Innovative Solutions for Concrete Applications

A special issue of Infrastructures (ISSN 2412-3811).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 19893

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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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Dear Colleagues,

Concrete is an incredible human-made material which has been evolving for more than 2000 years and will continue to transform from self-healing to Martian in the years to come. Concrete is the second most used material after water on Earth, and this material may become the best building material in the Solar System.

Concrete was used by the Romans, made from lime, pozzolan, and aggregate. John Smeaton used such material in 1756 to rebuild the Eddystone Lighthouse in England, and several others independently discovered the usefulness of such material to make concrete during the following years. Joseph Aspdin is credited with the invention of Portland cement, which he patented in 1824. He gave it its name because the product of Portland cement and aggregate resembled the stone that came from the Isle of Portland on the south coast of England. Portland cement subsequently came to be manufactured in many European countries and eventually all over the world. It was imported to the United States from England for a number of years before the first American plant was built in Pennsylvania in 1850. Today there are many companies manufacturing Portland cement under many brand names worldwide, and the total production volume is ~4.2 billion tons worldwide yearly in the last 5 years. There are also slag cements, modified Portland cements, and lately, there has been a tendency to use Alkali Activated Materials (AAMs).

The production of AAMs as an alternative to Portland cement started in Germany in 1908. For the following years, its production was mainly focused on the former Soviet Union and China, where cement shortages were experienced which led to the need for alternative materials; alkali activation was developed in both regions as a means of overcoming this problem by utilizing the materials at hand, specifically metallurgical slags. Fundamental research on AAMs has blossomed internationally only since the 1990s, and most of this work has been focused on AAMs microstructure, with little emphasis on the prediction of service life, durability, and engineering properties.

The last decade has brought a splendid innovation into concrete development. It is known that no matter how carefully concrete is designed and mixed or reinforced, all concrete eventually cracks — and those cracks lead to structural collapse sooner or later. As a solution to seal cracks in concrete, several researchers from TU Delft (The Netherlands) and UGent (Belgium) have been working on bio-concrete or self-healing concrete using bacteria. Innovative development has also recently been seen in 3D printing to quickly produce different structures, and this technology can often handle geometries that traditional construction techniques cannot. Traditional concrete is not an environmentally friendly material to make or use and is also impervious; therefore, eco-friendly forms of concrete are currently being developed. Starting in the 1920s, sulfur concrete has been reported to be utilized as a construction material. Various researchers and engineers studied and succeeded in obtaining high-strength and acid-resistant sulfur concretes. In the 1970s, researchers developed techniques to modify sulfur with additives and stabilizers to improve the durability of the product. These days, in response to scientific interest in building on Mars, a research team at Northwestern University (USA) created a form of concrete that can be made with materials native to the Red Planet.

This Special Issue, “Innovative Solutions for Concrete Applications”, aims to provide an overview of current innovative tendencies in concrete technology and structures, which have the potential to be implemented in the industry in the future, covering all recent developments in the construction sector.

Patricia Kara De Maeijer
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 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

  • concrete
  • AAMs
  • mix design
  • waste and byproduct recycling in construction materials
  • 3D printed concrete
  • real-time monitoring
  • structures
  • survey

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 3324 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Properties of Pervious Recycled Aggregate Concrete Reinforced with Sackcloth Fibers (SF)
by Arissaman Sangthongtong, Noppawan Semvimol, Thitima Rungratanaubon, Kittichai Duangmal and Panuwat Joyklad
Infrastructures 2023, 8(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures8020038 - 18 Feb 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1590
Abstract
The excessive production of construction waste is a significant concern as it requires proper disposal and may become economically unfeasible. Reusing construction waste in producing new concrete can substantially reduce the disposal requirements of construction waste. In addition, this results in a sustainable [...] Read more.
The excessive production of construction waste is a significant concern as it requires proper disposal and may become economically unfeasible. Reusing construction waste in producing new concrete can substantially reduce the disposal requirements of construction waste. In addition, this results in a sustainable solution for the rapidly depleting natural resources of concrete. Pervious concrete may contain up to 80% coarse aggregates and could be an exceptional host for reusing construction waste. This study aimed to investigate the mechanical properties of pervious concrete constructed with natural and recycled aggregates. The substandard properties of recycled aggregates were improved by adding natural fibers from sackcloth. This study presents an experimental program on 45 samples of pervious concrete with air void ratios and the size of coarse aggregates as the parameters of interest. The compressive strength of the pervious concrete decreased by increasing the air void ratio regardless of the size of the aggregates. The type of aggregates did not influence the permeability of pervious concrete, and the maximum temperature in pervious concrete increased as the quantity of air void ratios increased. The decrease in compressive strength was 40–60% as the void ratio was increased from 10–30% for all types of concrete mixes, such as natural and recycled aggregates. The permeability of small-size aggregates with 10% designed air void ratios for natural and recycled aggregates with sackcloth was 0.705 cm/s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Solutions for Concrete Applications)
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21 pages, 4256 KiB  
Article
Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle and Economic Assessment of Sustainable Concrete Mixes—Alkali-Activated Concrete (AAC) and Bacterial Concrete (BC)
by Kruthi Kiran Ramagiri, Ravali Chintha, Radha Kiranmaye Bandlamudi, Patricia Kara De Maeijer and Arkamitra Kar
Infrastructures 2021, 6(7), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6070104 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4532
Abstract
The negative environmental impacts associated with the usage of Portland cement (PC) in concrete induced intensive research into finding sustainable alternative concrete mixes to obtain “green concrete”. Since the principal aim of developing such mixes is to reduce the environmental impact, it is [...] Read more.
The negative environmental impacts associated with the usage of Portland cement (PC) in concrete induced intensive research into finding sustainable alternative concrete mixes to obtain “green concrete”. Since the principal aim of developing such mixes is to reduce the environmental impact, it is imperative to conduct a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA). This paper examines three different types of sustainable concrete mixes, viz., alkali-activated concrete (AAC) with natural coarse aggregates, AAC with recycled coarse aggregates (RCA), and bacterial concrete (BC). A detailed environmental impact assessment of AAC with natural coarse aggregates, AAC with RCA, and BC is performed through a cradle-to-gate LCA using openLCA v.1.10.3 and compared versus PC concrete (PCC) of equivalent strength. The results show that transportation and sodium silicate in AAC mixes and PC in BC mixes contribute the most to the environmental impact. The global warming potential (GWP) of PCC is 1.4–2 times higher than other mixes. Bacterial concrete without nutrients had the lowest environmental impact of all the evaluated mixes on all damage categories, both at the midpoint (except GWP) and endpoint assessment levels. AAC and BC mixes are more expensive than PCC by 98.8–159.1% and 21.8–54.3%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Solutions for Concrete Applications)
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Review

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20 pages, 2257 KiB  
Review
An Overview of Methods to Enhance the Environmental Performance of Cement-Based Materials
by Daniel Suarez-Riera, Luciana Restuccia, Devid Falliano, Giuseppe Andrea Ferro, Jean-Marc Tuliani, Matteo Pavese and Luca Lavagna
Infrastructures 2024, 9(6), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures9060094 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 472
Abstract
Urbanization and demographic growth have led to increased global energy consumption in recent years. Furthermore, construction products and materials industries have contributed significantly to this increase in fossil fuel use, due to their significant energy requirements, and consequent environmental impact, during the extraction [...] Read more.
Urbanization and demographic growth have led to increased global energy consumption in recent years. Furthermore, construction products and materials industries have contributed significantly to this increase in fossil fuel use, due to their significant energy requirements, and consequent environmental impact, during the extraction and processing of raw materials. To address this environmental problem, architectural design and civil engineering are trying to implement strategies that enable the use of high-performance materials while minimizing the usage of energy-intensive or toxic and dangerous building materials. These efforts also aim to make buildings less energy-consuming during their useful life. Using waste materials, such as Construction and Demolition Waste (CdW), is one of the most promising approaches to address this issue. In recent years, the European Union (EU) has supported recovery strategies focused on using CdW, as they account for more than 30% of the total waste production in the EU. In this regard, reuse techniques—such as incorporating concrete fragments and bricks as road floor fillers—have been the subject of targeted scientific research. This review will outline various strategies for producing green cement and concrete, particularly emphasizing the reuse of Construction and Demolition Waste (CdW). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Solutions for Concrete Applications)
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32 pages, 2672 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Assessment of Concrete Repairs through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA)
by Neel Renne, Patricia Kara De Maeijer, Bart Craeye, Matthias Buyle and Amaryllis Audenaert
Infrastructures 2022, 7(10), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures7100128 - 26 Sep 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5466
Abstract
Nowadays, a vast number of concrete structures are approaching the end of their expected service life. The need for maintenance and repair is high due to the continued deterioration of the existing building inventory and infrastructure, resulting in a large need for concrete [...] Read more.
Nowadays, a vast number of concrete structures are approaching the end of their expected service life. The need for maintenance and repair is high due to the continued deterioration of the existing building inventory and infrastructure, resulting in a large need for concrete repair in the near future. Reinforcement corrosion is the most important deterioration mechanism, causing (i) severe concrete damage (cracking along reinforcement and the spalling of the cover concrete) and (ii) loss in steel section. Therefore, appropriate repair techniques for corrosion damage are the main focus of this review paper. With the European transition towards a circular economy and with sustainable development goals in mind, it is also important to consider the environmental impact along with the technical requirements and life cycle cost. In order to improve the sustainability of concrete structures and repairs over their life cycle, life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) should be applied. However, more research efforts are needed in this field for further development and refinement. This literature review tries to adress this need by compiling existing knowledge and gaps in the state-of-the-art. A comprehensive literature survey about concrete repair assessment through LCA and LCCA is performed and showed a high potential for further investigation. Additionally, it was noticed that many differences are present between the studies considering LCA and/or LCCA, namely, the considered (i) structures, (ii) damage causes, (iii) repair techniques, (iv) estimated and expected life spans, (v) LCCA methods, (vi) life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods, etc. Therefore, due to the case specificity, mutual comparison is challenging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Solutions for Concrete Applications)
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20 pages, 1854 KiB  
Review
Crumb Rubber in Concrete—The Barriers for Application in the Construction Industry
by Patricia Kara De Maeijer, Bart Craeye, Johan Blom and Lieven Bervoets
Infrastructures 2021, 6(8), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6080116 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 6373
Abstract
This state-of-the-art review was aimed to conduct a comprehensive literature survey to summarize experiences of crumb rubber (CR) application in concrete within the last 30 years. It shows that certain gaps prevent obtaining a coherent overview of both mechanical behaviour and environmental impact [...] Read more.
This state-of-the-art review was aimed to conduct a comprehensive literature survey to summarize experiences of crumb rubber (CR) application in concrete within the last 30 years. It shows that certain gaps prevent obtaining a coherent overview of both mechanical behaviour and environmental impact of crumb rubber concrete (CRC) to object to the stereotypes which prevent to use of CR in concrete in the construction industry. Currently, four major barriers can be distinguished for a successful CR application in the concrete industry: (1) the cost of CR recycling, (2) mechanical properties reduction, (3) insufficient research about leaching criteria and ecotoxicological risks and (4) recyclability of CRC. The application of CR in concrete has certainly its advantages and in general cannot be ignored by the construction industry. CR can be applied, for example, as an alternative material to replace natural aggregates and CRC can be used as recycled concrete aggregates (RCA) in the future. A certain diversity for the CR application can be introduced in a more efficient way when surface treatment and concrete mix design optimization are properly developed for each type of CR application in concrete for possible field applications. The role of CRC should not be limited to structures that are less dependent on strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Solutions for Concrete Applications)
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