Special Issue "Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanocomposite Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2023 | Viewed by 8798

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Francesca Romana Lamastra
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Enterprise Engineering ‘‘Mario Lucertini”, University of Rome ‘‘Tor Vergata”, Via del Politecnico 1, 00133 Roma, Italy
Interests: multifunctional cement-based materials implemented by means of graphene-based 2D nanofillers (graphite nanoplatelets, graphene oxide and nanographite); capsule-based self-healing system for cementitious materials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Concrete is the most used construction material worldwide, and its annual consumption is estimated at more than 25 billion tons. Due to this huge production, the cement industry is characterized by a very strong environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions. It has been estimated that 5 to 7 % of global CO2 emissions is due to cement production. Cracking is known to be the most challenging problem for the life-cycle performance of cementitious materials, which are inherently weak in tensile strength. Thus, the development of improved durability concretes and alternative binders to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) are research subjects of pivotal relevance in the field of sustainable building.

Promising strategies to improve the sustainability of concrete are:

- New smart cementitious nanocomposites for health-monitoring of structures, thus increasing both the structural safety and service life of structures;

- Graphene-based cementitious nanocomposites capable of refining the pore structure and reducing flaws and cracks in the cement based matrix;

- The use of alternative binders to OPC, such as geopolymers, with the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from the cement industry;

- Self-healing cementitious materials.

Dr. Francesca Romana Lamastra
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Cementitious materials
  • Smart cementitious nanocomposites
  • Strain-sensing
  • Self-healing
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Geopolymers
  • Nanotechnology
  • Graphene-based materials.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Study of Dispersion, Hydration, and Microstructure of Graphene Nanoplates-Modified Sulfoaluminate Cement Paste
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(15), 2708; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12152708 - 06 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
Low-carbon ecological cement composites are among the most promising construction materials. With low energy consumption, low carbon dioxide emissions, and high early strength, sulfoaluminate cement (SAC) is a low-carbon ecological building material. In addition, graphene nanoplates (GNPs) exhibit excellent performances. In this study, [...] Read more.
Low-carbon ecological cement composites are among the most promising construction materials. With low energy consumption, low carbon dioxide emissions, and high early strength, sulfoaluminate cement (SAC) is a low-carbon ecological building material. In addition, graphene nanoplates (GNPs) exhibit excellent performances. In this study, GNPs were dispersed by a combination of dispersant and ultrasonic treatment, and the dispersion effect of GNPs was characterized. The effect of GNPs on the hydration process and products of SAC was studied, revealing that GNPs accelerate SAC hydration. The hydration heat and ICP results showed that in the SAC hydrolysis stage, C4A3Š (ye’elimite) hydrolyzed and released Ca2+. GNPs absorbed the Ca2+, and the Ca2+ concentration around C4A3Š decreased, which would promote the hydrolysis of C4A3Š and release more Ca2+, accelerating the hydration of SAC and the nucleation effect of GNPs, and providing sites for the formation of hydration products. The analysis of XRD (X-Ray Diffraction) and TGA (Thermal Gravity Analysis) showed that GNPs promoted the hydration of SAC and formed more AFt (ettringite) and AH3 (gibbsite). The generated hydration products fill the pores of the matrix and are closely connected to the GNPs to form a whole, which improves the cement matrix’s mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering)
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Article
Extra-Low Dosage Graphene Oxide Cementitious Nanocomposites: A Nano- to Macroscale Approach
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(12), 3278; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11123278 - 02 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
The impact of extra-low dosage (0.01% by weight of cement) Graphene Oxide (GO) on the properties of fresh and hardened nanocomposites was assessed. The use of a minimum amount of 2-D nanofiller would minimize costs and sustainability issues, therefore encouraging the market uptake [...] Read more.
The impact of extra-low dosage (0.01% by weight of cement) Graphene Oxide (GO) on the properties of fresh and hardened nanocomposites was assessed. The use of a minimum amount of 2-D nanofiller would minimize costs and sustainability issues, therefore encouraging the market uptake of nanoengineered cement-based materials. GO was characterized by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), and Raman spectroscopy. GO consisted of stacked sheets up to 600 nm × 800 nm wide and 2 nm thick, oxygen content 31 at%. The impact of GO on the fresh admixtures was evaluated by rheology, flowability, and workability measurements. GO-modified samples were characterized by density measurements, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis, and compression and bending tests. Permeability was investigated using the boiling-water saturation technique, salt ponding test, and Initial Surface Absorption Test (ISAT). At 28 days, GO-nanocomposite exhibited increased density (+14%), improved compressive and flexural strength (+29% and +13%, respectively), and decreased permeability compared to the control sample. The strengthening effect dominated over the adverse effects associated with the worsening of the fresh properties; reduced permeability was mainly attributed to the refining of the pore network induced by the presence of GO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering)
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Article
Evaluation of Autogenous Healing in Flexural Mortar Members by Chloride Ion Penetration Resistance
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(6), 1622; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11061622 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1265
Abstract
In this study, we investigated the effects of mineral admixtures on the autogenous healing of flexural mortar members through a chloride ion penetration test. The mineral admixtures used were ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS), fly ash, silica fume (SF), clinker binder, and clinker [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigated the effects of mineral admixtures on the autogenous healing of flexural mortar members through a chloride ion penetration test. The mineral admixtures used were ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS), fly ash, silica fume (SF), clinker binder, and clinker sand. Through a four-point bending test, a crack of approximately 100 μm was induced at the bottom of the flexural mortar member, and the chloride ion penetration depth through the crack was measured to evaluate the self-healing performance. Additionally, we analyzed the correlation between the self-healing performances, which was measured through water flow and water absorption tests. The experimental results showed that the chloride ion penetration depth decreased due to crack healing, and the self-healing performance of the GGBS and SF was the highest. It was found that the subtle change in the self-healing performance was more accurately evaluated by the chloride ion penetration test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering)
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Article
CO2 Sequestration in the Production of Portland Cement Mortars with Calcium Carbonate Additions
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(4), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11040875 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1189
Abstract
The paper presents the obtention and characterization of Portland cement mortars with limestone filler and nano-calcite additions. The nano-calcite was obtained by the injection of CO2 in a nano-Ca(OH)2 suspension. The resulted nano-CaCO3 presents different morphologies, i.e., polyhedral and needle [...] Read more.
The paper presents the obtention and characterization of Portland cement mortars with limestone filler and nano-calcite additions. The nano-calcite was obtained by the injection of CO2 in a nano-Ca(OH)2 suspension. The resulted nano-CaCO3 presents different morphologies, i.e., polyhedral and needle like crystals, depending on the initial Ca(OH)2 concentration of the suspension. The formation of calcium carbonate in suspensions was confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), complex thermal analysis (DTA-TG), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM and HRTEM). This demonstrates the viability of this method to successfully sequestrate CO2 in cement-based materials. The use of this type of nano-CaCO3 in mortar formulations based on PC does not adversely modify the initial and final setting time of cements; for all studied pastes, the setting time decreases with increase of calcium carbonate content (irrespective of the particle size). Specific hydrated phases formed by Portland cement hydration were observed in all mortars, with limestone filler additions or nano-CaCO3, irrespective of curing time. The hardened mortars with calcium carbonate additions (in adequate amounts) can reach the same mechanical strengths as reference (Portland cement mortar). The addition of nano-CaCO3 in the raw mix increases the mechanical strengths, especially at shorter hardening periods (3 days). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering)
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Review

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Review
Nano-Silica-Modified Concrete: A Bibliographic Analysis and Comprehensive Review of Material Properties
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(12), 1989; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12121989 - 09 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Several review studies have been performed on nano-silica-modified concrete, but this study adopted a new method based on scientometric analysis for the keywords’ assessment in the current research area. A scientometric analysis can deal with vast bibliometric data using a software tool to [...] Read more.
Several review studies have been performed on nano-silica-modified concrete, but this study adopted a new method based on scientometric analysis for the keywords’ assessment in the current research area. A scientometric analysis can deal with vast bibliometric data using a software tool to evaluate the diverse features of the literature. Typical review studies are limited in their ability to comprehensively and accurately link divergent areas of the literature. Based on the analysis of keywords, this study highlighted and described the most significant segments in the research of nano-silica-modified concrete. The challenges associated with using nano-silica were identified, and future research is directed. Moreover, prediction models were developed using data from the literature for the strength estimation of nano-silica-modified concrete. It was noted that the application of nano-silica in cement-based composites is beneficial when used up to an optimal dosage of 2–3% due to high pozzolanic reactivity and a filler effect, whereas a higher dosage of nano-silica has a detrimental influence due to the increased porosity and microcracking caused by the agglomeration of nano-silica particles. The mechanical strength might enhance by 20–25% when NS is incorporated in the optimal amount. The prediction models developed for predicting the strength of nano-silica-modified concrete exhibited good agreement with experimental data due to lower error values. This type of analysis may be used to estimate the essential properties of a material, therefore saving time and money on experimental tests. It is recommended to investigate cost-effective methods for the dispersion of nano-silica in higher concentrations in cement mixes; further in-depth studies are required to develop more accurate prediction models to predict nano-silica-modified concrete properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering)
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Review
Geopolymers vs. Cement Matrix Materials: How Nanofiller Can Help a Sustainability Approach for Smart Construction Applications—A Review
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(8), 2007; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11082007 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2090
Abstract
In the direction of reducing greenhouse emissions and energy consumption related to the activities of the cement and concrete industry, the increasingly popular concept of eco-sustainability is leading to the development and optimization of new technologies and low impact construction materials. In this [...] Read more.
In the direction of reducing greenhouse emissions and energy consumption related to the activities of the cement and concrete industry, the increasingly popular concept of eco-sustainability is leading to the development and optimization of new technologies and low impact construction materials. In this respect, geopolymers are spreading more and more in the cementitious materials field, exhibiting technological properties that are highly competitive to conventional Portland concrete mixes. In this paper, the mix design, mechanical properties, microstructural features, and mineralogical properties of geopolymer mixes are discussed, investigating the influence of the main synthesis parameters (curing regime, type of precursors, activator molarity, mix design) on the performance of the final product. Moreover, recent developments of geopolymer technology based on the integration of functional nanofillers are reported. The novelty of the manuscript is to provide a detailed collection of past and recent comparative studies between geopolymers and ordinary Portland concrete mixes in terms of strength properties, durability, fire resistance, and environmental impact by LCA analysis, intending to evaluate the advantages and limitations of this technology and direct research towards a targeted optimization of the material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cementitious Materials for Sustainable Building Engineering)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Sustainable building materials for Space Exploration
Authors: Marianna Rinaldi
Affiliation: Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
Abstract: To create a Moon manned outpost represents one of the milestone goal for the long-term perspectives for space exploration. Lunar surface contains all essential ingredients for geopolymers, which could be an efficient construction material for infrastructure on the moon. Geopolymers present environmental and functional benefits compared with traditional concretes, and are considered a valuable solution for high end applications on Earth and for space applications. In this paper the building materials and building technologies for space exploration will be review in view of a sustainable manufacturing concept.

Title: Application of artificial neural networks for prediction of properties of self-sensing concrete.
Authors: Sofija Kekez; et al
Affiliation: Katedra Inżynierii Budowlanej/Department of Structural Engineering Wydzial Budownictwa/Faculty of Civil Engineering Politechnica Śląska/Silesian University of Technology

Title: Nano-silica modified concrete: A bibliographic analysis and comprehensive review of material properties
Authors: Kaffayatullah Khan; Waqas Ahmad; Muhammad Nasir Amin; Sohaib Nazar
Affiliation: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa 31982, Saudi Arabia
Abstract: Several review studies have been performed on nano-silica modified concrete, but this study adopted a new method based on scientometric analysis of the literature. A scientometric analysis can deal with vast bibliometric data using a software tool to assess the various aspects of the literature. Conventional review studies have limitations in terms of their capacity to connect disparate portions of the literature in a comprehensive and accurate manner. The sources with the most articles, co-occurrences of keywords, the most prolific authors in terms of publications and citations, and areas actively involved in nano-silica concrete research are identified during the analysis. The Scopus database was used to extract bibliometric data for 1015 publications that were then analyzed using the VOSviewer application. In addition, this study highlighted and described the most significant segments in the research of nano-silica modified concrete. The challenges associated with using nano-silica are identified, and future research is directed. It was noted that the application of nano-silica in cement-based composites is beneficial when used up to an optimal dosage of 2-3% due to high pozzolanic reactivity and filler effect, whereas a higher dosage of nano-silica has a detrimental influence due to increased porosity and microcracking caused by the agglomeration of nano-silica particles. It is recommended to investigate the cost-effective methods for the dispersion of nano-silica in higher concentrations in cement mixes.

Title: An insight into durability, electrical and thermal behavior of cement-matrix materials engineered with graphene oxide: does the oxidation degree matter?
Authors: Francesca Romana Lamastra (1); Giampiero Montesperelli (1); Emanuele Galvanetto (2); Mehdi Chougan (1,3); Seyed Hamidreza Ghaffar (3,4); Mazen J Al-Kheetan (5); and Alessandra Bianco (1)
Affiliation: (1) Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Impresa “Mario Lucertini” and Consorzio INSTM Unità di Ricerca “Roma Tor Vergata”, Via del Politecnico, 00133, Roma, Italy (2) Università di Firenze, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale (DIEF), Via di Santa Marta 3, 50139 Firenze (3) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom (4) Applied Science Research Center, Applied Science Private University, Jordan (5) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Mutah University, Mutah, Karak, 61710, P.O. BOX 7, Jordan
Abstract: Due to global environmental concerns related to climate change, the need to improve the service life of civil structures and infrastructures is no longer postponable. Structural elements typically suffer service life decrease due to reduced durability, leading to poor environmental sustainability and high maintenance costs. Graphene Oxide Nano Sheets (GONSs) effectively dispersed in a cement matrix can promote hydration, refine the microstructure and improve interfacial bonding leading to enhance building materials performance including mechanical strength and transport properties. Cement-based nanocomposites engineered with GONSs were obtained using two commercial nanofillers, a GO water suspension, and a free-flowing GO nanopowder, characterized by different oxidation degrees (i.e., oxygen to carbon molar ratio), 0.55 and 0.45, respectively. The dosage of the 2D-nanofiller ranged between 0.01% by weight of cement, and 0.2 % by weight of cement. The electrical and thermal properties were assessed through the Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and Heat Flow Meter, respectively. Results were discussed and linked to micrometric porosity investigated by Micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) and transport properties as determined by Initial Surface Absorption Test (ISAT), Boil Water Saturation method (BWS), and Chloride Ion Penetration Test. Extra-low dosage mortars, especially those loaded with the lower oxidation degree (i.e.0.45GO), showed decreased permeability and improved barrier to chloride ion transport combined with enhanced thermal and electrical conductivity with respect to the control samples. Highlights: • Permeability properties were remarkably reduced for GO-modified samples; • At 28 days, most of the GO-modified mortars, showed a decreased resistivity by about 35% with respect to the control; • Thermal conductivity was greatly favored in samples loaded with GO of lower oxidation degree; the increase with respect to the control was around 57%.

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