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Special Issue "Sustainability and Materials"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. P.V. Kandachar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands
Interests: design; design thinking; inclusive innovation; well-being; emerging markets; development economics; sustainable development; social sustainability; technology; materials and manufacturing technology; design tools and methods; design strategy; user-centredness; entrepreneurship; research and development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Materials have close connection with real world challenges; they also are interlinked with sustainability, during the entire value chain, encompassing all major aspects of sustainability: social-, cultural-, economic-, and environmental. Many concepts of sustainability, like industrial ecology, life cycle assessment, eco-efficiency, as well as new thinking such as “Frugal innovation (doing more with less)”, “Cradle to Cradle”, “Biomimicry”, etc., are guiding the development of the next generation of materials, products, and processes.

During the last several decades, rapid economic growth has resulted in enormous material prosperity, but also in a substantial increase in environmental impacts and a rapid depletion of material resources, calling for austerity in resource-intensive applications and appropriate human behavior. Sustainable energy technologies, for instance, rely on materials at risk of supply disruptions in the short term, such as Critical Materials.

While sustainability is now the key driver of innovation, materials have a large role to play in achieving a transition to more sustainable planet. What are the ways materials are responding to challenges raised by the need for global sustainability? What are the implications for materials consumption, use and human behavior? Is material resource criticality an opportunity for sustainable innovations? How are materials and social sustainability related? How are businesses responding to the challenges of integrating simultaneously, culture, communities, environment, economy, green technologies, and materials? What are and should be the roles of scientists, designers, policy makers, etc.? Which multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches are being explored? New scientific, technological and policy insights, visions, principles and experiences addressing such questions and related issues form the essence of this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. P.V. Kandachar
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 2000 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

  • materials science and technology;
  • global sustainability;
  • consumption;
  • resource criticality;
  • human behavior;
  • multi-disciplinary approach;
  • design and sustainable innovations;
  • role of science;
  • economy and society

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Could Black Be the New Gold? Design-Driven Challenges in New Sustainable Luxury Materials for Jewelry
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010002 - 21 Dec 2017
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4485
Abstract
Is there a new material for use in jewelry, matching gold and precious stones, capable of maintaining the same perception of “preciousness” but that is also more sustainable, ethical, and inexpensive? This article deals with a case study within the European EcoDesign Network [...] Read more.
Is there a new material for use in jewelry, matching gold and precious stones, capable of maintaining the same perception of “preciousness” but that is also more sustainable, ethical, and inexpensive? This article deals with a case study within the European EcoDesign Network research project, aimed at investigating how sustainable design can help prestigious companies pinpoint new materials for the creation of jewelry, focusing on new and environmentally friendly opportunities while preserving their market position and target audience. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed. Adopting the exploring design path, a jewelry background analysis pointed out both stereotypes and possible innovations in the jewelry field: an analysis was carried out on the perception of jewels by a panel guided by a cognitive ergonomics specialist, also using the eye-tracking machine to examine participants’ reactions to the jewelry involved in the study, and to establish paradigms of sustainability, preciousness, and innovation. Several meta-project proposals regarding innovations in materials and finishing were hypothesized and tested, following the main guidelines and principles of ecodesign. Lastly, a prototyping phase and some mechanical tests were implemented to verify the hypotheses of innovation. The results allowed the creation of a first set of sustainable jewelry, currently on the market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Article
Cleaner Production Applied in a Small Furniture Industry in Brazil: Addressing Focused Changes in Design to Reduce Waste
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1867; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101867 - 18 Oct 2017
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 6532
Abstract
The wood industry is known for being among the biggest resource consumers, having a relatively low yield. The wood furniture industry as part of the wood industry also remains a big generator of residues and a big consumer of resources. Diverse solutions and [...] Read more.
The wood industry is known for being among the biggest resource consumers, having a relatively low yield. The wood furniture industry as part of the wood industry also remains a big generator of residues and a big consumer of resources. Diverse solutions and technologies have been developed to deal with the residues generated, but those technologies are mostly applied at the end of the production chain with limited results. Cleaner production represents a program based on continuous strategies applied to a more sustainable use of materials and energy, minimizing waste and pollution. This paper presents a case study of a cleaner production program developed in a small furniture industry in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, applying the concepts of cleaner production with parameters of ecodesign developed for the furniture industry. The object of study was the production of a wooden chair made from eucalyptus wood. The application of the cleaner production program and ecodesign parameters allowed a detailed characterization of the waste, resulting in opportunities for a reduction of the use of raw material by 30%, a reduction in waste by 49% and allowing a reduction in energy by 36% due to simplification of the productive process. Among the strategies applied were reshaping pieces, redesigning, and the substitution of materials. The results suggest that despite the existence of more complex environmental methods and approaches, the application of cleaner production plus ecodesign parameters could be more achievable for micro and small furniture industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Article
A Study of Lightweight Door Hinges of Commercial Vehicles Using Aluminum Instead of Steel for Sustainable Transportation
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101661 - 25 Sep 2017
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3667
Abstract
Recently, lightweight design concepts have come into prominence for vehicle industry, especially for economic and environmental sustainability. Vehicle manufacturers have investigated new material usage to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution as increasing concerns. On the other hand, new legal obligations and global [...] Read more.
Recently, lightweight design concepts have come into prominence for vehicle industry, especially for economic and environmental sustainability. Vehicle manufacturers have investigated new material usage to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution as increasing concerns. On the other hand, new legal obligations and global competition have accelerated this research and development process. Designing components with low-density materials is one the most common methods for reducing CO2 emissions. Among these materials, aluminum alloys stand out due to their adequate mechanical properties and specific strength. In this work, the study of lightening door hinges of a commercial vehicle is presented. To reduce the weight of vehicle door hinge, three different aluminum alloys are tried out and compared with steel. Finite element analysis (FEA) and experiments are conducted to determine if the safety requirements are fulfilled or not. According to results with an Al7075-T73 alloy, the weight of door hinge can be reduced by approximately 65%. Stress and strain values are suitable for FMVSS0206 standards. Additionally, it passed the corrosion test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Article
Sustainable Materialisation of Responsive Architecture
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9030435 - 16 Mar 2017
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 5560
Abstract
Natural organisms which employ inherent material properties to enable a passive dynamic response offer inspiration for adaptive bioclimatic architecture. This approach allows a move away from the technological intensity of conventional “smart” building systems towards a more autonomous and robust materially embedded sensitivity [...] Read more.
Natural organisms which employ inherent material properties to enable a passive dynamic response offer inspiration for adaptive bioclimatic architecture. This approach allows a move away from the technological intensity of conventional “smart” building systems towards a more autonomous and robust materially embedded sensitivity and climatic responsiveness. The actuation mechanisms of natural responsive systems can be replicated to produce artificial moisture-sensitive (hygromorphic) composites with the response driven by hygroexpansion of wood. The work presented here builds on previous research on lab-scale material development, to investigate in detail the applicability of wood-based hygromorphic materials for large-scale external applications. The suitability of different material production techniques and viability of potential applications is established through a detailed programme of experimentation and the first one-year-long durability study of hygromorphic wood composites in full weathering conditions. These results provide the basis for the design of an optimised responsive cladding system. The opportunities and challenges presented by building integration and architectural functionalisation of responsive wood composites are discussed based on a hierarchy of application typologies including functional devices and components, performance-oriented adaptive systems, the value of aesthetic and spatial experience and place-specific contextual integration. The design of the first full-scale building application of hygromorphic wood composites is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Article
Critical Review of the Material Criteria of Building Sustainability Assessment Tools
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020186 - 26 Jan 2017
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 3971
Abstract
Comparative analysis of the material criteria embedded in building sustainability assessment tools was performed. The material-related issues were identified, classified, and summarized. A framework, the triple bottom line of sustainability (environment, economy, and society), was used to examine the material assessment criteria, evaluation [...] Read more.
Comparative analysis of the material criteria embedded in building sustainability assessment tools was performed. The material-related issues were identified, classified, and summarized. A framework, the triple bottom line of sustainability (environment, economy, and society), was used to examine the material assessment criteria, evaluation parameters, and descriptions. The material criteria were evaluated to identify the current features and weaknesses as balanced material assessments for sustainable development. The criteria showed significant differences in their scopes in covering the social and economic aspects beyond the environmental aspect. For comprehensive sustainability assessment purposes, it is essential that adequate attention be paid to all three dimensions. Finally, this paper proposes the indicators of the sustainable material assessment from an analysis of all the material-related items. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Cost Analysis of Magnesia Spinel Brick Production
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8070662 - 20 Jul 2016
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3898
Abstract
Sustainable use of natural resources in the production of construction materials has become a necessity both in Europe and Turkey. Construction products in Europe should have European Conformity (CE) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), an independently verified and registered document in line with [...] Read more.
Sustainable use of natural resources in the production of construction materials has become a necessity both in Europe and Turkey. Construction products in Europe should have European Conformity (CE) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), an independently verified and registered document in line with the European standard EN 15804. An EPD certificate can be created by performing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study. In this particular work, an LCA study was carried out for a refractory brick production for environmental assessment. In addition to the LCA, the Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis was also applied for economic assessment. Firstly, a cradle-to-gate LCA was performed for one ton of magnesia spinel refractory brick. The CML IA method included in the licensed SimaPro 8.0.1 software was chosen to calculate impact categories (namely, abiotic depletion, global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, human toxicity, ecotoxicity, ozone depletion potential, and photochemical oxidation potential). The LCC analysis was performed by developing a cost model for internal and external cost categories within the software. The results were supported by a sensitivity analysis. According to the results, the production of raw materials and the firing process in the magnesia spinel brick production were found to have several negative effects on the environment and were costly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Review

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Review
Material Services with Both Eyes Wide Open
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1508; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091508 - 24 Aug 2017
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4178
Abstract
Energy has been at the forefront of the sustainable development discourse for quite some time as policymakers, industry heads and society at large have taken progressive steps to cut carbon via renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. Unfortunately, some of these methods [...] Read more.
Energy has been at the forefront of the sustainable development discourse for quite some time as policymakers, industry heads and society at large have taken progressive steps to cut carbon via renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. Unfortunately, some of these methods have given rise to perverse socio-environmental effects; as materials have been unnecessarily sacrificed, mines and wells have opened and plantations grown, in the name of energy saving. This paper contributes to clean energy-orientated policies and practices by exploring the discipline of sustainable materials. We first review two strategies: energy efficiency linked to materials; and material efficiency, meaning “doing more with less.” We find that, although both contribute significantly, they are hampered by the rebound effect and their focus on “doing less bad” rather than “good”. Furthermore, they do not in themselves evaluate the services and societal wellbeing that materials provide. We then define “material services” and propose a wider strategy that encompasses and enhances the previous two. Under the new strategy, we argue that sustainable materials should be considered as those that do no harm and which optimally, through the services provided, contribute to better sustainable development policies and practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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