by Domenico Vizzari, Natasha Bahrani and Gaetano Fulco
Infrastructures 2023, 8(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8010014 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3622
Abstract
Intelligent systems, the Internet of Things, smart factory, and artificial intelligence are just some of the pillars for the 4th industrial revolution. Engineering is the driving force behind this new industrial renaissance and transportation plays a leading role for the new challenges in [...] Read more.
Intelligent systems, the Internet of Things, smart factory, and artificial intelligence are just some of the pillars for the 4th industrial revolution. Engineering is the driving force behind this new industrial renaissance and transportation plays a leading role for the new challenges in mobility needs. In this scenario, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) represent an innovative solution for various transport issues, such as traffic congestion, air pollution, long travel time, and accidents. In parallel, transportation is going through a novel way of thinking for road pavements: a multi-functional infrastructure able to harvest energy and exploiting the solar radiation or the traffic load. As the main hurdle in ITS is to find reliable energy sources, the energy harvesting roads could be a great step in installing and managing ITS as an electricity supplier. The aim of this paper is to review the key elements of ITS and energy harvesting pavements, and investigate their coexistence. This paper describes different harvesting techniques that could be used to power various ITS solutions. A case study evaluates the power output of a road section equipped with a solar road, piezoelectric material, and thermoelectric generators. Finally, the coexistence between ITS and energy harvesting pavements is critically evaluated, taking into account the advantages and disadvantages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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15 pages, 3323 KiB  
Article
Influence of the Hot-Mix Asphalt Production Temperature on the Effectiveness of the Reclaimed Asphalt Rejuvenation Process
by Edoardo Bocci, Emiliano Prosperi and Maurizio Bocci
Infrastructures 2023, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8010008 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2045
Abstract
Hot recycling of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) into new hot-mix asphalt (HMA) is a complex process that must be precisely calibrated in the asphalt plants. In particular, temperature is a key parameter that, if inadequately set, can affect the final mix performance as [...] Read more.
Hot recycling of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) into new hot-mix asphalt (HMA) is a complex process that must be precisely calibrated in the asphalt plants. In particular, temperature is a key parameter that, if inadequately set, can affect the final mix performance as it influences the RAP binder mobilization rate and the severity of bitumen short-term aging. The present paper aims at evaluating the effect of HMA production temperature on the behavior of mixtures including 50% of RAP and two types of rejuvenating agents. In particular, volumetric, mechanical, chemical, and rheological properties of the mixes and binder-aggregate adhesion have been investigated on the HMA produced in the laboratory at 140 °C or 170 °C. The results showed that the adoption of a lower production temperature did not significantly influence the air voids content in the mix, but determined a less stiff, brittle and cracking-prone behavior. Moreover, the decrease of the HMA production temperature was profitable for the increase of bitumen-aggregate adhesion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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10 pages, 1590 KiB  
Article
Autogenous Healing in 10-Years Aged Cementitious Composites Using Microfibers and Superabsorbent Polymers
by Didier Snoeck
Infrastructures 2022, 7(10), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures7100129 - 29 Sep 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
Cement-based materials are the most widely used construction materials in the world for infrastructure works. Unfortunately, they come with a high environmental burden due to carbon dioxide emissions and the need for regular maintenance and repairs. Without these, the service life can decrease. [...] Read more.
Cement-based materials are the most widely used construction materials in the world for infrastructure works. Unfortunately, they come with a high environmental burden due to carbon dioxide emissions and the need for regular maintenance and repairs. Without these, the service life can decrease. By using a self-healing approach, the service life can be extended, as well as the durability and sustainability of the building material. As the ability to self-heal depends on the age of the material, so will the potential influence of added materials to promote this healing. However, the effects of reduced healing beyond one year are not ubiquitous in the literature. In this study, specimens were studied after a decade of maturation under different storage conditions to conclude on the self-healing capabilities of the old samples. Cracks can still be partially healed after ten years, mainly due to the formation of calcium carbonate crystals, related to the observed regain in mechanical properties measured by repeated four-point bending tests. The initial addition of superabsorbent polymers to the mixture results in greater healing compared to the reference samples, making it a sustainable option for the future of cement-based composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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32 pages, 15390 KiB  
Article
High-Temperature, Bond, and Environmental Impact Assessment of Alkali-Activated Concrete (AAC)
by Kruthi Kiran Ramagiri, Patricia Kara De Maeijer and Arkamitra Kar
Infrastructures 2022, 7(9), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures7090119 - 8 Sep 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2381
Abstract
Alkali-activated binders (AABs) offer the opportunity to upcycle a variety of residues into products that can have added value. Although AABs are reported to have a superior high-temperature performance, their thermal behavior is heavily governed by their microstructure. The present study, therefore, evaluates [...] Read more.
Alkali-activated binders (AABs) offer the opportunity to upcycle a variety of residues into products that can have added value. Although AABs are reported to have a superior high-temperature performance, their thermal behavior is heavily governed by their microstructure. The present study, therefore, evaluates the effect of varying fly ash:slag ratios, activator modulus (Ms), and high temperatures on the microstructure of AAB using X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive spectroscopy. Furthermore, the mechanical properties of alkali-activated concrete (AAC) are investigated through compressive, bond, flexural, and split tensile strengths. A life cycle assessment of AAC is performed using the ReCiPe 2016 methodology. The results from microstructural experiments show the formation of new crystalline phases and decomposition of reaction products on high temperature exposure, and they correlate well with the observed mechanical performance. The 28-days compressive strength with slag content is enhanced by 151.8–339.7%. AAC with a fly ash:slag ratio of 70:30 and Ms of 1.4 is proposed as optimal from the obtained results. The results reveal that the biggest impact on climate change comes from transport (45.5–48.2%) and sodium silicate (26.7–35.6%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IOCI 2022 Special Issue Session 4: Materials and Sustainability)
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