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Special Issue "Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Construction and Building Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. ir. E.A.B. Koenders

TU Darmstadt, Institut für Werkstoffe im Bauwesen, Institute of Construction and Building Materials, Darmstadt, Germany
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability has become the most important challenge for the building and construction industry, not just for the present, but also for the decades to come. Scientifically-based solutions should drive technological innovations that enable compliance with the still-growing environmental constraints. Research in this particular field of interest is advanced from the physical, chemical, biological, lifecycle assessment, engineering, and materials science perspective, often leading to synergistic approaches. Research on alternative binders, sustainable building materials, energy storage technologies, phase change materials, functional nanocomposites, recycling, reuse of industrial wastes and by-products, use of natural biomaterials, self-healing materials, CO2 and energy reductions, etc. are topics that define the cornerstones of this particular field of interest.

This first Special Issue of this new section is considered to reflect the current state-of-the-art and new developments on the relevant topics that characterize the research field of “Sustainability in Construction”. A wide range of research results on various topics that are contributing to an enhancement of the environmental footprint is expected. Collected topics, from an interdisciplinary, multiscale, synergistic, holistic, etc. viewpoint, are aimed at providing a resourceful background for readers, addressing the current state of research and innovation on sustainability in construction.

Within the scope of this Special Issue, emphasis will be given on fundamental, experimental, numerical, validation, and application research, inducing proven results on state-of-the-art solutions for sustainable construction. Various single-focused approaches or multidisciplinary combinations are also expected to add to the topic in general.

With this collection, it is our ambition to stimulate and circulate the latest knowledge on Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials. It will be a basis for new ideas on the various topics for young investigators as well as leading experts in the field.

Prof. Eddie Koenders
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Green building materials
  • Ecofriendly solutions
  • Durability and aging materials
  • Service life prediction
  • Recycling and reusability
  • Structural health assessment
  • Lifecycle assessment
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy storage
  • Natural fibers
  • Nano- and fiber composites
  • Natural materials
  • CO2 reduction
  • Ceramics
  • limes
  • clays
  • bricks
  • Organic and inorganic types of building materials
  • Sustainable polymers
  • Phase change materials

Published Papers (24 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Facile Approach to Develop Hierarchical Roughness [email protected]2 Blocks for Superhydrophobic Paper
Materials 2019, 12(9), 1393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12091393
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 29 April 2019
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Abstract
Papers with nanoscaled surface roughness and hydrophobically modification have been widely used in daily life. However, the relatively complex preparation process, high costs and harmful compounds have largely limited their applications. This research aims to fabricate superhydrophobic papers with low cost and nontoxic [...] Read more.
Papers with nanoscaled surface roughness and hydrophobically modification have been widely used in daily life. However, the relatively complex preparation process, high costs and harmful compounds have largely limited their applications. This research aims to fabricate superhydrophobic papers with low cost and nontoxic materials. The surface of cellulose fibers was initially coated with a film of SiO2 nanoparticles via sol-gel process. After papermaking and subsequent modification with hexadecyltrimethoxysilane through a simple solution-immersion process, the paper showed excellent superhydrophobic properties, with water contact angles (WCA) larger than 150°. Moreover, the prepared paper also showed superior mechanical durability against 10 times of deformation. The whole preparation process was carried out in a mild environment, with no intricate instruments or toxic chemicals, which has the potential of large-scale industrial production and application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Microbiological Growth Components for Bacteria-Based Self-Healing on the Properties of Cement Mortar
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1303; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12081303
Received: 9 March 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
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Abstract
Previous studies of bacteria-based self-healing concrete have shown that it is necessary to encapsulate and separate the self-healing ingredients (bacteria, nutrients, and precursors) in the concrete so that when a crack forms, capsules rupture, which allows the self-healing ingredients to come together and [...] Read more.
Previous studies of bacteria-based self-healing concrete have shown that it is necessary to encapsulate and separate the self-healing ingredients (bacteria, nutrients, and precursors) in the concrete so that when a crack forms, capsules rupture, which allows the self-healing ingredients to come together and precipitate calcite into the crack. Because of the shearing action in the concrete mixer, there is a chance that these capsules, or other carriers, may rupture and release the self-healing ingredients. This would affect the efficiency of self-healing, but may detrimentally affect the concrete’s properties. This work investigated the effects of multi-component growth media, containing germination and sporulation aids for the bacterial aerobic oxidation pathway, on the basic properties of fresh and hardened concrete instead of the potential self-healing efficiency in a structural service. Tests were carried out to measure the effects of growth media on air content, fluidity, capillary absorption, strength development of cement mortar following corresponding standards, hydration kinetics, setting properties, and the microstructure of cement paste, according to certain specifications or using specific machines. The research has demonstrated that a multi-constituent growth media will not have a significant effect on the properties of concrete in the proportions likely to be released during mixing. This important conclusion will allow further development of these novel materials by removing one of the key technical barriers to increased adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Value-Added Application of Waste Rubber and Waste Plastic in Asphalt Binder as a Multifunctional Additive
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1280; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12081280
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 13 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract
The feasibility and effectivity of recycling waste rubber and waste plastic (WRP) into asphalt binder as a waste treatment approach has been documented. However, directly blending WRP with asphalt binder brings secondary environmental pollution. Recent research has shown that the addition of WRP [...] Read more.
The feasibility and effectivity of recycling waste rubber and waste plastic (WRP) into asphalt binder as a waste treatment approach has been documented. However, directly blending WRP with asphalt binder brings secondary environmental pollution. Recent research has shown that the addition of WRP into asphalt binder may potentially improve the workability of asphalt binder without significantly compromising its mechanical properties. This study evaluates the feasibility of using the additives derived from WRP as a multifunctional additive which improves both the workability and mechanical properties of asphalt binder. For this purpose, WRP-derived additives were prepared in laboratory. Then, three empirical characteristics—viscosity, rutting factor, fatigue life were analyzed. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were employed to evaluate the effect of WRP-derived additive on the workability and chemical and mechanical properties of base binder. The dispersity of WRP-derived additive inside asphalt binder was also characterized using fluorescence microscope (FM). Results from this study showed that adding WRP-derived additive increases the workability of base binder. The WRP-derived additive appears positive on the high- and low- temperature performance as well as the fatigue life of base binder. The distribution of the WRP-derived additive inside base binder was uniform. In addition, the modification mechanism of WRP-derived additive was also proposed in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Solid Waste-Petroleum Coke Residue on the Hydration Reaction and Property of Concrete
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12081216
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
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Abstract
Taking advantage of the desulfurization petroleum coke residue obtained from circulating fluidized bed boiler technology to replace a part of cement clinker and prepare the concrete can not only reduce the production of cement clinker and related CO2 emissions, but can also [...] Read more.
Taking advantage of the desulfurization petroleum coke residue obtained from circulating fluidized bed boiler technology to replace a part of cement clinker and prepare the concrete can not only reduce the production of cement clinker and related CO2 emissions, but can also improve the utilization rate and utilization level of petroleum coke waste, which has good environmental and economic benefits. In this study, through the comprehensive analysis of a compressive strength test, X-ray diffraction test, and Cl penetration resistance test, the hydration mechanism of desulfurized petroleum coke residue in concrete is revealed, and the optimum replacement ratios of single-added petroleum coke residue, multi-added petroleum coke residue, and mineral admixtures in concrete are evaluated and proposed. The results showed that mixing the 10% petroleum coke residue and 40% blast furnace slag would be most appropriate to replace the cement in concrete, thus the effective utilization of mineral admixtures and coke residue in concrete without strength loss could be realized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Evaluation of Asphalt Rubber Mixture with Additives
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12081200
Received: 5 February 2019 / Revised: 9 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
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Abstract
Crumb rubber, as a recycled material used in asphalt mixture, has gained more attention in recent years due to environmental benefits and the advantages of its pavement, such as excellent resistance to cracking, improved durability, less road maintenance, lower road noise, etc. However, [...] Read more.
Crumb rubber, as a recycled material used in asphalt mixture, has gained more attention in recent years due to environmental benefits and the advantages of its pavement, such as excellent resistance to cracking, improved durability, less road maintenance, lower road noise, etc. However, the high-temperature performance of mixture with crumb rubber does not perform well. In order to improve the performance, this paper examined the effect of additives on the laboratory performance of asphalt rubber Stone Matrix Asphalt (AR-SMA) with additives. Three groups of AR-SMA: no additives, Styrene–Butadiene–Styrene (SBS) and Granular Polymer Durable additive (GPDa) were included, with no additives as a control group. Each group was investigated at three asphalt rubber content (ARC): 6.4%, 6.9%, 7.4% with regard to high-temperature and fatigue properties. The results show that with increasing ARC, the high-temperature performance of mixture without additive decreases, and the high-temperature performance increases first and then decreases for SBS and GPDa. Moreover, the rutting resistance of AR-SMA with GPDa at 6.9% ARC performs best. Under the condition of mixtures with appropriate ARC, AR-SMA with GPDa has higher fatigue life and sensitivity to fatigue cracking than the control group. Simultaneously, the fatigue performance of AR-SMA with GPDa is not as significant as that without additive with increasing ARC. In a word, GPDa is a good choice to improve the performance of AR-SMA. However, it should be noted that optimal asphalt content of AR-SMA mixtures with GPDa is higher than that of traditional mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Hemp-Straw Composites: Gluing Study and Multi-Physical Characterizations
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12081199
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 7 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
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Abstract
In order to meet the requirement of sustainable development, building materials are increasingly environmentally friendly. They can be partially or fully bio-based or recycled. This paper looks at the development of fully bio-based composites where agro-resources are valued as bio-based aggregates (hemp) and [...] Read more.
In order to meet the requirement of sustainable development, building materials are increasingly environmentally friendly. They can be partially or fully bio-based or recycled. This paper looks at the development of fully bio-based composites where agro-resources are valued as bio-based aggregates (hemp) and as binding materials (wheat). In a previous work, a feasibility study simultaneously investigated the processing and ratio of wheat straw required to ensure a gluing effect. In this paper, three kinds of hemp-straw composites are selected and compared with a hemp-polysaccharides composite. The gluing effect is analyzed chemically and via SEM. The developed composites were characterized multi-physically. They showed sufficiently high mechanical properties to be used as insulating materials. Furthermore, they showed good thermal performances with a low thermal conductivity (67.9–69.0 mW/(m · K) at 23 ° C, dry). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Research on Internal Force Detection Method of Steel Bar in Elastic and Yielding Stage Based on Metal Magnetic Memory
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071167
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 6 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
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Abstract
Based on the metal magnetic memory effect, this paper proposed a new non-destructive testing method for the internal tensile force detection of steel bars by analyzing the self-magnetic flux leakage (SMFL) signals. The variation of the SMFL signal of the steel bar with [...] Read more.
Based on the metal magnetic memory effect, this paper proposed a new non-destructive testing method for the internal tensile force detection of steel bars by analyzing the self-magnetic flux leakage (SMFL) signals. The variation of the SMFL signal of the steel bar with the tensile force indicates that the curve of the SMFL signal has a significant extreme point when the tensile force reaches about 65% of the yield tension, of which the first derivative curve has extreme points in the elastic and yielding stages, respectively. To study the variation of SMFL signal with the axial position of the steel bar under different tensile forces, a parameter reflecting the fluctuation of the SMFL signal along the steel bar is proposed. The linear relationship between this parameter and the tensile force can be used to quantitatively calculate the tensile force of steel bar. The method in this paper provides significant application prospects for the internal force detection of steel bar in the actual engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Short-Term Aging Properties of Asphalt Modified by Novel Sustained-Release Microcapsules Containing Rejuvenator
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071122
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
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Abstract
Aged asphalt can enormously affect the performance of asphalt pavement and cause serious environmental hazards. Microcapsule-modified asphalt is one of the effective means to improve the anti-aging ability of asphalt. In this work, novel sustained-release microcapsules containing rejuvenator were prepared by the solvent [...] Read more.
Aged asphalt can enormously affect the performance of asphalt pavement and cause serious environmental hazards. Microcapsule-modified asphalt is one of the effective means to improve the anti-aging ability of asphalt. In this work, novel sustained-release microcapsules containing rejuvenator were prepared by the solvent evaporation method. The morphology of the microcapsules was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The sustained-release properties of the microcapsules were investigated by static thermogravimetric analysis. The physical properties such as penetration, ductility, softening point, and Brookfield viscosity of the original asphalt and microcapsule-modified asphalt were studied. In addition, the viscoelasticity of the original asphalt and microcapsule-modified asphalt was investigated by means of a dynamic shear rheometer (DSR). The results show that the prepared microcapsules have a smooth surface and a complete encapsulation with an average particle size of 60 μm. After the heating treatment (above 140 °C), a large number of micropores were formed on the shell surface of microcapsules, which provided a structural basis for the sustained-release of rejuvenator. The release rate of the rejuvenator was obviously slowed down by the microcapsules. The aging behavior of sustained-release microcapsules containing rejuvenator-modified asphalt can be greatly improved. The enhanced anti-aging properties of sustained-release microcapsule-modified asphalt are attributed to the functions of the rejuvenator which can be slowly released from the micropores on the microcapsules’ surface, after which the light components lost in the original asphalt can be supplemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Elevated Curing Temperatures on High Ye’elimite Calcium Sulfoaluminate Cement Mortars
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071072
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 1 April 2019
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Abstract
This study investigated the material properties and hydration characteristics of calcium sulfoaluminate cement (CSA) based mortars cured under 3 different initial curing temperatures. Two CSA cements with different M-values were selected. Obtained experimental results of mechanical properties, dimensional stability, and heat release were [...] Read more.
This study investigated the material properties and hydration characteristics of calcium sulfoaluminate cement (CSA) based mortars cured under 3 different initial curing temperatures. Two CSA cements with different M-values were selected. Obtained experimental results of mechanical properties, dimensional stability, and heat release were explained by hydration characteristics from X-ray diffraction, thermal gravimetric analysis, porosimetry, and thermodynamic modeling. Decomposition of ettringite decreased compressive strength but re-formation of ettringite after additional curing at 30 °C helped to recover the strength in CSA cement with a high amount of calcium sulfate. CSA cement with a low amount of calcium sulfate which was designed to predominantly have monosulfate as the main hydration product, showed increased 1-day strength after higher temperature curing but this occurred was at the expense of decreased 28-day strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Compressibility and Thaw-Settlement Properties of Warm and Ice-Rich Frozen Soil with Cement and Additives
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071068
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 1 April 2019
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Abstract
The warm and ice-rich frozen soil (WIRFS) that underlies roadway embankments in permafrost regions exhibit large compression and thaw deformation, which can trigger a series of distresses. Cement and additives were used in this study to improve the compressibility and thaw-settlement properties of [...] Read more.
The warm and ice-rich frozen soil (WIRFS) that underlies roadway embankments in permafrost regions exhibit large compression and thaw deformation, which can trigger a series of distresses. Cement and additives were used in this study to improve the compressibility and thaw-settlement properties of WIRFS. We, therefore, selected optimum additives and studied the improvement effect on the frozen soil with 30% water content based on our previous research. Given constant load and variable temperatures, compression coefficients, thaw strains, and water content changes were obtained at temperatures of −1.0 °C, −0.5 °C, and 2.0 °C to evaluate the effect of improvements. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) was then used to observe the microstructure of improved soils and analyze causal mechanisms. Data show that hydration reactions, physical absorptions, cement, and additives formed new structures and changed the phase of water in frozen soil after curing at −1.0 °C for 28 days. This new structure, cemented with soil particles, unfrozen water, and ice, filled in the voids of frozen soil and effectively decreased the WIRFS compression coefficient and thaw strain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Studies on the Effect of Properties and Micro-Structure on the Creep of Concrete-Filled Steel Tubes
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071046
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
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Abstract
To study different lateral restraints, different constituents of expansion agents, the influence of different steel ratios, and concrete creep properties, we carried out experiments with lateral restraint and without lateral restraint conditions separately on 12 specimens with the expansion agent content accounting for [...] Read more.
To study different lateral restraints, different constituents of expansion agents, the influence of different steel ratios, and concrete creep properties, we carried out experiments with lateral restraint and without lateral restraint conditions separately on 12 specimens with the expansion agent content accounting for 4%, 8%, and 12% respectively. In addition, the creep tests were performed on specimens with different steel ratios of 0.0%, 3.8%, 6.6%, and 9.2%. The test results show that the lateral restraint improves the strength of the system (concrete-filled steel tubes) which resists further load after the concrete ultimate strength is surpassed and reduces the creep. The creep degree of the concrete-filled steel tube with lateral restraint is about 0.09–0.30 times smaller than that of the tube without lateral restraints. The creep degree of the concrete-filled steel tube increases as the steel ratio decreases. Creep tests with different amounts of expansion agent indicate that the creep degree of the concrete structure increases as expansion agent content decreases. To study the internal mechanism of the creep of concrete-filled steel tubes with different lateral restraints and different expansion agent concentrations, a microscopic pore structure test on the steel core concrete was conducted using the RapidAir457 pore structure instrument. Microscopic studies show that the air content and the length of the bubble chord of the laterally restrained core concrete are lower than those without lateral restraint core concrete. The amount of air content and the length of the bubble chord of core concrete specimens increase as the expansion agent content in the core concrete specimens decreases from 12% to 4%. Under the same external loading conditions, as steel ratio increases, the lateral restraint causes a further reduction of creep. The results of this study suggest that the creep of concrete can be reduced by selecting appropriate lateral restraint conditions and an optimal amount of expansion agent in the mix design of concrete for concrete-filled steel tubes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Additive Manufacturing of Geopolymers Modified with Microalgal Biomass Biofiller from Wastewater Treatment Plants
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1004; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071004
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract
This paper deals with the additive manufacturing of metakaolin-based geopolymers and with the use of microalgal biomass from wastewater treatment plants as biofiller in this kind of cementitious material. The study was developed following the evolution stages of the material, which was prepared [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the additive manufacturing of metakaolin-based geopolymers and with the use of microalgal biomass from wastewater treatment plants as biofiller in this kind of cementitious material. The study was developed following the evolution stages of the material, which was prepared and printed as a soft paste and then hardened thanks to an inorganic polymerization reaction (geopolymerization). Thus, the characterization techniques adopted encompassed rheometry, mechanical tests performed on the hardened material, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). Microalgal biomass addition, evaluated in this study at 1, 3 and 5 php with respect to the powder weight, affected both the properties of the fresh and of the hardened material. Regarding the former aspect, biomass reduced the yield stress of the pastes, improving the ease of the extrusion process, but potentially worsening the ability to build structures in height. When hardened, geopolymers containing microalgae showed mechanical properties comparable to the unfilled material and a microstructure characterized by smaller pores. Finally, a printing test was successfully performed with a larger printer to assess the feasibility of producing large-scale structures. Taking into account these results, this study demonstrates the possibility of using microalgal biomass as biofiller in geopolymers for additive manufacturing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Ternary Blended Binder for Production of a Novel Type of Lightweight Repair Mortar
Materials 2019, 12(6), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060996
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 22 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
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Abstract
The goal of the paper was development and testing of a novel type of ternary blended binder based on lime hydrate, metakaolin, and biomass ash that was studied as a binding material for production of lightweight mortar for renovation purposes. The biomass ash [...] Read more.
The goal of the paper was development and testing of a novel type of ternary blended binder based on lime hydrate, metakaolin, and biomass ash that was studied as a binding material for production of lightweight mortar for renovation purposes. The biomass ash used as one of binder components was coming from wood chips ash combustion in a biomass heating plant. The raw ash was mechanically activated by grinding. In mortar composition, wood chips ash and metakaolin were used as partial substitutes of lime hydrate. Silica sand of particle size fraction 0–2 mm was mixed from three normalized sand fractions. For the evaluation of the effect of biomass ash and metakaolin incorporation in mortar mix on material properties, reference lime mortar was tested as well. Among the basic physical characterization of biomass ash, metakaolin and lime hydrate, specific density, specific surface, and particle size distribution were assessed. Their chemical composition was measured by X-Ray fluorescence analysis (XRF), morphology was examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), elements mapping was performed using energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) analyser, and mineralogical composition was tested using X-Ray diffraction (XRD). For the developed mortars, set of structural, mechanical, hygric, and thermal properties was assessed. The mortars with ternary blended binder exhibited improved mechanical resistance, lower thermal conductivity, and increased water vapor permeability compared to the reference lime mortar. Based on good functional performance of the produced mortar, the tested biomass ash could potentially represent a novel sustainable alternative to other pozzolans commonly used in construction industry. Moreover, reuse of biomass ash in production of building materials is highly beneficial both from the environmental and economic reasons especially taking into account circular economy principles. The ternary blended binder examined in this paper can find use in both rendering and walling repair mortars meeting the requirements of culture heritage authorities and technical standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Aging Mechanism of a Diatomite-Modified Asphalt Binder Using Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy Analysis
Materials 2019, 12(6), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060988
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to evaluate the effects of diatomite on aging properties of an asphalt binder. The modified asphalts included 5%, 10%, and 15% diatomite, and were prepared in the laboratory. The changes in functional groups of [...] Read more.
In this paper, Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to evaluate the effects of diatomite on aging properties of an asphalt binder. The modified asphalts included 5%, 10%, and 15% diatomite, and were prepared in the laboratory. The changes in functional groups of asphalt were employed to investigate the aging mechanisms of the modified and control asphalts. Effects of diatomite on the anti-aging properties of asphalt were analyzed via the changes in intensity of the absorption peaks. Results showed that there were no new functional groups generated after diatomite mixing with asphalt. This indicated that the process of diatomite modification was just physical mixing. Furthermore, parts of saturates and aromatics were volatilized in the aging process of modified asphalt. Polar molecules reacted with oxygen in aging. Meanwhile, carbonyl (C=O) and sulfoxide (S=O) were also generated. The aging resistance of modified asphalt was the best when the diatomite content was 10%. The work of this paper may provide a new perspective to evaluate asphalt aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Physical Properties of High-Belite Sulphoaluminate Cement-Based Foam Concrete Using an Orthogonal Test
Materials 2019, 12(6), 984; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060984
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 17 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
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Abstract
Prefabricated building development increasingly requires foam concrete (FC) insulation panels with low dry density (ρd), low thermal conductivity coefficient (kc), and a certain compressive strength (fcu). Here, the foam properties of a composite foaming [...] Read more.
Prefabricated building development increasingly requires foam concrete (FC) insulation panels with low dry density (ρd), low thermal conductivity coefficient (kc), and a certain compressive strength (fcu). Here, the foam properties of a composite foaming agent with different dilution ratios were studied first, high-belite sulphoaluminate cement (HBSC)-based FCs (HBFCs) with 16 groups of orthogonal mix proportions were subsequently fabricated by a pre-foaming method, and physical properties (ρd, fcu, and kc) of the cured HBFC were characterized in tandem with microstructures. The optimum mix ratios for ρd, fcu, and kc properties were obtained by the range analysis and variance analysis, and the final optimization verification and economic cost of HBFC was also carried out. Orthogonal results show that foam produced by the foaming agent at a dilution ratio of 1:30 can meet the requirements of foam properties for HBFC, with the 1 h bleeding volume, 1 h settling distance, foamability, and foam density being 65.1 ± 3.5 mL, 8.0 ± 0.4 mm, 27.9 ± 0.9 times, and 45.0 ± 1.4 kg/m3, respectively. The increase of fly ash (FA) and foam dosage can effectively reduce the kc of the cured HBFC, but also leads to the decrease of fcu due to the increase in mean pore size and the connected pore amount, and the decline of pore uniformity and pore wall strength. When the dosage of FA, water, foam, and the naphthalene-based superplasticizer of the binder is 20 wt%, 0.50, 16.5 wt%, and 0.6 wt%, the cured HBFC with ρd of 293.5 ± 4.9 kg/m3, fcu of 0.58 ± 0.02 MPa and kc of 0.09234 ± 0.00142 W/m·k is achieved. In addition, the cost of HBFC is only 39.5 $/m3, which is 5.2 $ lower than that of ordinary Portland cement (OPC)-based FC. If the surface of the optimized HBFC is further treated with water repellent, it will completely meet the requirements for a prefabricated ultra-light insulation panel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Regulating the Expansion Characteristics of Cementitious Materials Using Blended MgO-Type Expansive Agent
Materials 2019, 12(6), 976; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060976
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
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Abstract
To promote the application of MgO-type expansive agents (MEAs), the expansion stresses produced by compacted MEAs with different activities cured in water at 40 °C were measured using a self-designed expansion stress test apparatus. Based on these, different MEAs were divided into the [...] Read more.
To promote the application of MgO-type expansive agents (MEAs), the expansion stresses produced by compacted MEAs with different activities cured in water at 40 °C were measured using a self-designed expansion stress test apparatus. Based on these, different MEAs were divided into the early-type MgO expansive agent and the late-type MgO expansive agent classifications according to the stress curves of compacted MEAs. The two types of MEAs were blended with each other at different ratios and added into cement pastes. Results indicated that the expansion of the cement pastes added with blended MEAs lasted from the beginning to 200 days later, and the expansion characteristics can be regulated by adjusting the blending ratio of MEAs and the choice of types of MEAs. The results suggest that the expansion of MEAs can be improved by using blended MEAs in practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Microstructural Characterization of Porous Clay-Based Ceramic Composites
Materials 2019, 12(6), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060946
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 10 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
Clay-based materials are the most traditional components of buildings. To improve their performance in a sustainable way, agents can be mixed to fired clay acting as a pore-forming factor. However, firing temperatures highly influence their microstructure which is closely linked to a material’s [...] Read more.
Clay-based materials are the most traditional components of buildings. To improve their performance in a sustainable way, agents can be mixed to fired clay acting as a pore-forming factor. However, firing temperatures highly influence their microstructure which is closely linked to a material’s final performance as a ceramic block. To highlight the influence of the firing temperature on microstructure, and more specifically on the pore size distribution of clay-based materials, three innovative porous materials were manufactured. These materials were produced by mixing clay and pore-forming agents. They were characterized by optical and scanning electronic microscopy, x-ray diffraction, mercury intrusion and nitrogen adsorption. These techniques allow the phase identification of materials, show sample microstructure and quantify the pore size distribution at different scales. Furthermore, geometric parameters of sample microstructure such as grain diameter and roundness are estimated by using computer software. To conclude, results provide an enlightenment about the influence of material microstructure on the pore size distribution at two firing temperatures. These results can be useful to allow the tune of porous characteristics and, therefore, contribute to the production of more sustainable construction materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Reactivity and Hydration Property of Synthetic Air Quenched Slag with Different Chemical Compositions
Materials 2019, 12(6), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060932
Received: 3 March 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
Air quenched slag is processed by a fast air cooling method which is developed with the advantages of recovering heat from molten slag and water conservation compared to the water quenching method. Air quenched slags with different chemical compositions are synthesized in the [...] Read more.
Air quenched slag is processed by a fast air cooling method which is developed with the advantages of recovering heat from molten slag and water conservation compared to the water quenching method. Air quenched slags with different chemical compositions are synthesized in the lab by designing three chemical composition ratios: (CaO + MgO)/(SiO2 + Al2O3), CaO/MgO and SiO2/Al2O3, which are donated as CM/SA, C/M and S/A, respectively. The effect of different chemical compositions on the phase compositions of synthetic air quenched slag, the strength and hydration properties of slag blends were investigated by using various characterization techniques. The results show that the amorphous content of air quenched slag decreased with the increasing basicity CM/SA of slag. The S/A ratio of slag was the dominant factor for the compressive strength of slag blends at 28 days and negatively correlated with strength. Decreasing the S/A ratio of slag increased the reactivity of slag and its reaction degree indicated by higher hydration heat release, lower CH content, greater chemical combined water amount and denser microstructure. Moreover, thermodynamic modelling revealed that a higher S/A of slag leads to the increase of C-(A)-S-H and AFt contents, whilst decreasing the amounts of Ht, AFm-SO4 phases and the total volume of hydrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation and Selection of De-Icing Salt Based on Multi-Factor
Materials 2019, 12(6), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060912
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
De-icing salts can greatly ease traffic congestion but introduce corrosion of concrete and damage to plant growth. The decision of which de-icing salt to use becomes a crucial issue. In this study, several representative de-icing salts were investigated, and the effects of de-icing [...] Read more.
De-icing salts can greatly ease traffic congestion but introduce corrosion of concrete and damage to plant growth. The decision of which de-icing salt to use becomes a crucial issue. In this study, several representative de-icing salts were investigated, and the effects of de-icing ability, salt freezing corrosion on concrete, and plant growth were comprehensively tested. Finally, the decision of de-icing salt was made based on analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Results show that de-icing salts achieving the best de-icing effect are not the same at different concentrations. De-icing salts of 3% concentration have the greatest corrosion to concrete. Notably, magnesium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate have the least impact on plants among all studied de-icing salts. Using AHP, ethylene glycol and calcium magnesium acetate are selected as optimal items under different priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Construction Materials from Vitrified Lignite Fly Ash in Plasmatron Plasma Reactor
Materials 2019, 12(6), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060905
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 3 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
This article presents results of an investigation of vitrified (melted) fly ash samples from lignite (brown coal) in a plasmatron plasma reactor, to determine its mechanical and chemical properties. The XRF elemental analysis results of sample tests, from before the vitrification process and [...] Read more.
This article presents results of an investigation of vitrified (melted) fly ash samples from lignite (brown coal) in a plasmatron plasma reactor, to determine its mechanical and chemical properties. The XRF elemental analysis results of sample tests, from before the vitrification process and after the vitrification process are shown. The experiments were carried out in a plasma plasmatron reactor with a total power of 65 kW, enabling testing on a quarter technical scale. During the tests, samples of fly ash of about 4 kg mass were processed under selected process conditions. Produced samples of vitrified materials were analyzed in accordance to the requirements for building/construction materials. Results from this investigation confirm its quality to be used as concrete and cement filler, as an addition, and as synthetic aggregate, safe for the environment and neutral for cements. Also the most important leaching of heavy metals to water was analyzed which confirmed meeting of all of requirements necessary to use this material in building materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanical Performance of Warm-Mixed Porous Asphalt Mixture with Steel Slag and Crumb-Rubber–SBS Modified Bitumen for Seasonal Frozen Regions
Materials 2019, 12(6), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060857
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 6 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, the performance of a warm-mixed porous asphalt mixture (PAM) with steel slag as aggregate and crumb-rubber–SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) modified bitumen as a binder was studied. Two kinds of warming additives were used, namely ethylene bis stearic acid amide (EBS) and stearic [...] Read more.
In this paper, the performance of a warm-mixed porous asphalt mixture (PAM) with steel slag as aggregate and crumb-rubber–SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) modified bitumen as a binder was studied. Two kinds of warming additives were used, namely ethylene bis stearic acid amide (EBS) and stearic acid amide (SA). The mixtures were investigated for their permeability, Marshall stability, low-temperature crack resistance, and underwent a rutting test, water sensitivity evaluation and Cantabro particle loss test. Then, the viscoelastic and dynamic characteristics of the mixtures were also analyzed. The results showed that the addition of the warming additives allowed the decrease of the manufacturing temperature by 10 °C. Thus, the addition of warming additives significantly improves the low-temperature crack resistance and slightly reduces the water sensitivity, weakly increases the permeability, and has little effect on the resilient modulus. Since the addition of SA significantly improves the low-temperature crack resistance and rutting resistance of the PAM, SA is therefore recommended for pavement engineering in seasonal frozen regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Assessment of Ultra-High-Performance Concrete Using Carbon, Material, and Water Footprint
Materials 2019, 12(6), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060851
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 13 March 2019
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Abstract
There is a common understanding that the environmental impacts of construction materials should be significantly reduced. This article provides a comprehensive environmental assessment within Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) boundaries for Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) in comparison with Conventional Concrete (CC), in terms of carbon, [...] Read more.
There is a common understanding that the environmental impacts of construction materials should be significantly reduced. This article provides a comprehensive environmental assessment within Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) boundaries for Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) in comparison with Conventional Concrete (CC), in terms of carbon, material, and water footprint. Environmental impacts are determined for the cradle-to-grave life cycle of the UHPC, considering precast and ready-mix concrete. The LCA shows that UHPC has higher environmental impacts per m3. When the functionality of UHPC is considered, at case study level, two design options of a bridge are tested, which use either totally CC (CC design) or CC enhanced with UHPC (UHPC design). The results show that the UHPC design could provide a reduction of 14%, 27%, and 43% of carbon, material, and water footprint, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Effective Medium Method for Chloride Diffusion Coefficient of Mature Fly Ash Cement Paste
Materials 2019, 12(5), 811; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12050811
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 8 March 2019
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Abstract
The chloride diffusion coefficient of concrete plays an essential role in the durability assessment and design of concrete structures built in chloride-laden environments. The purpose of this paper is to present an effective medium method (EMM) for evaluating the chloride diffusion coefficient of [...] Read more.
The chloride diffusion coefficient of concrete plays an essential role in the durability assessment and design of concrete structures built in chloride-laden environments. The purpose of this paper is to present an effective medium method (EMM) for evaluating the chloride diffusion coefficient of mature fly ash cement paste. In this method, a numerical method is used to estimate the degrees of hydration of cement and fly ash. Fly ash cement paste is then modeled as a two-phase composite material, composed of a solid phase and a pore space. By introducing the percolation theory, the EMM is modified to derive the chloride diffusion coefficient of fly ash cement paste in an analytical manner. To verify the EMM, a chloride diffusion test of fly ash cement paste at a curing age of up to 540 days is conducted. It is shown that, within a reasonable fly ash content, a larger fly ash content and/or curing age results in a smaller chloride diffusion coefficient. The chloride diffusion coefficient decreases with a decreasing water/binder ratio. Finally, the validity of the EMM is verified with experimental results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Agricultural Solid Waste as Source of Supplementary Cementitious Materials in Developing Countries
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071112
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
Concrete production utilizes cement as its major ingredient. Cement production is an important consumer of natural resources and energy. Furthermore, the cement industry is a significant CO2 producer. To reduce the environmental impact of concrete production, supplementary cementitious materials such as fly [...] Read more.
Concrete production utilizes cement as its major ingredient. Cement production is an important consumer of natural resources and energy. Furthermore, the cement industry is a significant CO2 producer. To reduce the environmental impact of concrete production, supplementary cementitious materials such as fly ash, blast furnace slag, and silica fume are commonly used as (partial) cement replacement materials. However, these materials are industrial by-products and their availability is expected to decrease in the future due to, e.g., closing of coal power plants. In addition, these materials are not available everywhere, for example, in developing countries. In these countries, industrial and agricultural wastes with pozzolanic behavior offer opportunities for use in concrete production. This paper summarizes the engineering properties of concrete produced using widespread agricultural wastes such as palm oil fuel ash, rice husk ash, sugarcane bagasse ash, and bamboo leaf ash. Research on cement replacement containing agricultural wastes has shown that there is great potential for their utilization as partial replacement for cement and aggregates in concrete production. When properly designed, concretes containing these wastes have similar or slightly better mechanical and durability properties compared to ordinary Portland cement (OPC) concrete. Thus, successful use of these wastes in concrete offers novel sustainable materials and contributes to greener construction as it reduces the amount of waste, while also minimizing the use of virgin raw materials for cement production. This paper will help the concrete industry choose relevant waste products and their optimum content for concrete production. Furthermore, this study identifies research gaps which may help researchers in further studying concrete based on agricultural waste materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials)
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