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Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Editorial

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Editorial
Advances in Natural Fibers and Polymers
Materials 2021, 14(10), 2607; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14102607 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
The use of natural fibers as reinforcement for polymer-based composites has been attracting the interest of the scientific community for a long time [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Natural Fibers and Polymers)
Editorial
Environment-Friendly Electrochemical Processes
Materials 2021, 14(6), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14061548 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
The present water crisis is probable to grow worse in the coming decades, and this has motivated the scientific community to identify innovative, safe, and robust water treatment technologies at a lower cost and with less energy, diminishing the use of chemicals and [...] Read more.
The present water crisis is probable to grow worse in the coming decades, and this has motivated the scientific community to identify innovative, safe, and robust water treatment technologies at a lower cost and with less energy, diminishing the use of chemicals and impact on the environment [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment-Friendly Electrochemical Processes)
Editorial
Special Issue: “Microstructures and Durability of Cement-Based Materials”
Materials 2021, 14(4), 866; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14040866 - 11 Feb 2021
Abstract
Cement-based materials play an irreplaceable role in building and sustaining our society by meeting the performance demand imposed on structures and sustainability. Cement-based materials are no longer limited to derivatives of Portland cement, and appreciate a wider range of binders that come from [...] Read more.
Cement-based materials play an irreplaceable role in building and sustaining our society by meeting the performance demand imposed on structures and sustainability. Cement-based materials are no longer limited to derivatives of Portland cement, and appreciate a wider range of binders that come from various origins. It is therefore of utmost importance for understanding and expanding the relevant knowledge on their microstructure and likely durability performance. This Special Issue “Microstructures and Durability of Cement-Based Materials” presents recent studies reporting microstructural and durability investigation revealing the characteristics of cement-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microstructures and Durability of Cement-Based Materials)
Editorial
The Role of Metal Ions in Biology, Biochemistry and Medicine
Materials 2021, 14(3), 549; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14030549 - 24 Jan 2021
Cited by 4
Abstract
Metal ions are fundamental elements for the maintenance of the lifespan of plants, animals and humans [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Metal Ions in Biology, Biochemistry and Medicine)
Editorial
Advances in Elastomers
Materials 2021, 14(2), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14020348 - 12 Jan 2021
Abstract
Elastomer materials are characteristic for their high elongation and (entropy) elasticity, which makes them indispensable for widespread applications in various engineering areas, medical applications or consumer goods [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Elastomers)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Article
Helium Bubbles and Blistering in a Nanolayered Metal/Hydride Composite
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185393 - 18 Sep 2021
Abstract
Helium is insoluble in most metals and precipitates out to form nanoscale bubbles when the concentration is greater than 1 at.%, which can alter the material properties. Introducing controlled defects such as multilayer interfaces may offer some level of helium bubble management. This [...] Read more.
Helium is insoluble in most metals and precipitates out to form nanoscale bubbles when the concentration is greater than 1 at.%, which can alter the material properties. Introducing controlled defects such as multilayer interfaces may offer some level of helium bubble management. This study investigates the effects of multilayered composites on helium behavior in ion-implanted, multilayered ErD2/Mo thin film composites. Following in-situ and ex-situ helium implantation, scanning and transmission electron microscopy showed the development of spherical helium bubbles within the matrix, but primarily at the layer interfaces. Bubble linkage and surface blistering is observed after high fluence ex-situ helium implantation. These results show the ability of metallic multilayers to alter helium bubble distributions even in the presence of a hydride layer, increasing the lifetime of materials in helium environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Damage in Materials: Coupled Extreme Environments)
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Article
Reduction of Thermal Conductivity for Icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe Quasicrystal through Heavy Element Substitution
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185238 - 12 Sep 2021
Abstract
Icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal (QC) shows moderate electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity, and both p- and n-type conduction can be controlled by tuning the sample composition, making it potentially suited for thermoelectric materials. In this work, we investigated the effect of introducing chemical [...] Read more.
Icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal (QC) shows moderate electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity, and both p- and n-type conduction can be controlled by tuning the sample composition, making it potentially suited for thermoelectric materials. In this work, we investigated the effect of introducing chemical disorder through heavy element substitution on the thermal conductivity of Al-Cu-Fe QC. We substituted Au and Pt elements for Cu up to 3 at% in a composition of Al63Cu25Fe12, i.e., Al63Cu25−x(Au,Pt)xFe12 (x = 0, 1, 2, 3). The substitutions of Au and Pt for Cu reduced the phonon thermal conductivity at 300 K (κph,300K) by up to 17%. The reduction of κph,300K is attributed to a decrease in the specific heat and phonon relaxation time through heavy element substitution. We found that increasing the Pt content reduced the specific heat at high temperatures, which may be caused by the locked state of phasons. The observed glass-like low values of κph,300K (0.9–1.1 W m−1 K1 at 300 K) for Al63Cu25−x(Au,Pt)xFe12 are close to the lower limit calculated using the Cahill model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Thermoelectric Materials and Devices)
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Article
On Structural Rearrangements Near the Glass Transition Temperature in Amorphous Silica
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185235 - 11 Sep 2021
Abstract
The formation of clusters was analyzed in a topologically disordered network of bonds of amorphous silica (SiO2) based on the Angell model of broken bonds termed configurons. It was shown that a fractal-dimensional configuron phase was formed in the amorphous silica [...] Read more.
The formation of clusters was analyzed in a topologically disordered network of bonds of amorphous silica (SiO2) based on the Angell model of broken bonds termed configurons. It was shown that a fractal-dimensional configuron phase was formed in the amorphous silica above the glass transition temperature Tg. The glass transition was described in terms of the concepts of configuron percolation theory (CPT) using the Kantor-Webman theorem, which states that the rigidity threshold of an elastic percolating network is identical to the percolation threshold. The account of configuron phase formation above Tg showed that (i) the glass transition was similar in nature to the second-order phase transformations within the Ehrenfest classification and that (ii) although being reversible, it occurred differently when heating through the glass–liquid transition to that when cooling down in the liquid phase via vitrification. In contrast to typical second-order transformations, such as the formation of ferromagnetic or superconducting phases when the more ordered phase is located below the transition threshold, the configuron phase was located above it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials Physics)
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Article
Identification of Chemical Bonds and Microstructure of Hydrated Tricalcium Silicate (C3S) by a Coupled Micro-Raman/BSE-EDS Evaluation
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185144 - 08 Sep 2021
Abstract
Identifying the phase evolution and revealing the chemical bonds of hydrated cements accurately is crucial to regulate the performance of cementitious materials. In this paper, a coupled Raman/BSE-EDS analysis was proposed to determine the chemical bonds of tricalcium silicate hydrates and the interface [...] Read more.
Identifying the phase evolution and revealing the chemical bonds of hydrated cements accurately is crucial to regulate the performance of cementitious materials. In this paper, a coupled Raman/BSE-EDS analysis was proposed to determine the chemical bonds of tricalcium silicate hydrates and the interface transition zone (ITZ) between inner C-S-H and anhydrates. The results show that the Raman/BSE-EDS method can accurately identify the chemical bonds of inner C-S-H and inner ITZ regions, which confirms the mixed structure of inner C-S-H and nano calcium hydroxide (CH). The inner ITZ shows a lattice change region with a thickness of 700–1000 nm, which can be attributed to the pre-disassembly process of C3S crystal. The successful application of coupled Raman/BSE-EDS provides new insight into the hydration process and multi-structure features of traditional cementitious materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corrosion, Properties and Characterization in Concrete)
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Article
Effect of Heat Treatments under High Isostatic Pressure on the Transport Critical Current Density at 4.2 K and 20 K in Doped and Undoped MgB2 Wires
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185152 - 08 Sep 2021
Abstract
Annealing undoped MgB2 wires under high isostatic pressure (HIP) increases transport critical current density (Jtc) by 10% at 4.2 K in range magnetic fields from 4 T to 12 T and significantly increases Jtc by 25% in range [...] Read more.
Annealing undoped MgB2 wires under high isostatic pressure (HIP) increases transport critical current density (Jtc) by 10% at 4.2 K in range magnetic fields from 4 T to 12 T and significantly increases Jtc by 25% in range magnetic fields from 2 T to 4 T and does not increase Jtc above 4 T at 20 K. Further research shows that a large amount of 10% SiC admixture and thermal treatment under a high isostatic pressure of 1 GPa significantly increases the Jtc by 40% at 4.2 K in magnetic fields above 6 T and reduces Jtc by one order at 20 K in MgB2 wires. Additionally, our research showed that heat treatment under high isostatic pressure is more evident in wires with smaller diameters, as it greatly increases the density of MgB2 material and the number of connections between grains compared to MgB2 wires with larger diameters, but only during the Mg solid-state reaction. In addition, our study indicates that smaller wire diameters and high isostatic pressure do not lead to a higher density of MgB2 material and more connections between grains during the liquid-state Mg reaction. Full article
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Article
A Three-Phase Transport Model for High-Temperature Concrete Simulations Validated with X-ray CT Data
Materials 2021, 14(17), 5047; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14175047 - 03 Sep 2021
Abstract
Concrete exposure to high temperatures induces thermo-hygral phenomena, causing water phase changes, buildup of pore pressure and vulnerability to spalling. In order to predict these phenomena under various conditions, a three-phase transport model is proposed. The model is validated on X-ray CT data [...] Read more.
Concrete exposure to high temperatures induces thermo-hygral phenomena, causing water phase changes, buildup of pore pressure and vulnerability to spalling. In order to predict these phenomena under various conditions, a three-phase transport model is proposed. The model is validated on X-ray CT data up to 320 °C, showing good agreement of the temperature profiles and moisture changes. A dehydration description, traditionally derived from thermogravimetric analysis, was replaced by a formulation based on data from neutron radiography. In addition, treating porosity and dehydration evolution as independent processes, previous approaches do not fulfil the solid mass balance. As a consequence, a new formulation is proposed that introduces the porosity as an independent variable, ensuring the latter condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Construction and Building Materials)
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Article
Compressive Creep and Shrinkage of High-Strength Concrete Based on Limestone Coarse Aggregate Applied to High-Rise Buildings
Materials 2021, 14(17), 5026; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14175026 - 02 Sep 2021
Abstract
Concrete undergoes shrinkage regardless of the influence of external forces. The deformation of concrete is crucial for the structural stability of high-rise and large-scale buildings. In this study, the shrinkage and compressive creep of 70–90 MPa high-strength concrete used in high-rise buildings were [...] Read more.
Concrete undergoes shrinkage regardless of the influence of external forces. The deformation of concrete is crucial for the structural stability of high-rise and large-scale buildings. In this study, the shrinkage and compressive creep of 70–90 MPa high-strength concrete used in high-rise buildings were evaluated based on the curing conditions (sealed/unsealed), and the existing prediction models were examined. It was observed that the curing condition does not significantly affect the mechanical properties of high-strength concrete, but the use of limestone coarse aggregate increases the elastic modulus when compared to granite coarse aggregate. The autogenous shrinkage of high-strength concrete is greater than that of normal-strength concrete owing to self-desiccation, resulting in a large variation from the value predicted by the model. The drying shrinkage was observed to be similar to that predicted by the model. Compressive creep was affected by the curing conditions, compressive strength, loading level, and loading age. The compressive creep of high-strength concrete varied significantly from the prediction results of ACI 209; ACI 209 was modified based on the measured values. The shrinkage and compressive creep characteristics of high-strength concrete must be reflected to predict the deformation of an actual structure exposed to various conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research of Mechanical Behavior of Cement and Concrete Composites)
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Article
Influence of Polypropylene Fibre Factor on Flowability and Mechanical Properties of Self-Compacting Geopolymer
Materials 2021, 14(17), 5025; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14175025 - 02 Sep 2021
Abstract
The possibility of using geopolymer instead of Portland cement could effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cement manufacturing. Fibre-reinforced self-compacting geopolymers have great potential in civil engineering applications, such as chord member grouting for concrete-filled steel tubular truss beams. However, to the best [...] Read more.
The possibility of using geopolymer instead of Portland cement could effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cement manufacturing. Fibre-reinforced self-compacting geopolymers have great potential in civil engineering applications, such as chord member grouting for concrete-filled steel tubular truss beams. However, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, the quantitative relationship between FF and the properties of the fibre-reinforced geopolymer has been rarely reported. In this research, 26 groups of mixtures were used to study the influence of the polypropylene fibre factor (FF) on the flowability and mechanical properties and also the compactness of the fibre-reinforced self-compacting geopolymer. At the same volume fraction, geopolymers with long fibres present worse flowability than those having short fibres due to the easier contacting of long fibres. By growing the FF the influence of fibre addition on the V-funnel flow rate is more significant than the slump spread. This can be ascribed to the consequence of fibre addition and friction by the V-funnel which estimates the restrained deformability. For FF lesser than critical factor Fc = 100, influence of fibres is negligible and fibres are far apart from each other and, thus, they cannot restrict cracking under load and transfer the load to improve the mechanical properties. For FF between the Fc = 100 and density factor Fd = 350, a noteworthy enhancement of mechanical properties was obtained and the geopolymer was still adequately workable to flow by weight of self, without any symbols of instability and fibre clumping. Under this condition, better fibre dispersal and reinforcing productivity can lead to better hardened properties. For FF higher than Fd = 350, fibres tend to come to be entwined together and form clumping resulting from the fibre balling, resulting in worse hardened properties. This research offers a sensible basis for the application of the workability regulator of the fresh properties of fibre-reinforced geopolymer as an operative way to basically obtain ideal mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Construction and Building Materials)
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Article
A FEM-Based Optimization Method for Driving Frequency of Contactless Magnetoelastic Torque Sensors in Steel Shafts
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4996; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174996 - 01 Sep 2021
Abstract
This paper presents a novel finite element method (FEM) of optimization for driving frequency in magneto-mechanical systems using contactless magnetoelastic torque sensors. The optimization technique is based on the generalization of the axial and shear stress dependence of the magnetic permeability tensor. This [...] Read more.
This paper presents a novel finite element method (FEM) of optimization for driving frequency in magneto-mechanical systems using contactless magnetoelastic torque sensors. The optimization technique is based on the generalization of the axial and shear stress dependence of the magnetic permeability tensor. This generalization creates a new possibility for the determination of the torque dependence of a permeability tensor based on measurements of the axial stress on the magnetization curve. Such a possibility of quantitative description of torque dependence of a magnetic permeability tensor has never before been presented. Results from the FEM-based modeling method were validated against a real magnetoelastic torque sensor. The sensitivity characteristics of the model and the real sensor show a maximum using a driving current of similar frequency. Consequently, the proposed method demonstrates the novel possibility of optimizing magnetoelastic sensors for automotive and industrial applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetoelastic Materials)
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Article
Evaluation of PIRs Post-Fire Pull-Out Strength in Concrete Exposed to ISO 834-1 Fire
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4998; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174998 - 01 Sep 2021
Abstract
Post-installed rebars (PIRs) using mortar can offer bond strength at ambient temperature equal or higher to that of cast-in place rebars. However, high temperatures have the effect of weakening the bond, typically governed by the chemical and physical properties of the mortar which [...] Read more.
Post-installed rebars (PIRs) using mortar can offer bond strength at ambient temperature equal or higher to that of cast-in place rebars. However, high temperatures have the effect of weakening the bond, typically governed by the chemical and physical properties of the mortar which is often sensitive to temperature increase. Therefore, the behavior of PIRs in a fire situation becomes vulnerable. Moreover, after exposure of PIRs to high temperature, the heat transfer continues during the post-fire phase, which might endanger the construction after a fire event. In order to evaluate the evolution of the pull-out capacity during fire, Pinoteau et al. have developed the bond resistance integration method (Pinoteau’s RIM) to predict the bond resistance value of a rebar subjected to various temperatures in accordance with the fire exposure curves. Therefore, accurate temperature profiles during the post-fire phase are needed to ensure a correct calculation of the post-fire behavior of the PIR connection. This paper presents 3D finite element thermal simulations of PIRs in concrete exposed to ISO 834-1 fire conditions then cooled with ambient air. Numerical thermal profiles are then compared to the experimental results (i.e., post-fire pull-out tests). The proposed model provides guidelines for conducting numerical simulations to determine the thermal entry data necessary for predicting thermal profiles in PIRs during heating and cooling phases. Then, the post-fire pull-out capacity of PIRs in concrete is calculated using Pinoteau’s RIM, and compared to experimental post-fire pull-out results. Full article
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Article
Experimental Study on Solidification and Stabilization of Heavy-Metal-Contaminated Soil Using Cementitious Materials
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4999; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174999 - 01 Sep 2021
Abstract
In order to solve the shortcomings of the traditional curing agent in the treatment of composite heavy-metal-contaminated soil with the solidification and stabilization method, a new type of cementing material A was used as a curing agent, and the Pb, Cd, Cu composite [...] Read more.
In order to solve the shortcomings of the traditional curing agent in the treatment of composite heavy-metal-contaminated soil with the solidification and stabilization method, a new type of cementing material A was used as a curing agent, and the Pb, Cd, Cu composite heavy-metal-contaminated soil was artificially prepared to carry out an experimental study on solidification and stabilization (SS) restoration by the mechanical properties test, leaching performance test, and microscopic test. The results show that in the range of test dosage, with the increase in the curing agent content, the unconfined compressive strength of the solidified body increased, and the resistance to deformation was enhanced. From the perspective of leaching characteristics, the new curing agent A had an excellent curing effect on the composite heavy-metal-contaminated soil. To achieve safe disposal, a curing agent content of 10% applies only for the soil heavily contaminated by heavy metals. The curing agent A could significantly reduce the content of acid-extractable heavy metals after solidifying the heavy metal Pb, Cd, and Cu composite contaminated soil and effectively converted it into a residue state. The solidified phase contained hydrated products such as calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) and ettringite (AFt). These hydrated products can inhibit the leaching performance of heavy metal ions through adsorption, encapsulation, and ion exchange. The study provides a feasible method and reference for the solidification, restoration, and resource utilization of heavy-metal-contaminated soil in the subgrade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials, Structure, and Modeling for Smart and Resilient Roads)
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Article
Pseudogap Isotope Effect as a Probe of Bipolaron Mechanism in High Temperature Superconductors
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4973; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174973 - 31 Aug 2021
Abstract
A theory of a pseudogap phase of high-temperature superconductors where current carriers are translation invariant bipolarons is developed. A temperature T* of a transition from a pseudogap phase to a normal one is calculated. For the temperature of a transition to the [...] Read more.
A theory of a pseudogap phase of high-temperature superconductors where current carriers are translation invariant bipolarons is developed. A temperature T* of a transition from a pseudogap phase to a normal one is calculated. For the temperature of a transition to the pseudogap phase, the isotope coefficient is found. It is shown that the results obtained, in particular, the possibility of negative values of the isotope coefficient, are consistent with the experiment. New experiments on the influence of the magnetic field on the isotope coefficient are proposed. Full article
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Article
Characterization of Sustainable Asphalt Mixtures Containing High Reclaimed Asphalt and Steel Slag
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4938; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174938 - 30 Aug 2021
Abstract
Policymakers are implementing the transition to a circular model in all economic sectors to drastically mitigate the effects of climate change. In this regard, the producers of paving products should promote the reuse and recycling of solid waste in the design of sustainable [...] Read more.
Policymakers are implementing the transition to a circular model in all economic sectors to drastically mitigate the effects of climate change. In this regard, the producers of paving products should promote the reuse and recycling of solid waste in the design of sustainable asphalt materials. This study evaluated the performance-based properties of three highly recycled mixtures for wearing courses of asphalt pavements containing steel slag and varying amounts (25, 40, and 50%) of fractionated reclaimed asphalt (RA). In addition, the mixtures incorporated a warm mix asphalt (WMA) organic additive to lower production temperatures compared to a reference hot mix asphalt (HMA). Based on the experimental results, the warm recycled asphalt mixtures show equivalent or better performance compared to HMA in terms of moisture susceptibility, stiffness, rutting and fracture resistance, and surface macrotexture. Therefore, the combined incorporation of RA and steel slag with WMA was proven to be an effective option in designing environmentally friendly and high-performance wearing course mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Long-Life and Circular Pavement Materials)
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Article
Response and Deterioration Mechanism of Bitumen under Acid Rain Erosion
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4911; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174911 - 29 Aug 2021
Abstract
Acid rain as an important environmental issue has a negative impact on bitumen performance, thereby shortening the service life of asphalt pavements. Thus, this research aims to investigate the response of bitumen to acid rain and its deterioration mechanism. For this purpose, the [...] Read more.
Acid rain as an important environmental issue has a negative impact on bitumen performance, thereby shortening the service life of asphalt pavements. Thus, this research aims to investigate the response of bitumen to acid rain and its deterioration mechanism. For this purpose, the simulated acid rain was prepared to erode neat bitumen and short-term aged bitumen. The hydrogen ion concentration of the acid rain, and the morphological, physical, chemical, and rheological properties of the bitumen were evaluated by means of a pH meter, scanning electron microscopy, physical tests, Fourier transform infrared radiation with attenuated total reflectance, and dynamic shear rheometer. The results showed that bitumen properties were severely affected by acid rain, and the changes in bitumen properties were highly related to the erosion time, leading to a reduction in pH value by 0.2 of residual acid rain, rougher bitumen surface, and stiffer bitumen with more oxygen-containing functional groups and fewer carbonyl acid groups (around 10% decrement) after 90 days erosion. These changes contributed to two deterioration mechanisms: oxidation and dissolution of carbonyl acid. Oxidation and dissolution are, respectively, the dominant actions for neat bitumen and aged bitumen during the erosion process, which eventually leads to various responses to acid rain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Construction and Building Materials)
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Article
Improving Marine Concrete Performance Based on Multiple Criteria Using Early Portland Cement and Chemical Superplasticizer Admixture
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4903; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174903 - 28 Aug 2021
Abstract
This study sought to examine the performance design of concrete mix proportions to ensure chloride resistance and early strength with respect to C35 (35 MPa), which is the minimum compressive strength class of concrete used in a marine environment. For the proposed concrete [...] Read more.
This study sought to examine the performance design of concrete mix proportions to ensure chloride resistance and early strength with respect to C35 (35 MPa), which is the minimum compressive strength class of concrete used in a marine environment. For the proposed concrete mixture, C24 (24 MPa) was selected and binders for concrete were manufactured using a blend of OPC (ordinary Portland cement), EPC (early Portland cement), and GGBS (ground granulated blast-furnace slag). The results of the experiment confirmed that the combined use of EPC and GGBS greatly improve the early-strength development and chloride resistance of concrete. An analysis revealed that the time for removal of forms can be reduced by 5–9 h from the aspect of early concrete strength. Moreover, in terms of construction productivity, EPC and GGBS were reduced by up to 16.39 h/cycle compared to other concretes. Regarding economic and environmental impacts, EPC and GGBS were more effective than C35 concrete. This study is significant as its findings help make it possible to examine the most economical concrete mix design in relation to strength development according to the application of EPC, GGBS, and PC-based admixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Peaking and Carbon Neutrality in the Cement-Based Materials)
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Article
Evaluation of the Protection Ability of a Magnesium Hydroxide Coating against the Bio-Corrosion of Concrete Sewer Pipes, by Using Short and Long Duration Accelerated Acid Spraying Tests
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174897 - 28 Aug 2021
Abstract
The Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC) of concrete sewer pipes is a commonly known problem that can lead to the destruction of the system, creating multiple public health issues and the need for costly repair investments. The present study focuses on the development of [...] Read more.
The Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC) of concrete sewer pipes is a commonly known problem that can lead to the destruction of the system, creating multiple public health issues and the need for costly repair investments. The present study focuses on the development of a magnesium hydroxide coating, with optimized properties to protect concrete against MIC. The anti-corrosion properties of the respective coating were evaluated by using short and long duration accelerated sulfuric acid spraying tests. The coating presented satisfying adhesion ability, based on pull-off and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis measurements. The surface pH of the coated concrete was maintained at the alkaline region (i.e., >8.0) throughout the duration of all acid spraying tests. The consumption of the coating, due to the reaction (neutralization) with sulfuric acid, was confirmed by the respective mass and thickness measurements. The protection ability of this coating was also evaluated by recording the formation of gypsum (i.e., the main corrosion product of concrete) during the performed tests, by X-ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis and by the Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) measurements. Finally, a long duration acid spraying test was additionally used to evaluate the behavior of the coating, simulating better the conditions existing in a real sewer pipe, and the obtained results showed that this coating is capable of offering prolonged protection to the concrete substrate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corrosion in Concrete: Inhibitors and Coatings)
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Article
Application of Artificial Intelligence to Evaluate the Fresh Properties of Self-Consolidating Concrete
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4885; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174885 - 27 Aug 2021
Abstract
This paper numerically investigates the required superplasticizer (SP) demand for self-consolidating concrete (SCC) as a valuable information source to obtain a durable SCC. In this regard, an adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) is integrated with three metaheuristic algorithms to evaluate a dataset from [...] Read more.
This paper numerically investigates the required superplasticizer (SP) demand for self-consolidating concrete (SCC) as a valuable information source to obtain a durable SCC. In this regard, an adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) is integrated with three metaheuristic algorithms to evaluate a dataset from non-destructive tests. Hence, five different non-destructive testing methods, including J-ring test, V-funnel test, U-box test, 3 min slump value and 50 min slump (T50) value were performed. Then, three metaheuristic algorithms, namely particle swarm optimization (PSO), ant colony optimization (ACO) and differential evolution optimization (DEO), were considered to predict the SP demand of SCC mixtures. To compare the optimization algorithms, ANFIS parameters were kept constant (clusters = 10, train samples = 70% and test samples = 30%). The metaheuristic parameters were adjusted, and each algorithm was tuned to attain the best performance. In general, it was found that the ANFIS method is a good base to be combined with other optimization algorithms. The results indicated that hybrid algorithms (ANFIS-PSO, ANFIS-DEO and ANFIS-ACO) can be used as reliable prediction methods and considered as an alternative for experimental techniques. In order to perform a reliable analogy of the developed algorithms, three evaluation criteria were employed, including root mean square error (RMSE), Pearson correlation coefficient (r) and determination regression coefficient (R2). As a result, the ANFIS-PSO algorithm represented the most accurate prediction of SP demand with RMSE = 0.0633, r = 0.9387 and R2 = 0.9871 in the testing phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Trends in Structural Health Monitoring)
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Article
Influence of Sand-Cement Ratio and Polycarboxylate Superplasticizer on the Basic Properties of Mortar Based on Water Film Thickness
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174850 - 26 Aug 2021
Abstract
Previous studies demonstrated that water film thickness (WFT) is a key factor that affects the fluidity of mortar. Changes in the sand-cement (S/C) ratio and polycarboxylate superplasticizer (PCE) dosage will affect the WFT. In this study, several mortar samples with different S/C ratios [...] Read more.
Previous studies demonstrated that water film thickness (WFT) is a key factor that affects the fluidity of mortar. Changes in the sand-cement (S/C) ratio and polycarboxylate superplasticizer (PCE) dosage will affect the WFT. In this study, several mortar samples with different S/C ratios and different PCE dosages were prepared, and the basic properties of the mortar were measured. The results show that as the S/C ratio increases, the packing density of the mortar will decrease, the WFT will decrease, and the cohesiveness will increase, resulting in a decrease in the flow spread and strength of the mortar. When the PCE dosage is increased, the packing density of the mortar will increase, the WFT will increase, and the cohesiveness will decrease, which increases the flow spread of the mortar. When the water-cement (W/C) ratio is low, the S/C ratio has a significant effect on the strength, and the strength will increase with the increasing of the PCE dosage. When the W/C ratio is high, the strength of the mortar will be reduced once the PCE dosage exceeds the saturation value. In the case of different S/C ratios or different PCE dosages, the WFT can be used as a measure of mortar cohesiveness and flow spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Serviceability Analysis of Concrete Structures)
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Article
Effect of Boron and Water-to-Cement Ratio on the Performances of Laboratory Prepared Belite-Ye’elimite-Ferrite (BYF) Cements
Materials 2021, 14(17), 4862; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14174862 - 26 Aug 2021
Abstract
The effect of superplasticiser, borax and the water-to-cement ratio on BYF hydration and mechanical strengths has been studied. Two laboratory-scale BYF cements—st-BYF (with β-C2S and orthorhombic C4A3S¯) and borax-activated B-BYF (with α’H-C2 [...] Read more.
The effect of superplasticiser, borax and the water-to-cement ratio on BYF hydration and mechanical strengths has been studied. Two laboratory-scale BYF cements—st-BYF (with β-C2S and orthorhombic C4A3S¯) and borax-activated B-BYF (with α’H-C2S and pseudo-cubic C4A3S¯)—have been used, and both show similar particle size distribution. The addition of superplasticiser and externally added borax to BYF pastes has been optimised through rheological measurements. Optimised superplasticiser contents (0.3, 0.4 and 0.1 wt % for st-BYF, B-BYF and st-BYF with externally added 0.25 wt % B2O3, respectively) result in low viscosities yielding homogeneous mortars. The calorimetric study revealed that st-BYF is more reactive than B-BYF, as the values of heat released are 300–370 J/g and 190–210 J/g, respectively, after 7 days of hydration; this fact is independent of the water-to-cement ratio. These findings agree with the higher degree of hydration at 28 days of β-C2S in st-BYF (from 45 to 60%) than α’H-C2S in B-BYF (~20 to 30%). The phase assemblage evolution has been determined by LXRPD coupled with the Rietveld method and MAS-NMR. The formation of stratlingite is favoured by increasing the w/c ratio in both systems. Finally, the optimisation of fresh BYF pastes jointly with the reduction of water-to-cement ratio to 0.40 have allowed the achieving of mortars with compressive strengths over 40 MPa at 7 days in all systems. Moreover, the st-BYF mortar, where borax was externally added, achieved more than 70 MPa after 28 days. The main conclusion of this work does not support Lafarge’s approach of adding boron/borax to the raw meal of BYF cements. This procedure stabilises the alpha belite polymorph, but its reactivity, in these systems, is lower and the associated mechanical strengths poorer. Full article
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Article
The Synergistic Effect of Ester-Ether Copolymerization Thixo-Tropic Superplasticizer and Nano-Clay on the Buildability of 3D Printable Cementitious Materials
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4622; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164622 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
The shape retention ability of materials deposited layer by layer is called buildability, which is an indispensable performance parameter for successful 3D printable cementitious materials (3DPC). This study investigated the synergistic effect of nano-clay (NC) and thixotropic superplasticizer (TP) on the buildability of [...] Read more.
The shape retention ability of materials deposited layer by layer is called buildability, which is an indispensable performance parameter for successful 3D printable cementitious materials (3DPC). This study investigated the synergistic effect of nano-clay (NC) and thixotropic superplasticizer (TP) on the buildability of 3DPC. The rheological parameters and static yield stress are characterized by the rheology testing, the green strength is measured by a self-made pressure tester, and the fluidity is tested by flow table. Results indicate that NC significantly increases the growth rate of static yield stress and green strength and TP can improve the initial rheological parameters and fluidity, which ensures the initial stiffness and workability of printed materials. The mixture with 7‰ (by mass of cementitious materials) NC and 3‰ TP obtains excellent extrudability and buildability, due to the synergistic effect of NC and TP. Based on the rheology testing and specific printing experiments, a printable window with 1.0 Pa/s~2.0 Pa/s of the rate of static yield stress evolution over time (RST) or 170 mm~200 mm of fluidity is established. This work provides theorical support for the control and evaluation of rheological properties in 3DPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Construction and Building Materials)
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Article
Automated Distinction between Cement Paste and Aggregates of Concrete Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4624; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164624 - 17 Aug 2021
Abstract
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a technique which enables the analysis of material components with precision and spatial resolution. Furthermore, the investigation method is comparatively fast which enables illustrating the distribution of elements within the examined material. This opens new possibilities for the [...] Read more.
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a technique which enables the analysis of material components with precision and spatial resolution. Furthermore, the investigation method is comparatively fast which enables illustrating the distribution of elements within the examined material. This opens new possibilities for the investigation of very heterogeneous materials, such as concrete. Concrete consists of cement, water, and aggregates. As most of the transport processes take place exclusively in the hardened cement paste, relevant limit values linked to harmful element contents are specified in relation to the cement mass. When a concrete sample from an existing structure is examined, information on the concrete composition is usually not available. Therefore, assumptions have to be made to convert the element content analyzed in the sample based on the cement content in the sample. This inevitably leads to inaccuracies. Therefore, a method for distinction between cement paste and aggregates is required. Cement and aggregate components are chemically very close to each other and therefore, complex for classification. This is why the consideration of a single distinguishing feature is not sufficient. In this paper, a machine learning method is described and has been used to automate the distinction of the cement paste and aggregates of the LIBS data to receive reliable information of this technique. The presented approach could potentially be employed for many heterogeneous materials with the same complexity to quantify the arbitrary substances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete Microstructure and Service Life Prediction)
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Article
Influence of Impregnation of Recycled Concrete Aggregate on the Selected Properties of Concrete
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164611 - 17 Aug 2021
Abstract
The paper focuses on investigating the effect of impregnation of recycled concrete aggregate on the mechanical and durability properties of concrete using this aggregate. Cement paste, limewater and diluted water glass were used to impregnate the aggregate. Both a single impregnation and a [...] Read more.
The paper focuses on investigating the effect of impregnation of recycled concrete aggregate on the mechanical and durability properties of concrete using this aggregate. Cement paste, limewater and diluted water glass were used to impregnate the aggregate. Both a single impregnation and a double impregnation using two different solutions were carried out. A total of four groups of concrete series, with two values of w/c ratio (0.45 and 0.60), were made. Concrete made using the impregnated aggregate was tested and the results were compared with those of concrete made using untreated recycled aggregate of the same kind. The results indicate that impregnation of aggregate improves the mechanical properties of concrete in many cases but reduces its resistance to cyclic freezing and thawing. Furthermore, in the case of impregnation with two solutions, the order in which the impregnants are applied influences the effect obtained. Using the results received, the impregnation methods were ranked in order from best to worst. The best impregnation method proved to be with cement paste, followed by diluted water glass, while the worst results were obtained with limewater, followed by diluted water glass. Full article
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Article
Study on the Frost Resistance of Concrete Modified with Steel Balls Containing Phase Change Material (PCM)
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164497 - 11 Aug 2021
Abstract
In order to investigate the effect of phase change materials on the frost resistance of concrete in cold regions, hollow steel balls were used in this paper for the macroscopic encapsulation of the phase change material to replace some of the coarse aggregates [...] Read more.
In order to investigate the effect of phase change materials on the frost resistance of concrete in cold regions, hollow steel balls were used in this paper for the macroscopic encapsulation of the phase change material to replace some of the coarse aggregates in the preparation of phase change concrete. On the premise of ensuring reasonable mechanical properties, concrete mixed with different contents and different surface treatments of grouting steel balls were tested for the compressive strength and splitting tensile strength to determine the optimum content of phase change steel balls and investigate the frost resistance of phase change concrete. At the same time, industrial CT was used to explore the internal pore evolution pattern of concrete during the freeze–thaw period. The test results show that the optimum content of steel balls is 75%; during the freeze–thaw process, the mass loss, relative dynamic elastic modulus loss, and strength loss of phase change concrete are all lower than those of ordinary concrete, and the increase in porosity of phase change concrete is also significantly lower than that of ordinary concrete; the addition of phase change materials can optimise the distribution of the internal pore in concrete, improve its internal pore structure, and enhance its frost resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Building Materials)
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Article
Design and Durability Assessment of Restoring Mortar for Concrete Heritage
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4508; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164508 - 11 Aug 2021
Abstract
Interventions in concrete heritage deal with challenges related to conservation, and must be performed from an integrated restoration perspective. In addition to the material technical performance, the aesthetic compatibility between the repair and the structure, in terms of colour and texture, needs to [...] Read more.
Interventions in concrete heritage deal with challenges related to conservation, and must be performed from an integrated restoration perspective. In addition to the material technical performance, the aesthetic compatibility between the repair and the structure, in terms of colour and texture, needs to be ensured. Therefore, the characterisation of the restoration mortar concerning colour match and aging, and the mechanical and durability performances, is essential. In this article, the long-term behaviour of restoration mortar, previously designed and produced by the addition of pigments to white and grey cement-based reference mortar, is evaluated. The durability properties, colour change due to aging, and service life are estimated and analysed. An experimental program is performed to characterise the following properties: (i) water capillary absorption; (ii) accelerated carbonation; (iii) migration of chloride ions; (iv) electrical resistivity; and (v) shrinkage. The colour evolution, when exposed to carbonation, is measured through image processing. The obtained results allow the establishment of a correlation between durability and design parameters. Finally, service life considering deterioration due to steel corrosion is estimated, considering the carbonation resistance and the chloride diffusion values. It is concluded that the W/C ratio influences not only most of the characterised parameters, but also the type and content of the pigment. Furthermore, no colour variation due to carbonation is detected. Full article
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Article
Enhancement of Mechanical Properties of Pure Aluminium through Contactless Melt Sonicating Treatment
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164479 - 10 Aug 2021
Abstract
A new contactless ultrasonic sonotrode method was previously designed to provide cavitation conditions inside liquid metal. The oscillation of entrapped gas bubbles followed by their final collapse causes extreme pressure changes leading to de-agglomeration and the dispersion of oxide films. The forced wetting [...] Read more.
A new contactless ultrasonic sonotrode method was previously designed to provide cavitation conditions inside liquid metal. The oscillation of entrapped gas bubbles followed by their final collapse causes extreme pressure changes leading to de-agglomeration and the dispersion of oxide films. The forced wetting of particle surfaces and degassing are other mechanisms that are considered to be involved. Previous publications showed a significant decrease in grain size using this technique. In this paper, the authors extend this research to strength measurements and demonstrate an improvement in cast quality. Degassing effects are also interpreted to illustrate the main mechanisms involved in alloy strengthening. The mean values and Weibull analysis are presented where appropriate to complete the data. The test results on cast Al demonstrated a maximum of 48% grain refinement, a 28% increase in elongation compared to 16% for untreated material and up to 17% increase in ultimate tensile strength (UTS). Under conditions promoting degassing, the hydrogen content was reduced by 0.1 cm3/100 g. Full article
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Article
Tunable Planar Hall Effect in (Ga,Mn)(Bi,As) Epitaxial Layers
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4483; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164483 - 10 Aug 2021
Abstract
We have thoroughly investigated the planar Hall effect (PHE) in the epitaxial layers of the quaternary compound (Ga,Mn)(Bi,As). The addition of a small amount of heavy Bi atoms to the prototype dilute ferromagnetic semiconductor (Ga,Mn)As enhances significantly the spin–orbit coupling strength in its [...] Read more.
We have thoroughly investigated the planar Hall effect (PHE) in the epitaxial layers of the quaternary compound (Ga,Mn)(Bi,As). The addition of a small amount of heavy Bi atoms to the prototype dilute ferromagnetic semiconductor (Ga,Mn)As enhances significantly the spin–orbit coupling strength in its valence band, which essentially modifies certain magnetoelectric properties of the material. Our investigations demonstrate that an addition of just 1% Bi atomic fraction, substituting As atoms in the (Ga,Mn)As crystal lattice, causes an increase in the PHE magnitude by a factor of 2.5. Moreover, Bi incorporation into the layers strongly enhances their coercive fields and uniaxial magneto-crystalline anisotropy between the in-plane ⟨110⟩ crystallographic directions in the layers grown under a compressive misfit strain. The displayed two-state behaviour of the PHE resistivity at zero magnetic field, which may be tuned by the control of applied field orientation, could be useful for application in spintronic devices, such as nonvolatile memory elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Electromagnetic Properties of Magnetic Materials)
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Article
Development of 3D Printable Cementitious Composites with the Incorporation of Polypropylene Fibers
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164474 - 10 Aug 2021
Abstract
Similar to conventional cast concrete, printable materials require reinforcement to counteract their low tensile strength. However, as traditional reinforcement strategies are not commonly used in 3D print applications, fiber reinforcement can serve as an alternative. This study aims to assess the influence of [...] Read more.
Similar to conventional cast concrete, printable materials require reinforcement to counteract their low tensile strength. However, as traditional reinforcement strategies are not commonly used in 3D print applications, fiber reinforcement can serve as an alternative. This study aims to assess the influence of different polypropylene fiber lengths (3 and 6 mm, denoted as M3 and M6, respectively) and dosages (0.1 and 0.3% volume fraction) on the workability, pore structure, mechanical and shrinkage behavior of 3D printable cementitious materials. Fresh state observations revealed that the addition of a higher fiber volume decreased the workability of the material, irrespective of the fiber length as a result of the lower water film thickness (WFT). In hardened state, a marginal increase in total porosity could be observed when adding fibers to the mix composition. In addition, the flexural strength was found to increase with the addition of fibers, while no significant difference was observed in compressive strength. The increase in flexural strength was more pronounced in the case of longer-sized M6 fibers. Finally, the total drying shrinkage behavior was evaluated using mold-cast prisms. The addition of M6 fibers showed no beneficial effect in reducing total free shrinkage, while a reduction in total free shrinkage was observed when using M3 fibers. Full article
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Article
Influence of TiO2 Nanoparticles on the Resistance of Cementitious Composite Materials to the Action of Fungal Species
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4442; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164442 - 08 Aug 2021
Abstract
The development of mold films on the cement surfaces of buildings is a health and safety problem for the population, aesthetic but also in terms of their durability. The use of specific performance of cementitious composites containing TiO2 nanoparticles, photoactivated by UV [...] Read more.
The development of mold films on the cement surfaces of buildings is a health and safety problem for the population, aesthetic but also in terms of their durability. The use of specific performance of cementitious composites containing TiO2 nanoparticles, photoactivated by UV radiation, can be a viable solution to mitigate to eliminate these problems. The experimental studies presented aim to analyze the capacity to inhibit the development of mold type Aspergillus and Penicillium on the surface of composite materials with nano-TiO2 content and the identification of the optimal range of nanomaterial addition. The identification and analysis of the inhibition halo (zone with a biological load of maximum 1–10 colonies of microorganisms) confirmed the biocidal capacity of the cementitious composites, but also indicated the possibility that an excess of TiO2 nanoparticles in the mixture could induce a development of cell resistance, which would be unfavorable both in terms of behavior and in terms of cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology for Cement Composite Materials)
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Article
Meta-Analysis and Machine Learning Models to Optimize the Efficiency of Self-Healing Capacity of Cementitious Material
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4437; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164437 - 08 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Concrete and cement-based materials inherently possess an autogenous self-healing capacity. Despite the huge amount of literature on the topic, self-healing concepts still fail to consistently enter design strategies able to effectively quantify their benefits on structural performance. This study aims to develop quantitative [...] Read more.
Concrete and cement-based materials inherently possess an autogenous self-healing capacity. Despite the huge amount of literature on the topic, self-healing concepts still fail to consistently enter design strategies able to effectively quantify their benefits on structural performance. This study aims to develop quantitative relationships through statistical models and artificial neural network (ANN) by establishing a correlation between the mix proportions, exposure type and time, and width of the initial crack against suitably defined self-healing indices (SHI), quantifying the recovery of material performance. Furthermore, it is intended to pave the way towards consistent incorporation of self-healing concepts into durability-based design approaches for reinforced concrete structures, aimed at quantifying, with reliable confidence, the benefits in terms of slower degradation of the structural performance and extension of the service lifespan. It has been observed that the exposure type, crack width and presence of healing stimulators such as crystalline admixtures has the most significant effect on enhancing SHI and hence self-healing efficiency. However, other parameters, such as the amount of fibers and Supplementary Cementitious Materials have less impact on the autogenous self-healing. The study proposes, through suitably built design charts and ANN analysis, a straightforward input–output model to quickly predict and evaluate, and hence “design”, the self-healing efficiency of cement-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence for Cementitious Materials)
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Article
Influences of Air-Voids on the Performance of 3D Printing Cementitious Materials
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4438; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164438 - 08 Aug 2021
Abstract
This paper focuses on inspecting the influences of anti-foaming agent (AFA) on the performance of 3D printing cementitious materials (3DPC). The mini-slump, spreading diameter, yield stress, and strength of 3DPC were evaluated. Additionally, the air-void content, air-void morphology, and air-void size distribution of [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on inspecting the influences of anti-foaming agent (AFA) on the performance of 3D printing cementitious materials (3DPC). The mini-slump, spreading diameter, yield stress, and strength of 3DPC were evaluated. Additionally, the air-void content, air-void morphology, and air-void size distribution of mortar with and without 0.05% AFA were assessed through image analysis. The mechanical performance and air-void structure of 3D printed samples were also investigated and compared to that of conventionally mould cast samples. Test results show that an optimal AFA content enables 3DPC to achieve favorable workability and mechanical performance. The addition of AFA exhibits lower air-void content in 3DPC than that of the sample without the AFA addition. This reduction in air-void content is further strengthened by the results of strength analysis. Electron microscope analysis shows that the use of AFA results in the suppressed formation of large air-voids during the process of fresh 3DPC. Moreover, the air-void morphology substantially influenced the mechanical performance of hardened 3DPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Scale Structural Characterization of Cement-Based Composites)
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Article
The Development of Controlled Orientation of Fibres in SFRC
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4432; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164432 - 07 Aug 2021
Abstract
The article is focused on finding the possibility of the controlled orientation of fibres in fibre reinforced concrete constructions. This is because the controlled orientation of the fibres can contribute to the improvement of some properties of fibre reinforced concrete. The research is [...] Read more.
The article is focused on finding the possibility of the controlled orientation of fibres in fibre reinforced concrete constructions. This is because the controlled orientation of the fibres can contribute to the improvement of some properties of fibre reinforced concrete. The research is based on the experimental investigation of orientation control–rotation of fibres in a transparent matrix representing concrete replacement. From the conceptual model, the article continues with experimentation, data analysis and comparison of conclusions. During the experiment, a mechanical tool was developed and monitored to guide the fibres. The main monitored parameters of the levelling tool were the tips dimensions and the distance between them. The experiment results show the possibility of achieving a higher orientation of the fibres around one axis and suitable parameters of a mechanical tool. Full article
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Article
Strain Concentration Ratio Analysis of Different Waterproofing Materials during Concrete Crack Movement
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4429; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164429 - 07 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
When a crack occurs under an installed waterproofing material and moves due to environmental effects (freeze–thaw, settlement, vibration, dead load, etc.), waterproofing materials without adequate elongation or tensile strength properties may break and tear. To enable the selection of materials with proper response [...] Read more.
When a crack occurs under an installed waterproofing material and moves due to environmental effects (freeze–thaw, settlement, vibration, dead load, etc.), waterproofing materials without adequate elongation or tensile strength properties may break and tear. To enable the selection of materials with proper response against the strain that occur during crack movement, this study proposes and demonstrates a new evaluation method for determining and comparing strain concentration of waterproofing materials under the effect of concrete crack movement. For the proposed testing method and demonstration, three common types of waterproofing material types were selected for testing, poly-urethane coating (PUC), self-adhesive asphalt sheet (SAS) and composite asphalt sheet (CAS). Respective materials are installed with strain gauges and applied onto a specimen with a separated joint that undergoes concrete crack movement simulation. Each specimen types are subject to repeated movement cycles, whereby strain occurring directly above the moving joint is measured and compared with the strain occurring at the localized sections (comparison ratio which is hereafter referred to as strain concentration ratio). Specimens are tested under four separate movement length conditions, 1.5 mm, 3.0 mm, 4.5 mm and 6.0 mm, and the results are compared accordingly. Experimental results show that materials with strain concentration ratio from highest to lowest are as follows: PUC, SAS and CAS. Full article
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Article
Nonlinear Optical Properties of Porphyrin, Fullerene and Ferrocene Hybrid Materials
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4404; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164404 - 06 Aug 2021
Abstract
In this research, we investigated the second-order nonlinear optical (NLO) properties of multicomponent hybrid materials formed by meso-tetraphenylporphyrin P (both as free base and ZnII complex), carrying in 2 or 2,12 β-pyrrolic position an electron donor ferrocene (Fc), and/or an electron [...] Read more.
In this research, we investigated the second-order nonlinear optical (NLO) properties of multicomponent hybrid materials formed by meso-tetraphenylporphyrin P (both as free base and ZnII complex), carrying in 2 or 2,12 β-pyrrolic position an electron donor ferrocene (Fc), and/or an electron acceptor fullerene (C60) moiety, connected to the porphyrin core via an ethynyl or an ethynylphenyl spacer. We measured the NLO response by the electric-field-induced second-harmonic generation (EFISH) technique in CH2Cl2 solution with a 1907 nm incident wavelength, recording for all the investigated compounds unexpected negative values of μβ1907. Since density functional theory (DFT) calculations evidenced for P-Fc dyads almost null ground state dipole moments and very low values for P-C60 dyads and Fc-P-C60 triads, our EFISH results suggested a significant contribution to γEFISH of the purely electronic cubic term γ(−2ω; ω, ω, 0), which prevails on the quadratic dipolar orientational one μβ(−2ω; ω, ω)/5kT, as confirmed by computational evidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Porphyrins Chemistry in Material Science)
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Article
Evaluation Approach of Fracture Behavior for Asphalt Concrete with Different Aggregate Gradations and Testing Temperatures Using Acoustic Emission Monitoring
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4390; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164390 - 05 Aug 2021
Abstract
Different aggregate gradations of asphalt concrete possess dissimilar skeleton structures, leading to diverse macroscopic and mechanical characteristics. Acoustic emission (AE) technology can realize real-time monitoring of the whole damage evolution process of materials. The objective of the present investigation was to demonstrate the [...] Read more.
Different aggregate gradations of asphalt concrete possess dissimilar skeleton structures, leading to diverse macroscopic and mechanical characteristics. Acoustic emission (AE) technology can realize real-time monitoring of the whole damage evolution process of materials. The objective of the present investigation was to demonstrate the fracture characteristics of asphalt concrete with three types of aggregate gradations, including dense-graded asphalt concrete (AC), stone mastic asphalt (SMA), and open-graded friction course (OGFC) under indirect tensile load on account of the acoustic emission (AE) technique. The Marshall compaction method was used to prepare specimens, and the indirect tensile test (IDT) and AE monitoring were conducted simultaneously at different temperatures. The corresponding AE parameters containing energy, cumulative energy, count, and cumulative count were adopted to characterize the fracture process of asphalt concrete with different aggregate gradations. The impact of temperature on the damage characteristics of asphalt concrete was also assessed. Test results indicated that the AE parameters could effectively classify the damage stages of asphalt concrete, and specimens with different aggregate gradations exhibited different AE characteristics during failure processes. The combination of AE parameters and cumulative AE parameters can accurately characterize the damage characteristics of asphalt concrete. SMA specimens possessed the best overall performance among these three types of asphalt concrete in terms of the variations in energy and cumulative energy at different temperatures. The findings obtained in this study can provide a practical AE-based evaluation approach for demonstrating the fracture mechanism of asphalt concrete with different aggregate gradations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials, Structure, and Modeling for Smart and Resilient Roads)
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Article
Investigation of Graphene Derivatives on Electrical Properties of Alkali Activated Slag Composites
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4374; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164374 - 04 Aug 2021
Abstract
Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) has been widely used to modify the mechanical performance of alkali activated slag composites (AASC); however, the mechanism is still unclear and the electrical properties of rGO reinforced AASC are unknown. Here, the rheological, mechanical, and electrical properties of [...] Read more.
Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) has been widely used to modify the mechanical performance of alkali activated slag composites (AASC); however, the mechanism is still unclear and the electrical properties of rGO reinforced AASC are unknown. Here, the rheological, mechanical, and electrical properties of the AASC containing rGO nanosheets (0, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3% wt.) are investigated. Results showed that rGO nanosheets addition can significantly improve the yield stress, plastic viscosity, thixotropy, and compressive strength of the AASC. The addition of 0.3% wt. rGO nanosheets increased the stress, viscosity, thixotropy, and strength by 186.77 times, 3.68 times, 15.15 times, and 21.02%, respectively. As for electrical properties, the impedance of the AASC increased when the rGO content was less than 0.2% wt. but decreased with the increasing dosage. In contrast, the dielectric constant and electrical conductivity of the AASC containing rGO nanosheets decreased and then increased, which can be attributed to the abundant interlayer water and the increasing structural defects as the storage sites for charge carriers, respectively. In addition, the effect of graphene oxide (GO) on the AASC is also studied and the results indicated that the agglomeration of GO nanosheets largely inhibited the application of it in the AASC, even with a small dosage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Concrete and Construction Materials)
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Article
Silicate Mineral Eutectics with Special Reference to Lithium
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154334 - 03 Aug 2021
Abstract
In this paper, the system of natural mineral alkali fluxes used in typical mineral industry technologies was analyzed. The main objective was to reduce the melting temperature of the flux systems. Particular attention was paid to the properties of lithium aluminium silicates in [...] Read more.
In this paper, the system of natural mineral alkali fluxes used in typical mineral industry technologies was analyzed. The main objective was to reduce the melting temperature of the flux systems. Particular attention was paid to the properties of lithium aluminium silicates in terms of simplifying and accelerating the heat treatment process. In this area, an alkaline flux system involving lithium was analyzed. A basic flux system based on sodium potassium lithium aluminosilicates was analyzed; using naturally occurring raw materials such as spodumene, albite and orthoclase, an attempt was made to obtain the eutectic with the lowest melting point. Studies have shown that there are two eutectics in these systems, with about 30% spodumene content. The active influence of sodium feldspar was found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Minerals as Smart Materials for Advanced Technologies)
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Article
Classifying Charge Carrier Interaction in Highly Compressed Elements and Silane
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4322; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154322 - 02 Aug 2021
Abstract
Since the pivotal experimental discovery of near-room-temperature superconductivity (NRTS) in highly compressed sulphur hydride by Drozdov et al. (Nature 2015, 525, 73–76), more than a dozen binary and ternary hydrogen-rich phases exhibiting superconducting transitions above 100 K have been discovered [...] Read more.
Since the pivotal experimental discovery of near-room-temperature superconductivity (NRTS) in highly compressed sulphur hydride by Drozdov et al. (Nature 2015, 525, 73–76), more than a dozen binary and ternary hydrogen-rich phases exhibiting superconducting transitions above 100 K have been discovered to date. There is a widely accepted theoretical point of view that the primary mechanism governing the emergence of superconductivity in hydrogen-rich phases is the electron–phonon pairing. However, the recent analysis of experimental temperature-dependent resistance, R(T), in H3S, LaHx, PrH9 and BaH12 (Talantsev, Supercond. Sci. Technol. 2021, 34, accepted) showed that these compounds exhibit the dominance of non-electron–phonon charge carrier interactions and, thus, it is unlikely that the electron–phonon pairing is the primary mechanism for the emergence of superconductivity in these materials. Here, we use the same approach to reveal the charge carrier interaction in highly compressed lithium, black phosphorous, sulfur, and silane. We found that all these superconductors exhibit the dominance of non-electron–phonon charge carrier interaction. This explains the failure to demonstrate the high-Tc values that are predicted for these materials by first-principles calculations which utilize the electron–phonon pairing as the mechanism for the emergence of their superconductivity. Our result implies that alternative pairing mechanisms (primarily the electron–electron retraction) should be tested within the first-principles calculations approach as possible mechanisms for the emergence of superconductivity in highly compressed lithium, black phosphorous, sulfur, and silane. Full article
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Article
Moisture Distribution during Water Absorption of Ordinary Portland Cement Mortars Obtained with Low-Field Unilateral Magnetic Resonance
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154279 - 31 Jul 2021
Abstract
Moisture distribution in cement-based materials is important from the durability point of view. In the present study, a portable three-magnet array with an elliptical surface radio frequency coil was used to undertake magnetic resonance measurements of moisture content in ordinary Portland cement mortar [...] Read more.
Moisture distribution in cement-based materials is important from the durability point of view. In the present study, a portable three-magnet array with an elliptical surface radio frequency coil was used to undertake magnetic resonance measurements of moisture content in ordinary Portland cement mortar and concrete samples. Measurements along the length of the samples during capillary water absorption produced moisture content profiles that were compared with reference profiles acquired using a magnetic resonance imaging instrument. Profiles obtained with the three-magnet array were similar in shape and in penetration depth to those acquired with magnetic resonance imaging. The correlation coefficient between the moisture content measured with both techniques was r2 = 0.97. Similar values of saturated permeability of the mortars with identical w/c ratio were computed with the Hydrus 1D software based on the moisture content profiles. Additionally, inverse Laplace transformation of the signal decays provided the water-filled pore size distribution in saturated and unsaturated regions of the samples. The three-magnet array was successfully used to acquire nuclear magnetic resonance signal from a concrete sample, which was not possible with the magnetic resonance imaging instrument using the single-point imaging technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Non-destructive Testing in Civil Engineering Materials)
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Article
Design Development and Analysis of a Partially Superconducting Axial Flux Motor Using YBCO Bulks
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4295; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154295 - 31 Jul 2021
Abstract
In this work, authors have designed, constructed and tested a new kind of partially superconducting axial flux machine. This model is based on the magnetic flux concentration principle. The magnetic field creation part consists of the NbTi superconducting solenoid and two YBaCuO plates. [...] Read more.
In this work, authors have designed, constructed and tested a new kind of partially superconducting axial flux machine. This model is based on the magnetic flux concentration principle. The magnetic field creation part consists of the NbTi superconducting solenoid and two YBaCuO plates. A theoretical study is conducted of an extrapolated superconducting inductor for low-temperature superconducting and high-temperature superconducting solenoids. The optimization of the inductor is carried out in order to increase the torque and the power density as well. This improvement is done by changing the shape of the elements which form the superconducting inductor. Finally, a prototype is realized, and tested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Superconducting Materials for Applications)
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Article
Developments towards a Multiscale Meshless Rolling Simulation System
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4277; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154277 - 30 Jul 2021
Abstract
The purpose of the present paper is to predict the grain size of steel during the hot-rolling process. The basis represents a macroscopic simulation system that can cope with temperatures, stresses and strains of steel in a complete continuous rolling mill, including reversible [...] Read more.
The purpose of the present paper is to predict the grain size of steel during the hot-rolling process. The basis represents a macroscopic simulation system that can cope with temperatures, stresses and strains of steel in a complete continuous rolling mill, including reversible pre-rolling and finishing rolling with several tenths of rolling passes. The grain size models, newly introduced in the present paper, are one-way coupled to the macro-scale calculations performed with the slice model assumption. Macroscale solution is based on a novel radial basis function collocation method. This numerical method is truly meshless by involving the space discretization in arbitrarily distributed nodes without meshing. A new efficient node generation algorithm is implemented in the present paper and demonstrated for irregular domains of the slice as they appear in different rolling passes. Multiple grain size prediction models are considered. Grain size prediction models are based on empirical relations. Austenite grain size at each rolling pass as well as the ferrite grain size at the end of rolling are predicted in this simulation. It is also shown that based on the rolling schedule, it is highly likely that recrystallization takes place at each pass throughout a continuous rolling mill. The simulation system is coded as a user-friendly computer application for industrial use based on programming language C# and an open source developer platform NET and runs on regular personal computers the computational time for a typical rolling simulation is usually less than one hour and can thus be straightforwardly used to optimize the rolling mill design in a reasonable time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hot Deformation and Microstructure Evolution of Metallic Materials)
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Article
Limits of Applicability of the Composite Fermion Model
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4267; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154267 - 30 Jul 2021
Abstract
The popular model of composite fermions, proposed in order to rationalize FQHE, were insufficient in view of recent experimental observations in graphene monolayer and bilayer, in higher Landau levels in GaAs and in so-called enigmatic FQHE states in the lowest Landau level of [...] Read more.
The popular model of composite fermions, proposed in order to rationalize FQHE, were insufficient in view of recent experimental observations in graphene monolayer and bilayer, in higher Landau levels in GaAs and in so-called enigmatic FQHE states in the lowest Landau level of GaAs. The specific FQHE hierarchy in double Hall systems of GaAs 2DES and graphene also cannot be explained in the framework of composite fermions. We identify the limits of the usability of the composite fermion model by means of topological methods, which elucidate the phenomenological assumptions in composite fermion structure and admit further development of FQHE understanding. We demonstrate how to generalize these ideas in order to explain experimentally observed FQHE phenomena, going beyond the explanation ability of the conventional composite fermion model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Topological Approaches to 2D Multielectron Correlated States)
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Article
First Screen-Printed Sensor (Electrochemically Activated Screen-Printed Boron-Doped Diamond Electrode) for Quantitative Determination of Rifampicin by Adsorptive Stripping Voltammetry
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154231 - 29 Jul 2021
Abstract
In this paper, a screen-printed boron-doped electrode (aSPBDDE) was subjected to electrochemical activation by cyclic voltammetry (CV) in 0.1 M NaOH and the response to rifampicin (RIF) oxidation was used as a testing probe. Changes in surface morphology and electrochemical behaviour of RIF [...] Read more.
In this paper, a screen-printed boron-doped electrode (aSPBDDE) was subjected to electrochemical activation by cyclic voltammetry (CV) in 0.1 M NaOH and the response to rifampicin (RIF) oxidation was used as a testing probe. Changes in surface morphology and electrochemical behaviour of RIF before and after the electrochemical activation of SPBDDE were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), CV and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The increase in number and size of pores in the modifier layer and reduction of charge transfer residence were likely responsible for electrochemical improvement of the analytical signal from RIF at the SPBDDE. Quantitative analysis of RIF by using differential pulse adsorptive stripping voltammetry in 0.1 mol L−1 solution of PBS of pH 3.0 ± 0.1 at the aSPBDDE was carried out. Using optimized conditions (Eacc of −0.45 V, tacc of 120 s, ΔEA of 150 mV, ν of 100 mV s−1 and tm of 5 ms), the RIF peak current increased linearly with the concentration in the four ranges: 0.002–0.02, 0.02–0.2, 0.2–2.0, and 2.0–20.0 nM. The limits of detection and quantification were calculated at 0.22 and 0.73 pM. The aSPBDDE showed satisfactory repeatability, reproducibility, and selectivity towards potential interferences. The applicability of the aSPBDDE for control analysis of RIF was demonstrated using river water samples and certified reference material of bovine urine. Full article
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Article
Size-Dependent Solute Segregation at Symmetric Tilt Grain Boundaries in α-Fe: A Quasiparticle Approach Study
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154197 - 27 Jul 2021
Abstract
In the present work, atomistic modeling based on the quasiparticle approach (QA) was performed to establish general trends in the segregation of solutes with different atomic size at symmetric ⟨100⟩ tilt grain boundaries (GBs) in α-Fe. Three types of solute atoms X [...] Read more.
In the present work, atomistic modeling based on the quasiparticle approach (QA) was performed to establish general trends in the segregation of solutes with different atomic size at symmetric ⟨100⟩ tilt grain boundaries (GBs) in α-Fe. Three types of solute atoms X1, X2 and X3 were considered, with atomic radii smaller (X1), similar (X2) and larger (X3) than iron atoms, respectively, corresponding to phosphorus (P), antimony (Sb) and tin (Sn). With this, we were able to evidence that segregation is dominated by atomic size and local hydrostatic stress. For low angle GBs, where the elastic field is produced by dislocation walls, X1 atoms segregate preferentially at the limit between compressed and dilated areas. Contrariwise, the positions of X2 atoms at GBs reflect the presence of tensile and compressive areal regions, corresponding to extremum values of the σXX and σYY components of the strain tensor. Regarding high angle GBs Σ5 (310) (θ = 36.95°) and Σ29 (730), it was found that all three types of solute atoms form Fe9X clusters within B structural units (SUs), albeit being deformed in the case of larger atoms (X2 and X3). In the specific case of Σ29 (730) where the GB structure can be described by a sequence of |BC.BC| SUs, it was also envisioned that the C SU can absorb up to four X1 atoms vs. one X2 or X3 atom only. Moreover, a depleted zone was observed in the vicinity of high angle GBs for X2 or X3 atoms. The significance of this research is the development of a QA methodology capable of ascertaining the atomic position of solute atoms for a wide range of GBs, as a mean to highlight the impact of the solute atoms’ size on their locations at and near GBs. Full article
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Article
The Influence of Mixing Conditions on the Macro-Scale Homogeneity of Asphalt Mixtures Blended with Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP)
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4137; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154137 - 25 Jul 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
The homogeneity of asphalt mixtures blended with reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is affected by many factors. Due to the complicated compositions of recycled asphalt mixtures, the inhomogeneity issue might cause insufficient mechanical properties of asphalt mixtures, even though a design method was appropriately [...] Read more.
The homogeneity of asphalt mixtures blended with reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is affected by many factors. Due to the complicated compositions of recycled asphalt mixtures, the inhomogeneity issue might cause insufficient mechanical properties of asphalt mixtures, even though a design method was appropriately adopted. Therefore, it is of great significance to study the influence of mixing conditions on the homogeneity of asphalt mixtures blended with RAP materials. This study focused on the macro-scale homogeneity of produced asphalt mixtures. Specifically, asphalt mixtures incorporated with 40% RAP content were produced in a laboratory using different mixing times and mixing temperatures. A multi-direction indirect tensile stiffness modulus (ITSM) test was proposed to quantify the homogeneity of produced samples. In addition, the digital image processing (DIP) method was used to identify the distribution of aggregates and RAP binder. The results indicated that the influence of mixing time on the macro-homogeneity of asphalt mixtures indicated that a longer mixing time was favorable for the material dispersion. The influence of mixing temperature mainly rested on two perspectives. One was that the temperature variation induced the change of binder viscosity. The other was that the temperature influences the diffusion process between RAP binder and new bitumen, which further affected the mechanical performance of produced asphalt mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials, Structure, and Modeling for Smart and Resilient Roads)
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Article
Rice Husk Research: From Environmental Pollutant to a Promising Source of Organo-Mineral Raw Materials
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154119 - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Rice husk is a large-tonnage waste left from rice production. It is not subject to humification and therefore becomes a serious environmental pollutant. Due to the presence of two essential elements—carbon and silicon—in its composition, rice husk is a promising organo-mineral raw material. [...] Read more.
Rice husk is a large-tonnage waste left from rice production. It is not subject to humification and therefore becomes a serious environmental pollutant. Due to the presence of two essential elements—carbon and silicon—in its composition, rice husk is a promising organo-mineral raw material. The known methods for processing of rice husk are associated with the formation of even more aggressive waste. The creation of a waste-free technology for processing this plant material requires a detailed study. Rice husk of Kyzylorda oblast was studied using IR, SEM, TA, TPD-MS, EPR, and TEM methods. It was determined that under a temperature up to 500 °C, the ligno-carbohydrate component of rice husk decomposes almost completely. Three main peaks are recorded during the decomposition: hemicellulose at 200 °C, cellulose at 265 °C, and lignin at 350–360 °C. This process is endothermic. However, above of 300 °C the exothermic reactions associated with the formation of new substances and condensation processes in the solid residue begin to prevail. This explains the increase in the concentration of paramagnetic centers (PMCs) in products of rice husk carbonization in the range of up to 450 °C. Further increase in temperature leads to a decrease in the number of PMCs as a result of carbon graphite-like structures formation. The silicon–carbon product of rice husk carbonization (nanocomposite) is formed by interconnected nanoscale particles of carbon and silicon dioxide, the modification of which depends on the temperature of carbonization. The obtained data allow management of the rice husk utilization process while manufacturing products in demand based on ecofriendly technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hybrid Materials for Environmental Application)
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Article
Influence of Rapid Heat Treatment on the Shrinkage and Strength of High-Performance Concrete
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154102 - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Resource-efficient precast concrete elements can be produced using high-performance concrete (HPC). A heat treatment accelerates hardening and thus enables early stripping. To minimise damages to the concrete structure, treatment time and temperature are regulated. This leads to temperature treatment times of more than [...] Read more.
Resource-efficient precast concrete elements can be produced using high-performance concrete (HPC). A heat treatment accelerates hardening and thus enables early stripping. To minimise damages to the concrete structure, treatment time and temperature are regulated. This leads to temperature treatment times of more than 24 h, what seems too long for quick serial production (flow production) of HPC. To overcome this shortcoming and to accelerate production speed, the heat treatment is started here immediately after concreting. This in turn influences the shrinkage behaviour and the concrete strength. Therefore, shrinkage is investigated on prisms made from HPC with and without steel fibres, as well as on short beams with reinforcement ratios of 1.8% and 3.1%. Furthermore, the flexural and compressive strengths of the prisms are measured directly after heating and later on after 28 d. The specimens are heat-treated between 1 and 24 h at 80 °C and a relative humidity of 60%. Specimens without heating serve for reference. The results show that the shrinkage strain is pronouncedly reduced with increasing temperature duration and rebar ratio. Moreover, the compressive and flexural strength decrease with decreasing temperature duration, whereby the loss of strength can be compensated by adding steel fibres. Full article
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Article
1T-MoS2 Coordinated Bimetal Atoms as Active Centers to Facilitate Hydrogen Generation
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4073; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154073 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Anchoring single metal atoms has been demonstrated as an effective strategy to boost the catalytic performance of non-noble metal 1T-MoS2 towards hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). However, the dual active sites on 1T-MoS2 still remain a great challenge. Here, first-principles calculations were [...] Read more.
Anchoring single metal atoms has been demonstrated as an effective strategy to boost the catalytic performance of non-noble metal 1T-MoS2 towards hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). However, the dual active sites on 1T-MoS2 still remain a great challenge. Here, first-principles calculations were performed to systematically investigate the electrocatalytic HER activity of single and dual transition metal (TM) atoms bound to the 1T-MoS2 monolayer ([email protected]2). The resulted [email protected]2 exhibits excellent structural stability, near-thermoneutral adsorption of H* and ultralow reaction barrier (0.15 eV). It is a promising single metal atom catalyst for HER, outperformed the reported Co, Ni and Pd anchoring species. Surprisingly, by further introducing Pd atoms coordinated with S atoms or S vacancies on the [email protected]2 surface, the resulted catalyst not only maintains the high HER activity of Ti sites, but also achieves new dual active moiety due to the appropriate H* adsorption free energy on Pd sites. This work is of great significance for realizing dual active centers on 1T-MoS2 nanosheets and offers new thought for developing high-performance electrocatalysts for HER. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Two-Dimensional Semiconductor Materials)
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Article
Behaviors of Electromagnetic Wave Propagation in Double-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4069; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14154069 - 21 Jul 2021
Abstract
In this study, behaviors of electromagnetic wave propagation in a double-walled carbon nanotube (DWCNT) are investigated theoretically. For this purpose, the effects of carbon nanotube’s inner and outer tubes’ material property parameters (μ, ε) on electromagnetic wave propagation are discussed. [...] Read more.
In this study, behaviors of electromagnetic wave propagation in a double-walled carbon nanotube (DWCNT) are investigated theoretically. For this purpose, the effects of carbon nanotube’s inner and outer tubes’ material property parameters (μ, ε) on electromagnetic wave propagation are discussed. The effects of interaction between the carbon nanotube’s inner and outer tubes on the electromagnetic wave propagation are defined. Nonlocal effects of the DWCNT on electromagnetic wave propagation are examined. Besides, the electromagnetic wave propagation frequencies are specifically investigated, taking the DWCNT’s nonlocal effects and material property parameters (ε, µ) into account. When the wavenumber, k, is greater than 1.8 × 1010, the frequencies of the fundamental mode and the second mode converge to 3.554 × 108 Hz. Additionally, the electromagnetic wave propagation frequencies decrease with the increase of the DWCNT’s nonlocal parameter (ν) and decrease with material parameter (D). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Electromagnetic Properties of Magnetic Materials)
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Article
Sensitivity of Ultrasonic Coda Wave Interferometry to Material Damage—Observations from a Virtual Concrete Lab
Materials 2021, 14(14), 4033; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14144033 - 19 Jul 2021
Abstract
Ultrasonic measurements are used in civil engineering for structural health monitoring of concrete infrastructures. The late portion of the ultrasonic wavefield, the coda, is sensitive to small changes in the elastic moduli of the material. Coda Wave Interferometry (CWI) correlates these small changes [...] Read more.
Ultrasonic measurements are used in civil engineering for structural health monitoring of concrete infrastructures. The late portion of the ultrasonic wavefield, the coda, is sensitive to small changes in the elastic moduli of the material. Coda Wave Interferometry (CWI) correlates these small changes in the coda with the wavefield recorded in intact, or unperturbed, concrete specimen to reveal the amount of velocity change that occurred. CWI has the potential to detect localized damages and global velocity reductions alike. In this study, the sensitivity of CWI to different types of concrete mesostructures and their damage levels is investigated numerically. Realistic numerical concrete models of concrete specimen are generated, and damage evolution is simulated using the discrete element method. In the virtual concrete lab, the simulated ultrasonic wavefield is propagated from one transducer using a realistic source signal and recorded at a second transducer. Different damage scenarios reveal a different slope in the decorrelation of waveforms with the observed reduction in velocities in the material. Finally, the impact and possible generalizations of the findings are discussed, and recommendations are given for a potential application of CWI in concrete at structural scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Concrete Structures Monitored by Ultrasound)
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Article
Carbon Adsorbents from Spent Coffee for Removal of Methylene Blue and Methyl Orange from Water
Materials 2021, 14(14), 3996; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14143996 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Activated carbons (ACs) were prepared from dried spent coffee (SCD), a biological waste product, to produce adsorbents for methylene blue (MB) and methyl orange (MO) from aqueous solution. Pre-pyrolysis activation of SCD was achieved via treatment of the SCD with aqueous sodium hydroxide [...] Read more.
Activated carbons (ACs) were prepared from dried spent coffee (SCD), a biological waste product, to produce adsorbents for methylene blue (MB) and methyl orange (MO) from aqueous solution. Pre-pyrolysis activation of SCD was achieved via treatment of the SCD with aqueous sodium hydroxide solutions at 90 °C. Pyrolysis of the pretreated SCD at 500 °C for 1 h produced powders with typical characteristics of AC suitable and effective for dye adsorption. As an alternative to the rather harsh base treatment, calcium carbonate powder, a very common and abundant resource, was also studied as an activator. Mixtures of SCD and CaCO3 (1:1 w/w) yielded effective ACs for MO and MB removal upon pyrolysis needing only small amounts of AC to clear the solutions. A selectivity of the adsorption process toward anionic (MO) or cationic (MB) dyes was not observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials Chemistry)
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