Special Issue "Life Cycle Assessment in Materials Engineering and Sustainability"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Enda Crossin
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Australia
Interests: life cycle assessment; waste management; industrial ecology; sustainability management; decision making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The production, use and disposal of materials are a significant contributor to global and local environmental impacts. The use of life cycle assessment (LCA) continues to become more prevalent in research, industry and policy to address these environmental issues. However, the use and applicability of LCA is still limited by divergent modelling approaches, data gaps and challenges associated with variability across different scenarios and models.

This Special Issue aims to collect research papers which examine how these divergent issues could be addressed, in the context of materials engineering, to allow for a more fluid application of LCA to inform better environmental decisions.

Within the framework described above, this Special Issue invites authors to contribute with original research in the following fields:

  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of LCAs;
  • Streamlined LCA tools and approaches;
  • Reconciliation and simplification of different LCA modelling approaches;
  • Case-studies on how LCA has been used to affect positive environmental outcomes at different scales (e.g., micro- to macroscale changes);
  • Case studies in policy change arising from LCA.

In this Special Issue, the focus will be on environmental life cycle assessment of materials systems, which should consider all life cycle stages. The research papers should report the theoretical background, methodology, results, analysis and implications for applications of the outcomes to make a meaningful impact. At the end of the publication process, the guest editor of this Special Issue will provide a synthesis to distil the key messages from the presented works into practical guidance points on how best to use LCA in materials engineering and how best to utilize and aggregate divergent data and methods to improve LCA utility.

Dr. Enda Crossin
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. 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 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

  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Materials
  • Systematic review
  • Meta-analysis
  • Case studies
  • Life cycle tools (methodologies)

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Comparative Gate-to-Gate Life Cycle Assessment for the Alkali and Acid Pre-Treatment Step in the Chemical Recycling of Waste Cotton
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8613; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208613 - 17 Oct 2020
Abstract
The development of textile recycling solutions is an area of intense research and commercialization. Chemical recycling solutions are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to separate complex blends and retain or improve the value of the original fiber. The chemical recycling of [...] Read more.
The development of textile recycling solutions is an area of intense research and commercialization. Chemical recycling solutions are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to separate complex blends and retain or improve the value of the original fiber. The chemical recycling of cotton requires a pre-treatment step to reduce the degree of polymerization (DP). The DP can be reduced in a variety of ways, and here, the environmental footprints of two different pre-treatment approaches are examined using life cycle assessment (LCA); sodium hydroxide pre-treatment and sulphuric acid pre-treatment. We find that the acid pre-treatment has a significantly lower environmental footprint across all impact categories calculated. This is attributed to the lower treatment times required and the lower material and energy requirements for the manufacture of chemicals. The results were normalized to show the most significant impact categories for each pre-treatment, and further environmental implications of the pre-treatments are discussed. The findings will aid academia and industry in implementing the most environmentally benign processes in chemical cotton recycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Assessment in Materials Engineering and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Analysis of Sustainable and Traditional Cooling and Lubrication Strategies during Machining Processes
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208462 - 14 Oct 2020
Abstract
Due to rising demands of replacing traditional cooling strategies with sustainable cooling strategies, the development of sustainable strategies such as minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) of nano-cutting fluids (NCFs) is on the rise. MQL of NCFs has received a lot of attention due to [...] Read more.
Due to rising demands of replacing traditional cooling strategies with sustainable cooling strategies, the development of sustainable strategies such as minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) of nano-cutting fluids (NCFs) is on the rise. MQL of NCFs has received a lot of attention due to its positive impact on machining process efficiency. However, environmental and human health impacts of this strategy have not been fully investigated yet. This work aims to investigate the impacts of MQL of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), titanium dioxide (TiO2), and aluminum oxide (Al2O3) NCFs by employing a cradle-to-gate type of life cycle assessment (LCA). Besides, this paper provides a comparison of the impacts and machining performance when utilizing MQL of NCFs with other cooling strategies such as traditional flood cooling (TFC) of conventional cutting fluids and MQL of vegetable oils. It was found that NCFs have higher impacts than conventional cutting fluids and vegetable oils. The impacts of TiO2-NCF and MoS2-NCF were lower than the impacts of MWCNTs-NCF and Al2O3-NCF. MQL of NCFs presented higher impacts by 3.7% to 35.4% in comparison with the MQL of vegetable oils. TFC of conventional CFs displayed the lowest impact. However, TFC of conventional cutting fluids is contributing to severe health problems for operators. MQL of vegetable oils displayed higher impacts than TCFs of conventional cutting fluids. However, vegetable oils are considered to be environmentally friendly. According to the findings, the MQL of vegetable oils is the most sustainable strategy for machining processes with associated low/medium cutting temperatures. While MQL of TiO2 and MoS2 NCFs are the sustainable strategy for machining processes associated with high cutting temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Assessment in Materials Engineering and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Degradation Model for Concrete Deck of Bridge Using Pseudo-LSTM
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3848; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093848 - 08 May 2020
Abstract
The purpose of a bridge maintenance strategy is to make effective decisions by evaluating current performance and predicting future conditions of the bridge. The social cost because of the rapid increase in the number of decrepit bridges. The current bridge maintenance system relies [...] Read more.
The purpose of a bridge maintenance strategy is to make effective decisions by evaluating current performance and predicting future conditions of the bridge. The social cost because of the rapid increase in the number of decrepit bridges. The current bridge maintenance system relies on traditional man-power-based methods, which determine the bridge performance by employing a material deterioration model, and thus shows uncertainty in predicting the bridge performance. In this study, a new type of performance degradation model is developed using the actual concrete deck condition index (or grade) data of the general bridge inspection history database (1995–2017) on the national road bridge of the bridge management system in Korea. The developed model uses the long short-term memory algorithm, which is a type of recurrent neural network, as well as layer normalization and label smoothing to improve the applicability of basic data. This model can express the discrete historical degradation indices in continuous form according to the service life. In addition, it enables the prediction of bridge performance by using only basic information about new and existing bridges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Assessment in Materials Engineering and Sustainability)
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