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Innovative Materials in the Building Industry: Reducing Building Energy and Minimising Environmental Impacts

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 21579

Special Issue Editors

Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: concrete; building; building materials; ceramics; materials; material; characterization; nanomaterials; civil engineering materials; concrete technologies; construction material
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
CNR-ISAC
Interests: microclimatology; environmental sciences; comfort; conservation of cultural heritage; energy saving in historical and nonhistorical buildings
Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute, Dimičeva ulica 12, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: building materials; recycling; circular economy; enviromental aspects; soil remediation; LCA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague, 

The building and construction sector contributes up to 40% of CO2 emissions, consumes more than 50% of all extracted materials, and is the largest consumer of raw materials. The solutions to reduce these figures lie in i) a more efficient use of raw materials, both at the beginning and the end of their life cycle; ii) an industrial symbiosis, whereby waste from one sector can serve as a feed for another; and iii) the implementation of a circular economy approach in which all stages, including the design phase, consider how products can be retained in the chain for as long as possible, and, after a certain period of use, how they can be reused or recycled, thus maintaining or even increasing their initial value. Many national and international research projects deal with the topics described above, and they offer novel and efficient solutions in reducing the embedded energy, introducing novel functionalities, and minimizing the environmental impact throughout the life cycle of building materials and structures in buildings both new and old (including historical ones).

This Special Issue aims to cover recent research and advances in the field of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly building materials.

Contributions related to, but not limited to, the following topics are welcome:

  • Development of new energy-efficient building materials (e.g., insulating materials, bio-based building materials)
  • Development of new eco/green building materials for different construction applications
  • Recycled materials/industrial symbiosis (e.g., alkali-activated materials, immobilization of nonhazardous and hazardous waste in building composites, cascade recycling through the extraction of critical raw materials, soil stabilization, and soil remedy)
  • Innovative composites
  • Long-term performance of new and recycled building materials
  • Results from laboratory developments, up-scaling projects (EU and national projects, industrial projects), and case studies from relevant industrial projects
  • Circular economy approach and new business models in the building sector
  • Methodology and guidelines regarding the production and use of novel products in the field
  • Sustainability and life-cycle analysis (LCA) of building materials
  • Legislation and barriers restricting market uptake

Research articles, case studies, review papers, and short communications are welcome. We do hope that these contributions will give an overview of the best available praxis and, consequently, promote their application.

We would, therefore, like to invite you to submit your contributions to this Special Issue and to share this call for papers with your colleagues.

Dr. Vilma Ducman
Prof. Adriana Bernardi
Ass. Prof. Ana Mladenovic
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Materials 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 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

  • Energy-efficient building materials
  • Environmentally friendly building materials
  • Composites
  • Durability
  • Case studies
  • Circular economy
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • LCA
  • Legislation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 4949 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Crystalline Waterproofing Admixtures on the Self-Healing and Permeability of Concrete
Materials 2021, 14(8), 1860; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14081860 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3070
Abstract
This paper investigates the effectiveness of a specific crystalline waterproofing admixture (CWA) in concrete as a function of a water–binder ratio. Four concrete mixes with and without CWA were prepared; two of them with a water–binder ratio of 0.45 and two of them [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the effectiveness of a specific crystalline waterproofing admixture (CWA) in concrete as a function of a water–binder ratio. Four concrete mixes with and without CWA were prepared; two of them with a water–binder ratio of 0.45 and two of them with a water–binder ratio of 0.55. Water permeability and compressive strength were tested on hardened concrete specimens and self-healing of cracks over time was observed. Cement paste and CWA paste were prepared to clarify the results obtained on the concrete specimens. SEM and EDS and XRD and FTIR were performed on the hardened pastes to explain the mechanism of CWA working. The results show that the addition of CWA had no significant effect on the compressive strength of the concrete, but reduced the water penetration depth in the concrete, and the reduction was more effective for mixes with lower water–binder ratio. Regarding the self-healing effect, it can be concluded that the addition of CWA improves the crack healing in concrete, but the efficiency of self-healing is highly dependent on the initial crack width. The mechanisms involved in the reduction of water penetration depth and crack healing in concrete can be explained by different mechanisms; one is creation of the CSH gel from unreacted clinker grains, then formation carbonate, and additional mechanism is gel formation (highly expansive Mg-rich hydro-carbonate) from magnesium based additives. The presence of sodium silicate, which would transform into carbonate/bicarbonate, also cannot be excluded. Full article
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17 pages, 6148 KiB  
Article
Effect of Wood Biomass Ash Storage on the Properties of Cement Composites
Materials 2021, 14(7), 1632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14071632 - 26 Mar 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2007
Abstract
Since ash from wood biomass mostly ends up in landfills, recent research has focused on finding its economic and environmental added value as a potential new raw material in the construction industry. However, for wood ash to be used on an industrial scale [...] Read more.
Since ash from wood biomass mostly ends up in landfills, recent research has focused on finding its economic and environmental added value as a potential new raw material in the construction industry. However, for wood ash to be used on an industrial scale in construction, a strategy for its proper storage must be defined. Proper storage of WBA is important to ensure quality control for applications in cementitious composites. This work investigated the aging of wood biomass ash (WBA) collected from five different power plants in Croatia and its influence on the performance of cementitious composites. WBA and cement pastes were investigated at different aging times (up to one year) using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), isothermal calorimetry and initial and final setting times. The results showed that storage of WBA in closed and open containers resulted in carbonation and hydration of mainly free lime and periclase, respectively, which affected the reactivity and setting times of WBA cement pastes. Full article
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18 pages, 8510 KiB  
Article
Greener Solution to Waste Corn Stalks and Shortage of Asphalt Resource: Hydrochar Produced by Hydrothermal Carbonization as a Novel Performance Enhancer for Asphalt Binder
Materials 2021, 14(6), 1427; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14061427 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1974
Abstract
Utilization of waste corn stalks (CS) has seized extensive attention due to high annual output and hazardous impact of piling aside or direct combustion on environment. However, previously there has been a lot of emphasis on improvement of its energy efficiency as solid [...] Read more.
Utilization of waste corn stalks (CS) has seized extensive attention due to high annual output and hazardous impact of piling aside or direct combustion on environment. However, previously there has been a lot of emphasis on improvement of its energy efficiency as solid fuel while limited investigations are available which explore the possibility of applying corn stalks as performance enhancer in asphalt binder. The purpose of this study is to examine the potential of employing hydrochar as modifiers in asphalt binder by a series of experimental tests. In this study, two hydrochar were produced from corn stalks by a novel process called hydrothermal carbonization at a different reaction temperature. The two hydrochar and their responding hydrochar-modified asphalt (HCMA) were tested by chemical and rheological tests. Chemical analysis detected the interaction between hydrochar and binder factions, resulting in poor compatibility but satisfying anti-aging property. Even though hydrochar increased the viscosity of bitumen, implying worse workability, and caused poor storage stability, ameliorated performance of asphalt binder at high temperature by incorporating hydrochar was verified by various criteria such as higher performance grade (PG) failure temperature and lower non-recoverable creep compliance (Jnr). Moreover, higher reaction temperature makes hydrochar’s particles smaller and more homogeneous, which results in slightly lower enhanced high temperature performance, more satisfying workability, better storage stability, and greater anti-aging effect of hydrochar-modified asphalt. Eventually, this study provided a promising win-win solution to environment problems concerning corn stalk treatment and shortage of asphalt binder. Further exploration of methods to improve HCMA’s storage stability, real-scale corroboration on trial section and life cycle assessment of asphalt pavement containing hydrochar modifiers will be followed in the future. Full article
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18 pages, 7844 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study of High Performance Synchronous Grouting Materials Prepared with Clay
Materials 2021, 14(6), 1362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14061362 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1994
Abstract
Shield construction discharges a large amount of soil and muck. The utilization of discharged soil of shield always has high energy consumption and a low utilization rate. Meanwhile, synchronous grouting is a key process for shield tunneling. The current studies show that the [...] Read more.
Shield construction discharges a large amount of soil and muck. The utilization of discharged soil of shield always has high energy consumption and a low utilization rate. Meanwhile, synchronous grouting is a key process for shield tunneling. The current studies show that the synchronous grouting materials applied now generally have the problem of mismatching among filling property, fluidity, and consolidation strength. In order to study the feasibility of using the excavated soil produced by shield construction in clay stratum as synchronous grouting material, high performance synchronous grouting material was studied by taking red clay as an example, modified by epoxy resin. The fluidity, stability, and strength were measured to evaluate performance of the grout. Material test results show that the addition of waterborne epoxy resin decreases density, improves the stability, the rate of stone, and the toughness of the grouting concretion. Finally, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were measured to analyze the cementitious mechanism of the grout, test results demonstrated that cement hydration and curing reaction of epoxy resin happened in the grout, the formed polymer film filled the voids in the mixture and effectively bound cement hydration gel and clay particles together. Full article
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15 pages, 40242 KiB  
Article
Energy Performance Assessment of Innovative Building Solutions Coming from Construction and Demolition Waste Materials
Materials 2021, 14(5), 1226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14051226 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1786
Abstract
Prefabricated solutions incorporating thermal insulation are increasingly adopted as an energy conservation measure for building renovation. The InnoWEE European project developed three technologies from Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) materials through a manufacturing process that supports the circular economy strategy of the European [...] Read more.
Prefabricated solutions incorporating thermal insulation are increasingly adopted as an energy conservation measure for building renovation. The InnoWEE European project developed three technologies from Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) materials through a manufacturing process that supports the circular economy strategy of the European Union. Two of them consisted of geopolymer panels incorporated into an External Thermal Insulation Composite System (ETICS) and a ventilated façade. This study evaluates their thermal performance by means of monitoring data from three pilot case studies in Greece, Italy, and Romania, and calibrated building simulation models enabling the reliable prediction of energy savings in different climates and use scenarios. Results showed a reduction in energy demand for all demo buildings, with annual energy savings up to 25% after placing the novel insulation solutions. However, savings are highly dependent on weather conditions since the panels affect cooling and heating loads differently. Finally, a parametric assessment is performed to assess the impact of insulation thickness through an energy performance prediction and a cash flow analysis. Full article
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16 pages, 6122 KiB  
Article
Application of Innovative Ropes from Textile Waste as an Anti-Erosion Measure
Materials 2021, 14(5), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14051179 - 03 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1889
Abstract
Using materials from recycling is a key part of decreasing present-day waste. It is optimal for recycled material to be used in environmental protection. This paper presents the application of geotextile ropes in erosion protection of a slope of a gravel pit. To [...] Read more.
Using materials from recycling is a key part of decreasing present-day waste. It is optimal for recycled material to be used in environmental protection. This paper presents the application of geotextile ropes in erosion protection of a slope of a gravel pit. To protect the slope, thick ropes with a diameter of 120 mm made from wool and a mixture of recycled natural and synthetic fibers were used. After 47 months from installation, soil and rope specimens were taken from the slope parts with inclinations 1:1 and 1:1.8, and their physical and mechanical properties were determined. Direct shear tests were applied to determine the soil shear strength parameters in state at sampling and at Ic = 0 (unconsolidated and consolidated). Based on the obtained soil shear strength parameters, the loads on the ropes were determined, taking into account also unfavorable hydraulic conditions and compared to rope strength. It was shown that even after 47 months from installation, rope tension strength was higher as tension forces were induced in the ropes in every case. At present, whole slopes in protected sections are stabilized, without rills and gullies. Full article
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16 pages, 2012 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Prefabricated Geopolymeric Façade Cladding Panels Made from Large Fractions of Recycled Construction and Demolition Waste
Materials 2020, 13(18), 3931; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13183931 - 05 Sep 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3255
Abstract
The construction and demolition sector is one of the biggest consumers of natural resources in the world and consequently, one of the biggest waste producers worldwide. The proper management of construction and demolition waste (CDW) can provide major benefits for the construction and [...] Read more.
The construction and demolition sector is one of the biggest consumers of natural resources in the world and consequently, one of the biggest waste producers worldwide. The proper management of construction and demolition waste (CDW) can provide major benefits for the construction and recycling industry. However, the recycling rate of CDW is relatively low, as there is still a lack of confidence in the quality of recycled CDW materials. Therefore, new research projects are looking for innovative solutions within recycling of CDW in order to overcome uncertainties currently associated with the use of construction products made from recycled or re-used CDW. In this paper, a “cradle-to-cradle” life cycle assessment (LCA) study has been conducted to investigate the environmental performance of the prefabricated geopolymeric façade cladding panels made from large fractions of CDW. The LCA results indicate that the majority of the environmental burden arises within the manufacturing stage; however, the environmental burden can be reduced with simple optimisation of the manufacturing process. Furthermore, the environmental impact of the prefabricated geopolymeric façade cladding panels is generally lower than the environmental burden associated with the façade cladding panels made from virgin materials. Full article
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14 pages, 2735 KiB  
Article
On the Seismic Performance of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Self-Insulation Block Walls
Materials 2020, 13(13), 2942; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13132942 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2344
Abstract
Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) self-insulation block masonry is often used for the infill walls in steel and concrete frame structures. To work together with the frame under earthquake action, it is essential to understand the seismic behavior of AAC self-insulation block masonry walls. [...] Read more.
Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) self-insulation block masonry is often used for the infill walls in steel and concrete frame structures. To work together with the frame under earthquake action, it is essential to understand the seismic behavior of AAC self-insulation block masonry walls. In this paper, six AAC self-insulation block masonry walls were experimentally studied under the pseudo static test. The load-displacement hysteretic curves were drawn with the test data. The failure characteristics, loading capacity, stiffness degeneration, energy dissipation capacity and hysteretic behavior are analyzed. The results indicate that the blocks underwent internal failure due to the lower strength with a larger size, but the walls had good energy dissipation capacity with a rational bearing capacity. Accompanied by the influence of vertical compressive stress on the top surface of the walls, the cracking resistance, ultimate bearing capacity, deformability and energy dissipation capacity of the walls were affected by the masonry mortar joints. Comparatively, the walls with thin-layer mortar joints had better seismic performance than those with insulation mortar joints or with vertical joints filled by mineral wool plates. Finally, the shear capacity of the walls under seismic load is evaluated referring to the formulas of current design codes for masonry walls. Full article
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14 pages, 7755 KiB  
Article
Influence of the Acoustic Cover of the Modular Expansion Joint on the Acoustic Climate in the Bridge Structure Surroundings
Materials 2020, 13(12), 2842; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13122842 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2150
Abstract
The noise generated at the interface between the wheels of vehicles and the road surface is well recognized in the literature worldwide. Many publications describe the phenomenon of reducing this kind of impact by silent road surfaces. A specific type of this noise [...] Read more.
The noise generated at the interface between the wheels of vehicles and the road surface is well recognized in the literature worldwide. Many publications describe the phenomenon of reducing this kind of impact by silent road surfaces. A specific type of this noise is the sound generated by vehicles passing over the expansion joints of bridge structures. Due to the impulsive nature of this sound, it is very onerous for people living in the close vicinity of bridge structures. The passage of vehicles over expansion joints causes the formation of vibrations that are transmitted to the structural elements of bridge structures, which may cause the formation of the material sounds (especially arduous in the case of bridges with steel elements). An attempt to reduce this impact was made by making a prototype acoustic cover of the expansion joint on the selected bridge. The paper presents the results of research on the “in situ” acoustic effectiveness of this cover. Additionally, the noise was modelled in the object surroundings before and after the cover’s application. The acoustic efficiency of the cover in the whole measured frequency range was 5.3 dBA. In the narrower frequency bands (1/3 octave bands), larger sound level reductions were observed. The maximum sound levels measured under the tested dilatation were less than 10.0 dBA lower than the maximum sound levels measured under the reference dilatation. Full article
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