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Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II)

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 November 2024 | Viewed by 5961

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Computing, School of Engineering, Engineering and Science, University of South Wales, Pontypridd CF37 1DL, UK
Interests: low-carbon technology; sustainability; cement; concrete; bricks; blocks; geopolymers; soil stabilization; suppression of expansion; freezing and thawing; waste utilization; microstructural analysis; life cycle inventory; ground granulated blastfurnace slag; pulverized fuel ash; silica fume
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The production of cement-based construction and building is set to continue increasing as demand worldwide continues to increase, especially where emerging economies need cement-based materials for housing and infrastructure. In the context of increased regulations to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry and to limit greenhouse gas emission associated with cement production, this Special Issue will bring together cutting-edge and economically viable new construction and building materials made from alternative cement replacement materials, even though construction cost and technical barriers, such as insufficient durability data and differentiation for different applications, still hinder the global promotion and utilization of new sustainable construction and building materials development. Within the scope of this research topic, emphasis will be focused on fundamental, experimental, numerical, validation, and application research, inducing proven results in state-of-the-art solutions for sustainable construction. Various single-focused approaches or multidisciplinary combinations are also expected to add to the Special Issue. In general, traditionally, the most widely used construction and building materials are produced with Portland cement (PC); however, there have been some sustainability concerns as it is expensive to make and transport, and the manufacturing process is environmentally destructive, accounting for about 8% of global CO2 emissions. This has led to the use of several new sustainable alternative materials for PC replacement with significant benefits, to mitigate the environmental damage caused by PC. This Special Issue will also bring together techniques and concepts from various distinct works, to examine, explore, and critically engage with issues and advances in sustainable construction and building materials, that can provide several environmental benefits but also can lead to cost-effective products. The papers collected in this Special Issue can help researchers and practicing engineers, construction and building material scientists, low carbon and sustainability practitioners to find more advanced techniques and alternative approaches towards sustainable construction and building material development.

Dr. Jonathan Oti
Guest Editor

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 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

  • sustainable materials
  • building materials
  • durability
  • recycled materials
  • cement
  • concrete
  • stabilization
  • life-cycle assessment
  • bricks
  • block
  • mortar
  • geo-polymer
  • steel
  • timber
  • green building materials
  • eco-friendly materials
  • nano- and fiber composites
  • ceramics
  • limes
  • PFA
  • GGBS

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 3726 KiB  
Article
Advancements in Heavy Metal Stabilization: A Comparative Study on Zinc Immobilization in Glass-Portland Cement Binders
by Abdelhadi Bouchikhi, Amine el Mahdi Safhi, Walid Maherzi, Yannick Mamindy-Pajany, Wolfgang Kunther, Mahfoud Benzerzour and Nor-Edine Abriak
Materials 2024, 17(12), 2867; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17122867 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 351
Abstract
Recent literature has exhibited a growing interest in the utilization of ground glass powder (GP) as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM). Yet, the application of SCMs in stabilizing heavy metallic and metalloid elements remains underexplored. This research zeroes in on zinc stabilization using [...] Read more.
Recent literature has exhibited a growing interest in the utilization of ground glass powder (GP) as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM). Yet, the application of SCMs in stabilizing heavy metallic and metalloid elements remains underexplored. This research zeroes in on zinc stabilization using a binder amalgam of GP and ordinary Portland cement (OPC). This study juxtaposes the stability of zinc in a recomposed binder consisting of 30% GP and 70% OPC (denoted as 30GP-M) against a reference binder of 100% CEM I 52.5 N (labeled reference mortar, RM) across curing intervals of 1, 28, and 90 days. Remarkably, the findings indicate a heightened kinetic immobilization of Zn at 90 days in the presence of GP—surging up to 40% in contrast to RM. Advanced microstructural analyses delineate the stabilization locales for Zn, including on the periphery of hydrated C3S particles (Zn–C3S), within GP-reactive sites (Si*–O–Zn), and amid C–S–H gel structures, i.e., (C/Zn)–S–H. A matrix with 30% GP bolsters the hydration process of C3S vis-à-vis the RM matrix. Probing deeper, the microstructural characterization underscores GP’s prowess in Zn immobilization, particularly at the interaction zone with the paste. In the Zn milieu, it was discerning a transmutation—some products born from the GP–Portlandite reaction morph into GP–calcium–zincate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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27 pages, 7002 KiB  
Article
Effect of Carbon Nanotubes on Chloride Diffusion, Strength, and Microstructure of Ultra-High Performance Concrete
by Mahdi Rafieizonooz, Jang-Ho Jay Kim, Jin-Su Kim and Jae-Bin Jo
Materials 2024, 17(12), 2851; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17122851 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 318
Abstract
This study delved into the integration of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), exploring aspects such as mechanical properties, microstructure analysis, accelerated chloride penetration, and life service prediction. A dispersed CNT solution (0.025 to 0.075 wt%) was employed, along with a [...] Read more.
This study delved into the integration of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), exploring aspects such as mechanical properties, microstructure analysis, accelerated chloride penetration, and life service prediction. A dispersed CNT solution (0.025 to 0.075 wt%) was employed, along with a superplasticizer, to ensure high flowability in the UHPC slurry. In addition, the combination of high-strength functional artificial lightweight aggregate (ALA) and micro hollow spheres (MHS) was utilized as a replacement for fine aggregate to not only reduce the weight of the concrete but also to increase its mechanical performance. Experimental findings unveiled that an increased concentration of CNT in CNT1 (0.025%) and CNT2 (0.05%) blends led to a marginal improvement in compressive strength compared to the control mix. Conversely, the CNT3 (0.075%) mixture exhibited a reduction in compressive strength with a rising CNT content as an admixture. SEM analysis depicted that the heightened concentration of CNTs as an admixture induced the formation of nanoscale bridges within the concrete matrix. Ponding test results indicated that, for all samples, the effective chloride transport coefficient remained below the standard limitation of 1.00 × 10−12 m2/s, signifying acceptable performance in the ponding test for all samples. The life service prediction outcomes affirmed that, across various environmental scenarios, CNT1 and CNT2 mixtures consistently demonstrated superior performance compared to all other mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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17 pages, 7109 KiB  
Article
Carbonation Resistance of Ternary Portland Cements Made with Silica Fume and Limestone
by Miguel Ángel Sanjuán, Esperanza Menéndez and Hairon Recino
Materials 2024, 17(11), 2705; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17112705 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Ternary blended cements, made with silica fume and limestone, provide significant benefits such as improved compressive strength, chloride penetration resistance, sulfates attack, etc. Furthermore, they could be considered low-carbon cements, and they contribute to reducing the depletion of natural resources in reference to [...] Read more.
Ternary blended cements, made with silica fume and limestone, provide significant benefits such as improved compressive strength, chloride penetration resistance, sulfates attack, etc. Furthermore, they could be considered low-carbon cements, and they contribute to reducing the depletion of natural resources in reference to water usage, fossil fuel consumption, and mining. Limestone (10%, 15%, and 20%) with different fineness and coarse silica fume (3%, 5%, and 7%) was used to produce ternary cements. The average size of coarse silica fume used was 238 μm. For the first time, the carbonation resistance of ternary Portland cements made with silica fume and limestone has been assessed. The carbonation resistance was assessed by natural carbonation testing. The presence of coarse silica fume and limestone in the blended cement led to pore refinement of the cement-based materials by the filling effect and the C-S-H gel formation. Accordingly, the carbonation resistance of these new ternary cements was less poor than expected for blended cements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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14 pages, 6460 KiB  
Article
An Evaluation of the Radioactive Content of Ashes Obtained from the Use of Fuels from Recycled Materials by Co-Processing in the Cement Industry
by José Antonio Suarez-Navarro, Miguel Ángel Sanjuán, Pedro Mora and María del Mar Alonso
Materials 2024, 17(10), 2287; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17102287 - 12 May 2024
Viewed by 606
Abstract
The co-processing of different wastes as fuels in the manufacture of cement clinker not only meets the objectives of a circular economy but also contributes to the reduction in CO2 emissions in the manufacture of Portland cement. However, waste used as alternative [...] Read more.
The co-processing of different wastes as fuels in the manufacture of cement clinker not only meets the objectives of a circular economy but also contributes to the reduction in CO2 emissions in the manufacture of Portland cement. However, waste used as alternative fuels, such as sludge or organic-rich residues, may contain naturally occurring radionuclides that can be concentrated during the combustion process. In this study, the presence of natural radionuclides (radioactive series of uranium, thorium, and 40K) and anthropogenic radionuclides (137Cs) in these wastes has been investigated by gamma spectrometry. Possible relationships between the radioactive content and the obtained chemical composition, determined by X-ray fluorescence, have also been studied by applying a principal component analysis (PCA). The results showed that the wastes with the highest radioactive content were sewage sludge with activity concentrations of 238U and 210Pb of 321 ± 38 Bq kg−1 and 110 ± 14 Bq kg−1, respectively. A correlation between radioactive content and Fe2O3 concentration was also observed. The annual effective dose rates to workers for the ashes estimated from the ash content ranged from 0.0033 mSv to 0.092 mSv and therefore do not pose a risk to workers as they are lower than the 1 mSv per year limit for the general public (DIRECTIVE 2013/59/EURATOM). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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12 pages, 4203 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Mechanical Properties and Microstructures of Mass-Manufactured Sand Concrete by Incorporating Granite Powder
by Jian Huang, Guangfeng Xu, Shujie Chen, Demei Yu, Tengfei Fu, Chao Feng and Yulin Wang
Materials 2024, 17(10), 2234; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17102234 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 424
Abstract
The production of manufactured sand and stone processing can cause dust pollution due to the generation of a significant amount of stone powder. This dust (mainly granite powder) was collected and incorporated as a cement replacement into mass-manufactured sand concrete in order to [...] Read more.
The production of manufactured sand and stone processing can cause dust pollution due to the generation of a significant amount of stone powder. This dust (mainly granite powder) was collected and incorporated as a cement replacement into mass-manufactured sand concrete in order to enhance the mechanical properties and microstructures. The heat of the hydration was measured by adding the granite powder into the cementitious material system. The mechanical properties, autogenous shrinkage, and pore structures of the concrete were tested. The results showed that the mechanical strength of the concrete increased first and then decreased with the increase in granite powder content. By replacing the 5% cement with the granite powder, the 28 d compressive and flexural strength increased by 17.6% and 20.9%, respectively. The autogenous shrinkage was mitigated by the incorporation of the 10% granite powder and decreased by 19.7%. The mechanism of the granite powder in the concrete was studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). The porosity decreased significantly within the 10% granite powder. A microstructure analysis did not reveal a change in the type of hydration products but rather that the granite powder played a role in the microcrystalline nucleation during the hydration process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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20 pages, 4340 KiB  
Article
Mechanical and Microstructural Investigation of Geopolymer Concrete Incorporating Recycled Waste Plastic Aggregate
by Blessing O. Adeleke, John M. Kinuthia, Jonathan Oti, Duncan Pirrie and Matthew Power
Materials 2024, 17(6), 1340; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17061340 - 14 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 866
Abstract
The effective use of waste materials is one of the key drivers in ensuring sustainability within the construction industry. This paper investigates the viability and efficacy of sustainably incorporating a polylactic acid-type plastic (WP) as a 10 mm natural coarse aggregate (NA) replacement [...] Read more.
The effective use of waste materials is one of the key drivers in ensuring sustainability within the construction industry. This paper investigates the viability and efficacy of sustainably incorporating a polylactic acid-type plastic (WP) as a 10 mm natural coarse aggregate (NA) replacement in geopolymer concrete. Two types of concrete (ordinary Portland cement—OPC and geopolymer) were produced for completeness using a concrete formulation ratio of 1:2:3. The ordinary concrete binder control was prepared using 100% OPC at a water/binder ratio of 0.55, while the geopolymer concrete control used an optimum alkaline activator/precursor—A/P ratio (0.5) and sodium silicate to sodium hydroxide—SS/SH volume ratio (1.2/0.8). Using the same binder quantity as the control, four concrete batches were developed by replacing 10 mm NA with WP at 30 and 70 wt% for ordinary and geopolymer concrete. The mechanical performance of the developed concrete was assessed according to their appropriate standards, while a microstructural investigation was employed after 28 days of curing to identify any morphological changes and hydrated phases. The results illustrate the viability of incorporating WP in geopolymer concrete production at up to 70 wt% replacement despite some negative impacts on concrete performance. From a mechanical perspective, geopolymer concrete indicated a 46.7–58.3% strength development superiority over ordinary concrete with or without WP. The sample composition and texture quantified using automated scanning electron microscopy indicated that adding WP reduced the presence of pores within the microstructure of both concrete types. However, this was detrimental to the ordinary concrete due to the low interfacial zone (ITZ) between calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) gel and WP, resulting in the formation of cracks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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15 pages, 3609 KiB  
Article
Wet–Dry Cycles and Microstructural Characteristics of Expansive Subgrade Treated with Sustainable Cementitious Waste Materials
by Samuel J. Abbey, Samuel Y. O. Amakye, Eyo U. Eyo, Colin A. Booth and Jeremiah J. Jeremiah
Materials 2023, 16(8), 3124; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16083124 - 15 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1707
Abstract
This work presents an experimental study on the physico-mechanical and microstructural characteristics of stabilised soils and the effect of wetting and drying cycles on their durability as road subgrade materials. The durability of expansive road subgrade with a high plasticity index treated with [...] Read more.
This work presents an experimental study on the physico-mechanical and microstructural characteristics of stabilised soils and the effect of wetting and drying cycles on their durability as road subgrade materials. The durability of expansive road subgrade with a high plasticity index treated with different ratios of ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) and brick dust waste (BDW) was investigated. Treated and cured samples of the expansive subgrade were subjected to wetting–drying cycles, California bearing ratio (CBR) tests, and microstructural analysis. The results show a gradual reduction in the California bearing ratio (CBR), mass, and the resilient modulus of samples for all subgrade types as the number of cycles increases. The treated subgrades containing 23.5% GGBS recorded the highest CBR value of 230% under dry conditions while the lowest CBR value of 15% (wetting cycle) was recorded for the subgrade treated with 11.75% GGBS and 11.75% BDW at the end of the wetting–drying cycles, both of which find useful application in road pavement construction as calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) gel was formed in all stabilised subgrade materials. However, the increase in alumina and silica content upon the inclusion of BDW initiated the formation of more cementitious products due to the increased availability of Si and Al species as indicated by EDX analysis. This study concluded that subgrade materials treated with a combination of GGBS and BDW are durable, sustainable and suitable for use in road construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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Review

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21 pages, 7298 KiB  
Review
Recent Developments on the Effects of Micro- and Nano-Limestone on the Hydration Process, Products, and Kinetics of Cement
by Xin Li and Mingli Cao
Materials 2024, 17(9), 2133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17092133 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 814
Abstract
Limestone is commonly used in cement concrete due to its unique nature and type. It has physical effects (nucleation effect and dilution effect) and chemical effects on the hydration process of cement. This paper reviews the effects of three representative limestone materials on [...] Read more.
Limestone is commonly used in cement concrete due to its unique nature and type. It has physical effects (nucleation effect and dilution effect) and chemical effects on the hydration process of cement. This paper reviews the effects of three representative limestone materials on the hydration process, hydration products, and hydration kinetics. In the hydration process, the reaction was delayed by limestone powder with a particle size larger than 20 μm and calcium carbonate whiskers due to their dilutive effect. On the other hand, limestone powder with a particle size smaller than 20 m and calcium carbonate nanoparticles facilitated the reaction through nucleation and chemical effects. Limestone has a similar effect on hydration products, promoting the production of C-S-H through nucleation. The mechanism of action for this nucleation effect depends on the differences in crystalline form and particle size of the three types of micro- and nano-calcium. Chemical effects impact the amount of AFt produced, with the generation of new products being the main reaction influenced by the limestone admixture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Cement-Based Composites for Civil Engineering (Volume II))
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