Special Issue "Sustainable Structural Design for High-Performance Buildings and Infrastructures"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marco Fasan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Trieste, Italy
Dr. Ajitanshu Vedrtnam
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Invertis University, India
Prof. Dr. Maged A. Youssef
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
Interests: structural fire engineering; earthquake engineering; smart materials
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Exceptional design loads on buildings and structures may have different causes, including high-strain natural hazards, man-made attacks, and accidents, as well as extreme operational conditions (severe temperature variations, humidity, etc.). All of these aspects can be critical for specific structural typologies and/or materials that are particularly sensitive to external conditions. In this regard, dedicated and refined methods are required for their design, analysis, and maintenance under the expected lifetime. Major challenges are related to the structural typology and material properties, with respect to the key features of the imposed design load. Further issues can be derived from the need for the mitigation or retrofit of existing structures, as well as from the optimal and safe design of innovative materials/systems. Finally, in some cases, no appropriate design recommendations are available, and thus, experimental investigations can have a key role within the overall process.

In this Special Issue, we want to focus on recent advancements and trends for sustainable design of high-performance buildings and structures.

Special attention will thus be given to new materials and systems, but also to buildings and infrastructures that can be subjected to extreme design loads during their lifetime. This can be the case of exceptional natural events (earthquakes, fire, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis), or unfavorable ambient conditions. The assessment of hazard and risk (seismic, tsunami, scour, etc.), associated with structures and civil infrastructure systems, is important for the preservation and protection of the built environment. New procedures, methods, and more precise rules for the safety design and protection of sustainable structures and infrastructure is, however, needed.

Up-to-date experience in assessment and condition inspection, monitoring, retrofitting, and maintenance of structures might not be considered suitable to facilitate confident decisions about the safety and reliability of structures. Reliably assessing structures helps to avoid failures and unnecessary decommissioning and leads to safer structures and better use of resources. Solving issues like efficient determination of structural and material properties, quantification of the impact of loading history, and load duration on structural performance is a key point in structural and civil engineering.

We thus invite the publication of original research studies, review papers, and experimental and/or numerical investigations on the mentioned topics. The analysis of sustainable structures is welcome at different levels, including material, component, and assembly aspects. Both new design projects or the retrofit and mitigation of existing structures, as well as case studies, will be of interest for this Special Issue.
Dr. Chiara Bedon
Dr. Mislav Stepinac
Dr. Marco Fasan
Dr. Ajitanshu Vedrtnam
Prof. Maged A. Youssef
Guest Editors

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. Sustainability 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 1900 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

  • structural systems
  • environmental and climate change
  • ambient conditions
  • vulnerability assessment
  • extreme design loads
  • experiments
  • numerical simulations
  • hazard
  • scour
  • infrastructure
  • sustainability
  • reliability
  • risk

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
On the Use of Cloud Analysis for Structural Glass Members under Seismic Events
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9291; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169291 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Current standards for seismic-resistant buildings provide recommendations for various structural systems, but no specific provisions are given for structural glass. As such, the seismic design of joints and members could result in improper sizing and non-efficient solutions, or even non-efficient calculation procedures. An [...] Read more.
Current standards for seismic-resistant buildings provide recommendations for various structural systems, but no specific provisions are given for structural glass. As such, the seismic design of joints and members could result in improper sizing and non-efficient solutions, or even non-efficient calculation procedures. An open issue is represented by the lack of reliable and generalized performance limit indicators (or “engineering demand parameters”, EDPs) for glass structures, which represent the basic input for seismic analyses or q-factor estimates. In this paper, special care is given to the q-factor assessment for glass frames under in-plane seismic loads. Major advantage is taken from efficient finite element (FE) numerical simulations to support the local/global analysis of mechanical behaviors. From extensive non-linear dynamic parametric calculations, numerical outcomes are discussed based on three different approaches that are deeply consolidated for ordinary structural systems. Among others, the cloud analysis is characterized by high computational efficiency, but requires the definition of specific EDPs, as well as the choice of reliable input seismic signals. In this regard, a comparative parametric study is carried out with the support of the incremental dynamic analysis (IDA) approach for the herein called “dynamic” (M1) and “mixed” (M2) procedures, towards the linear regression of cloud analysis data (M3). Potential and limits of selected calculation methods are hence discussed, with a focus on sample size, computational cost, estimated mechanical phenomena, and predicted q-factor estimates for a case study glass frame. Full article
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Article
Post-Earthquake Damage Assessment—Case Study of the Educational Building after the Zagreb Earthquake
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6353; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116353 - 03 Jun 2021
Viewed by 867
Abstract
In the wake of recent strong earthquakes in Croatia, there is a need for a detailed and more comprehensive post-earthquake damage assessment. Given that masonry structures are highly vulnerable to horizontal actions caused by earthquakes and a majority of the Croatian building stock [...] Read more.
In the wake of recent strong earthquakes in Croatia, there is a need for a detailed and more comprehensive post-earthquake damage assessment. Given that masonry structures are highly vulnerable to horizontal actions caused by earthquakes and a majority of the Croatian building stock is made of masonry, this field is particularly important for Croatia. In this paper, a complete assessment of an educational building in Zagreb Lower Town is reported. An extensive program of visual inspection and geometrical surveys has been planned and performed. Additionally, an in situ shear strength test is presented. After extensive fieldwork, collected data and results were input in 3Muri software for structural modeling. Moreover, a non-linear static (pushover) analysis was performed to individuate the possible failure mechanisms and to compare real-life damage to software results. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Mechanical Properties and Structural Morphology of Alkali-Activated Mortars with Industrial Waste Materials
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2062; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042062 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
Alkali-activated products composed of industrial waste materials have shown promising environmentally friendly features with appropriate strength and durability. This study explores the mechanical properties and structural morphology of ternary blended alkali-activated mortars composed of industrial waste materials, including fly ash (FA), palm oil [...] Read more.
Alkali-activated products composed of industrial waste materials have shown promising environmentally friendly features with appropriate strength and durability. This study explores the mechanical properties and structural morphology of ternary blended alkali-activated mortars composed of industrial waste materials, including fly ash (FA), palm oil fly ash (POFA), waste ceramic powder (WCP), and granulated blast-furnace slag (GBFS). The effect on the mechanical properties of the Al2O3, SiO2, and CaO content of each binder is investigated in 42 engineered alkali-activated mixes (AAMs). The AAMs structural morphology is first explored with the aid of X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy measurements. Furthermore, three different algorithms are used to predict the AAMs mechanical properties. Both an optimized artificial neural network (ANN) combined with a metaheuristic Krill Herd algorithm (KHA-ANN) and an ANN-combined genetic algorithm (GA-ANN) are developed and compared with a multiple linear regression (MLR) model. The structural morphology tests confirm that the high GBFS volume in AAMs results in a high volume of hydration products and significantly improves the final mechanical properties. However, increasing POFA and WCP percentage in AAMs manifests in the rise of unreacted silicate and reduces C-S-H products that negatively affect the observed mechanical properties. Meanwhile, the mechanical features in AAMs with high-volume FA are significantly dependent on the GBFS percentage in the binder mass. It is also shown that the proposed KHA-ANN model offers satisfactory results of mechanical property predictions for AAMs, with higher accuracy than the GA-ANN or MLR methods. The final weight and bias values given by the model suggest that the KHA-ANN method can be efficiently used to design AAMs with targeted mechanical features and desired amounts of waste consumption. Full article
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Article
Study on the Compressive Behaviour of Sustainable Cement-Based Composites under One-Hour of Direct Flame Exposure
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10548; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410548 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
Fire is a significant threat to human life and civil infrastructures. Builders and architects are hankering for safer and sustainable alternatives of concrete that do not compromise with their design intent or fire safety requirements. The aim of the present work is to [...] Read more.
Fire is a significant threat to human life and civil infrastructures. Builders and architects are hankering for safer and sustainable alternatives of concrete that do not compromise with their design intent or fire safety requirements. The aim of the present work is to improve the residual compressive performance of concrete in post-fire exposure by incorporating by-products from urban residues. Based on sustainability and circular economy motivations, the attention is focused on rubber tire fly ash, aged brick powder, and plastic (PET) bottle residuals used as partial sand replacement. The selected by-products from urban residues are used for the preparation of Cement-Based Composites (CBCs) in two different proportions (10% and 15%). Thermal CBC behaviour is thus investigated under realistic fire scenarios (i.e., Direct Flame (DF) for 1 h), by following the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 834 standard provisions, but necessarily resulting in nonuniform thermal exposure for the cubic specimens. The actual thermal exposure is further explored with a Finite Element (FE) model, giving evidence of thermal boundaries effects. The post-fire residual compressive strength of heated concrete and CBC samples is hence experimentally derived, and compared to unheated specimens in ambient conditions. From the experimental study, the enhanced post-fire performance of CBCs with PET bottle residual is generally found superior to other CBCs or concrete. The structure–property relation is also established, with the support of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) micrographs. Based on existing empirical models of literature for the prediction of the compressive or residual compressive strength of standard concrete, newly developed empirical relations for both concrete and CBCs are assessed. Full article
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Article
Effect of Corrosion in the Transverse Reinforcements in Concrete Beams: Sustainable Method to Generate and Measure Deterioration
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8105; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198105 - 01 Oct 2020
Viewed by 466
Abstract
A consistent method to generate and measure deterioration by corrosion in transverse reinforcements for concrete beams is presented and discussed in this work. This approach could be applied in other circumstances, such as bending, compression or combinations of stresses, with comparable results and [...] Read more.
A consistent method to generate and measure deterioration by corrosion in transverse reinforcements for concrete beams is presented and discussed in this work. This approach could be applied in other circumstances, such as bending, compression or combinations of stresses, with comparable results and therefore can be used to ensure sustainability. In marine environments, macro-cells are produced primarily from a transverse reinforcement, which works as an anode and therefore becomes a critical part of the structural analysis. To evaluate the adaptation efficiency of our proposed method, the corrosion potential, mass losses and cross-section reductions of the steel were measured. The shear stress behavior of the beams was investigated, including beam responses to load deformations, failure modes and cracking. The method ensured that all the beams exhibited a shear failure from diagonal stress with almost 50% less deflection when mechanically tested. The critical cross-sectional area, calculated according to the experimental diameter with the greatest cross-sectional loss due to the corrosion of the deteriorated stirrup, proved to be a reliable value for predicting the ultimate shear strength of concrete beams deteriorated by severe corrosion. A reduction of up to 30% in the shear strength of deteriorated versus non-deteriorated beams was found. Additional results showed that there is a correlation between the experimental and theoretical results and that the method is reproducible. Full article
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Article
Using Intelligence Green Building Materials to Evaluate Color Change Performance
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5630; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145630 - 13 Jul 2020
Viewed by 648
Abstract
Environmental protection is an important issue in modern society. Most construction demolition wastes cannot be easily decomposed, thus occupying a lot of space in landfill. Reducing the demand for new resources is an efficient approach to decrease the environmental burden. Most green buildings [...] Read more.
Environmental protection is an important issue in modern society. Most construction demolition wastes cannot be easily decomposed, thus occupying a lot of space in landfill. Reducing the demand for new resources is an efficient approach to decrease the environmental burden. Most green buildings are made from reused and recycled materials. Although there are a variety of green building materials available on the market, there is no material, as yet, with thermochromic functionality. This study used a form of face bricks, and six recovered materials, including wood chips, iron powder, fallen leaves, concrete, newspaper, and silt, to make smart green building materials. The modules were made in accordance with Taiwan’s green building material regulations. The discoloration efficiency of indoor and outdoor green building materials was tested, and the RGB (red, green, blue) values of the face bricks were measured by a color analyzer to observe the discoloration effect. The findings show that among the A, B, C, and D groups, Group D exhibited the optimal rate of change in color, and the rates of change in the six recycled waste materials of indoor Group D were wood chips > newspaper > fallen leaves > concrete > iron powder > silt, while the rates of change in the outdoor group were newspaper > wood chips > fallen leaves. This study successfully reused waste materials to reduce the environmental burden, achieve sustainable environmental protection, and ensure both the aesthetics and quality of the building materials. The results of this study can offer an alternative choice to architects or space designers when selecting green building materials. Full article
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Article
Heat of Hydration Stresses in Stainless-Steel-Reinforced-Concrete Sections
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4852; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124852 - 14 Jun 2020
Viewed by 731
Abstract
Stainless steel (SS) is increasingly used in construction due to its high strength and corrosion resistance. However, its coefficient of thermal expansion is different from that of concrete. This difference raises concerns about the potential for concrete cracking during the hydration process. To [...] Read more.
Stainless steel (SS) is increasingly used in construction due to its high strength and corrosion resistance. However, its coefficient of thermal expansion is different from that of concrete. This difference raises concerns about the potential for concrete cracking during the hydration process. To address this concern, a thermal-structural finite element model was developed to predict the stresses in SS-reinforced concrete (RC) sections during the hydration process. Different curing regimes were taken into consideration. The analysis was performed in two stages. First, a transient thermal analysis was performed to determine the temperature distribution within the concrete section as a function of concrete age and its thermal properties. The evaluated temperature distribution was then utilized to conduct stress analysis. The ability of the model to predict the stresses induced by the expansion of the bars relative to the surrounding concrete was validated using relevant studies by others. The model outcomes provide in-depth understanding of the heat of hydration stresses in the examined SS RC sections. The developed stresses were found to reach their peak during the first two days following concrete casting (i.e., when concrete strength is relatively small). Full article
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Article
Compressive Shear Strength of Reinforced Concrete Walls at High Ductility Levels
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4434; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114434 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 664
Abstract
The amount of energy dissipated during an earthquake depends on the type of failure of the concrete element. Shear failure should be avoided because less energy is spent than that due to bending failure. Compression controlled failure is usually avoided by increasing the [...] Read more.
The amount of energy dissipated during an earthquake depends on the type of failure of the concrete element. Shear failure should be avoided because less energy is spent than that due to bending failure. Compression controlled failure is usually avoided by increasing the thickness of a wall. Considering that the current code largely decreases this strength, this becomes hard to achieve in practice. Because of that, the analysis described in this paper is made to determine the reason for a large strength reduction at high curvatures. Mechanisms contributing to compression controlled shear strength are analysed. Using Rankine’s strength theorem, section equilibrium, arch mechanism and bending moment-curvature diagrams, the influence of different parameters are observed and charted. The findings are compared to the existing procedures and a new, simple and safe analytical equation is derived. Compression controlled shear strength is mainly influenced by axial force, followed by the amount of longitudinal reinforcement and the achieved confinement. Results show that the value of strength reduces significantly with the increase of ductility and that some reduction exists even for lower levels of curvature. Current code provisions may lead to unsafe design, so designers should be careful when dealing with potentially critical walls. Full article
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