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Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 46557

Special Issue Editor

Faculty of Computing, School of Engineering, Engineering and Science, University of South Wales, Pontypridd CF37 1DL, UK
Interests: low-carbon technology; sustainability; cement; concrete; bricks; blocks; geopolymers; soil stabilization; suppression of expansion; freezing and thawing; waste utilization; microstructural analysis; life cycle inventory; ground granulated blastfurnace slag; pulverized fuel ash; silica fume
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The building and construction sector has been identified by most governments worldwide as being responsible for between 50 and 60% of carbon emissions. This percentage is set to increase significantly as energy usage increases worldwide. The drive to cut carbon emissions to the point where society is making a “Net Zero” contribution to carbon levels is essential to secure our future on this planet. In addition, the future of humanity and biodiversity is our biggest global challenge, wrapped up in the climate emergency. It is imperative that new sustainable construction and building material development has the possibility of unlocking the solutions to the current global challenges. This Special Issue brings together techniques and concepts from various distinct works, to examine, explore, and critically engage with issues and advances in sustainable construction and building materials that can both provide several environmental benefits and create cost-effective products. The papers collected in this Special Issue can help researchers and practicing engineers, construction and building material scientists, and low-carbon and sustainability practitioners to find more advanced techniques and alternative approaches towards sustainable construction and building material development.

Dr. Jonathan Oti
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 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. 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 2400 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

  • green building materials
  • ecofriendly solutions
  • durability and aging materials
  • embodied energy
  • low energy
  • recycling and reusability
  • structural health assessment
  • lifecycle assessment
  • natural materials
  • brick
  • blocks cement
  • concrete
  • lime
  • polymers
  • clay

Published Papers (26 papers)

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17 pages, 13165 KiB  
Article
Effects of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Recycled Fine Aggregates on the Multi-Generational Cycle Properties of Reactive Powder Concrete
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2084; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052084 (registering DOI) - 02 Mar 2024
Viewed by 243
Abstract
In order to investigate the effect of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on the recyclable properties of multi-generation recycled concrete, the physical properties of multi-generation recycled fine aggregate and the mechanical properties of multi-generation recycled concrete with different dosages of MWCNTs were tested, and [...] Read more.
In order to investigate the effect of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on the recyclable properties of multi-generation recycled concrete, the physical properties of multi-generation recycled fine aggregate and the mechanical properties of multi-generation recycled concrete with different dosages of MWCNTs were tested, and the enhancement mechanism was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results showed that the apparent density of multi-generation recycled fine aggregate with 0.05 wt% MWCNTs was increased by 1.04~2.03%, the crushing value was decreased by 38.21~49.45%, the compressive strength of the concrete prepared by it was increased by 11.11~18.96%, the splitting tensile strength was increased by 10~43.94%, the flexural strength was increased by 13.62~22.23%, and the mechanical properties were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Combined with the scanning electron microscope image analysis, the MWCNTs can fill the pores inside the specimen, bridge the cracks, and retard the decrease in concrete strength after multi-generation recycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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31 pages, 4890 KiB  
Article
Recycled Sand and Aggregates for Structural Concrete: Toward the Industrial Production of High-Quality Recycled Materials with Low Water Absorption
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020814 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Concrete recycling to produce aggregates is crucial in reducing the demand for virgin materials in the construction industry, particularly for the most widely used building material—concrete. A potential solution to enhance the quality of recycled aggregates involves the removal of the adhered cement [...] Read more.
Concrete recycling to produce aggregates is crucial in reducing the demand for virgin materials in the construction industry, particularly for the most widely used building material—concrete. A potential solution to enhance the quality of recycled aggregates involves the removal of the adhered cement paste from their surfaces. In this study, samples of industrial demolished concrete were selectively separated into recycled sands and aggregates while removing the hydrated cement paste. The recycled materials were characterized to assess their suitability for structural concrete production. The behavior and underlying mechanisms of recycled sands and aggregates proved to be identical, irrespective of their size. Water absorption emerged as a key parameter for evaluating the purity and quality of these materials. The statistical analysis revealed that when the water absorption of recycled aggregates and sand falls below 5%, the compressive strength may, at most, decrease by 15% (97.5% confidence) at any replacement level. Consequently, they can entirely replace virgin materials without a significant negative impact on fresh or hardened concrete properties at a constant cement content. Concrete samples with recycled materials had comparable workability, strength, and durability characteristics to references with virgin materials. The production of high-quality recycled aggregates and sand can facilitate complete concrete recycling and hence significantly contribute to virgin materials preservation, thus making concrete more sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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17 pages, 1476 KiB  
Article
Unearthing the Construction Industry’s Awareness of and Reactions to the Global Sand Crisis
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15637; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115637 - 05 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1114
Abstract
The United Nations has declared a global sand crisis. The construction industry, as a major user of sand, needs to significantly reduce the use of this finite natural resource. The purpose of this study is to measure the level of awareness of the [...] Read more.
The United Nations has declared a global sand crisis. The construction industry, as a major user of sand, needs to significantly reduce the use of this finite natural resource. The purpose of this study is to measure the level of awareness of the sand crisis among construction industry professionals, to assess their reactions upon learning of the crisis, and to determine sources of information for those who are aware of the crisis. The Cognitive-Affective-Conative model was applied as the theoretical framework. The study is based on a survey and in-depth interviews with 75 construction industry professionals in the United States and Canada. Analyses included level of awareness by professional role and by reaction, as well as level of awareness by role and by type of information. Results showed that knowledge of the sand crisis was generally low. A content analysis of interview transcripts categorized five reactions to the crisis. These results suggest that generally across all roles, those with more familiarity with the sand crisis had reactions of proactive and feel bad while those with less familiarity expressed curiosity and surprise. Denial was expressed by a few. Recommendations include: First, greater efforts are required to inform construction industry professionals of the need to reduce the use of sand. Second, it is important to determine reactions upon learning of the crisis in order to generate interest and galvanize action. Third, determining the source of knowledge can help assess effective ways of broadly disseminating information to the construction industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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19 pages, 6376 KiB  
Article
Flexural Strength of High-Performance Soil-Cement: A New, Alternative, Sustainable Construction Material
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15369; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115369 - 27 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
Soil-cement is a building material that is considered low-cost and has a low environmental impact. Despite its benefits, performance optimisation studies are scarce compared to other materials such as concrete. The possibility of obtaining soil-cement with improved characteristics, such as flexural strength, would [...] Read more.
Soil-cement is a building material that is considered low-cost and has a low environmental impact. Despite its benefits, performance optimisation studies are scarce compared to other materials such as concrete. The possibility of obtaining soil-cement with improved characteristics, such as flexural strength, would enable the increased use of this product in new applications in construction. The aim of this study is to produce high-performance soil-cement (HPSC) specimens and to evaluate and compare this new material with high-performance concrete (HPC) in terms of flexural strength. A total of 12 specimens were produced with a mixture of 23.5% (by mass) of cement with the application of 10 MPa of pressure for its compaction. The results show that, at 28 days, the specimens reached an average strength of 6.73 MPa and, at 240 days, 12.34 MPa. This means that the HPSC reached a flexural strength resistance equivalent to HPC without the need for mined materials, such as sand and gravel, or the additives adopted in some doses of HPC, such as superplasticisers. Therefore, when using local soil, HPSC can be considered an environmentally preferable alternative to HPC for many construction applications where flexural strength is a requirement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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19 pages, 3150 KiB  
Article
Influence of Lime on Strength of Structural Unreinforced Masonry: Toward Improved Sustainability in Masonry Mortars
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15320; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115320 - 26 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1577
Abstract
The choice of a sustainable construction material needs to take into account not just the environmental impact of the material, but according to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the UN, one also needs to consider ease of access, the utilization of [...] Read more.
The choice of a sustainable construction material needs to take into account not just the environmental impact of the material, but according to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the UN, one also needs to consider ease of access, the utilization of locally available materials, and the durability and reliability of the construction itself. Mortared masonry has been used around the world for several hundred years as an accessible type of construction. In masonry mortars, lime and cement are often integrated together for combined advantages: enhanced workability, breathability, and better environmental performance due to the former, and higher strength and shorter setting duration due to the latter. However, despite being extensively studied for their effects on the mechanical properties of mortar, not much is known about the impact of varying lime and cement ratios in the binder on the mechanical performance of masonry as a whole. Variations in the properties of mortars do not always have a significant impact on the mechanical behavior of masonry structures. Therefore, this article details an experimental campaign to measure the compressive strength, E-modulus, flexural strength, and shear bond strength of masonry samples containing two distinct lime–cement mortars (1:2:9 and 1:1:6 cement:lime:sand) and one cement mortar (1:0:5). The results show that more than the presence of lime in the mortar, the strength of the mortar influenced the flexural strength of the masonry ranging from 0.1 to 1.2 MPa. No discernable correlation was observed between the presence of lime in the mortar and the cohesion in the masonry (0.29 to 0.41 MPa). The values of the compressive strength (6.0 to 7.2 MPa) and E-modulus (3.8 to 4.5 GPa) of the masonry decreased and pre-peak ductility increased with an increase in the quantity of lime in the mortar. The recommendations of Eurocode 6 for the flexural strength of the initial shear bond strength were found to be conservative for different mortar strength classes, and significantly unconservative for compressive strength (by 50% to 70%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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22 pages, 47580 KiB  
Article
Confinement of Concrete Using Banana Geotextile-Reinforced Geopolymer Mortar
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 6037; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15076037 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1868
Abstract
Geopolymer, a sustainable alternative to ordinary Portland cement (OPC), offers reduced embodied energy, lower carbon emissions, enhanced durability, eco-compatibility, and waste valorization potential. In confining structural members, geopolymer still has limitations with respect to its brittleness and other properties. Enhancing the properties of [...] Read more.
Geopolymer, a sustainable alternative to ordinary Portland cement (OPC), offers reduced embodied energy, lower carbon emissions, enhanced durability, eco-compatibility, and waste valorization potential. In confining structural members, geopolymer still has limitations with respect to its brittleness and other properties. Enhancing the properties of geopolymer by adding banana fibers (BF) and fly ash (FA) to form banana geotextile-reinforced geopolymer mortar (BGT-RGM) as confining material, is investigated in this experimental study. BGT-RGM is a textile-reinforced mortar with varying thickness of BF-reinforced geopolymer mortar (BFRGM) through NaOH-treated 10 mm BFs and 2 mm banana geotextile (BGT) having varied grid spacings. To develop BGT-RGM, the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of the BFs were determined, while BFRGMs were evaluated for compressive and dog-bone tensile strengths, workability, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The BGT-RGM-confined and unconfined concrete were evaluated, and the strength variations were imparted by the confinement as reflected on the stress-strain curves. The local crack formation mode of failure was also determined through crack patterns during an axial load test. The BGT-RGM with 20 mm thickness of BFRGM with 15 mm and 20 mm geotextile grid spacings, exhibited 33.3% and 33.1% increases in strength, respectively. Future investigations towards the development and application of BGT-RGM are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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26 pages, 3510 KiB  
Article
Characterizing Harbor Dredged Sediment for Sustainable Reuse as Construction Material
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 1834; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15031834 - 18 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1692
Abstract
An unprecedented rate of construction has profoundly increased the risk of scarcity of natural resources and threatened ecosystem sustainability. To establish an effective sustainable development policy, it is imperative to promote the use of responsible production channels, including waste recycling. Reuse of harbor [...] Read more.
An unprecedented rate of construction has profoundly increased the risk of scarcity of natural resources and threatened ecosystem sustainability. To establish an effective sustainable development policy, it is imperative to promote the use of responsible production channels, including waste recycling. Reuse of harbor dredged sediment is commonly investigated as a valuable alternative to non-renewable natural resources needed for construction. Sediment characterization is decisive in the valorization process, aiming to identify potential recycling paths. Existing research efforts, however, have rarely investigated case studies in developing countries. Moreover, they have tended to focus on the technical aspects, ignoring economic feasibility, which carries important implications. This paper fills this gap first by meticulously selecting laboratory tests for characterization within the means available in developing countries and second by conducting a cost-benefit analysis. The port of Safi, Morocco, was chosen for the implementation of the adopted approach. Results showed that dredged sediment is a sand readily reusable as a construction aggregate. Several applications are possible, the most interesting one being concrete works, as a substitute for conventional sand. While treatment by washing and dehydrating proved necessary, cost-benefit analysis confirmed the profitability of recycling. Hence, beneficial reuse of dredged sediment as construction material is technically and economically feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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29 pages, 10096 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Structural Performance of Low Carbon Concrete
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16765; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416765 - 14 Dec 2022
Viewed by 2034
Abstract
Evaluation of the effect of embodied carbon reduction using an optimized design section for a ground beam, use of supplementary cementitious materials, and replacement of normal aggregate with light weight aggregate on the mechanical properties of low-carbon concrete was carried out. A creep [...] Read more.
Evaluation of the effect of embodied carbon reduction using an optimized design section for a ground beam, use of supplementary cementitious materials, and replacement of normal aggregate with light weight aggregate on the mechanical properties of low-carbon concrete was carried out. A creep coefficient of 0.019 was estimated for a 365-day period on a change in section from 1 to 0.6 m2 on a proposed trapezoidal section for ground beam, which showed a negligible difference when compared to the normal rectangular section owing to a reduction in embodied carbon due to the associated reduction in concrete volume and reinforcement. Training of 81 low-carbon concrete data sets in MATLAB using artificial neural network for 100% cement replacement with ground granular base slag indicates good performance with a mean square error of 0.856. From the study, it was observed that the extent of carbonation depth in concrete evidenced the measure of compressive strength formation based on the specific surface area of the binder and the water absorption rate of the aggregate, while enhancing the flexural strength of the low-carbon concrete required a cement-to-supplementary-cementitious-material ratio of 0.8. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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19 pages, 6355 KiB  
Article
Deep Insights into the Radiation Shielding Features of Heavy Minerals in Their Native Status: Implications for Their Physical, Mineralogical, Geochemical, and Morphological Properties
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 16225; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142316225 - 05 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Barite and hematite are the most common heavy-weight minerals applied as aggregates in radiation shielding concrete (RSC). Therefore, to limit the cement consumption and reduce the CO2 emissions accompanying its production, the aim of this study is to use Egyptian barite and [...] Read more.
Barite and hematite are the most common heavy-weight minerals applied as aggregates in radiation shielding concrete (RSC). Therefore, to limit the cement consumption and reduce the CO2 emissions accompanying its production, the aim of this study is to use Egyptian barite and hematite minerals in their native status and evaluate their attenuation efficiency against fast neutrons and γ-rays. This was implemented through the measurement of their radiation attenuation against fast neutrons and γ-rays in the energy ranges of 0.80–11 and 0.40–8.30 MeV, respectively, employing a Pu-Be source and a stilbene scintillator. Theoretical calculations were prepared using the NXcom program to validate the fast neutron attenuation measurements. Furthermore, the implications of the physical, mineralogical, geochemical, and morphological characteristics of these heavy-weight minerals with respect to their attenuation efficiencies were considered. We found that barite has superior radiation attenuation efficiency for fast neutrons and γ-rays compared to hematite by 9.17 and 51% for fast neutrons and γ-rays, respectively. This was ascribed to the superior physical, mineralogical, geochemical, and morphological properties of the former relative to those of the latter. Furthermore, a satisfactory agreement between the experimental and theoretical results was achieved, with a deviation of 16 and 19.25% for the barite and hematite samples, respectively. Eventually, barite and hematite can be successful candidates for their use as sustainable alternatives to common RSC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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18 pages, 16314 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Properties and Drying Shrinkage of Alkali-Activated Coal Gangue Concrete
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14736; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214736 - 09 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1002
Abstract
The feasibility of composite-activated coal gangue (CACG) as the primary cementitious material for concrete was experimentally studied in this paper. The effects of concrete strength grade on slump and slump flow, compressive strength, splitting tensile strength, axial compressive strength, elastic modulus, and drying [...] Read more.
The feasibility of composite-activated coal gangue (CACG) as the primary cementitious material for concrete was experimentally studied in this paper. The effects of concrete strength grade on slump and slump flow, compressive strength, splitting tensile strength, axial compressive strength, elastic modulus, and drying shrinkage of alkali-activated coal gangue concrete (AACGC) were experimentally investigated. Experimental results indicated that the slump and slump flow of the AACGC were smaller than that of ordinary Portland cement concrete (OPCC). The mechanical properties of the AACGC were superior to those of the OPCC. The compressive strength, splitting tensile strength, axial compressive strength, and elastic modulus of the AACGC were 1.17 times, 1.04 times, 1.47 times, and 1.04 times those of the OPCC, respectively. With the increase in concrete strength grade, the mechanical properties of the AACGC have gradually increased. The difference in failure modes of axial compressive strength between the AACGC and OPCC was analyzed. Moreover, the empirical formulas of the elastic modulus and compressive strength for the OPCC in various regions codes were summarized, and found that the empirical formula in GB 50010-2002 code and EN 1922 Eurocode 2 was also applicable to the AACGC. Finally, the mass-loss rate and drying shrinkage for the AACGC at different concrete strength grades were systematically analyzed, and a hyperbolic prediction model was proposed to reflect the drying shrinkage behavior of the AACGC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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22 pages, 1939 KiB  
Article
A Hybrid Fuzzy MCDM Methodology for Optimal Structural System Selection Compatible with Sustainable Materials in Mass-Housing Projects
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013559 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1490
Abstract
The present paper aimed to propose a new support approach to choosing the optimal structural system in accordance with sustainable materials in mass-housing projects. To this end, an integrated fuzzy multi-criteria-decision-making (fuzzy MCDM) method was used to identify the criteria affecting sustainable material [...] Read more.
The present paper aimed to propose a new support approach to choosing the optimal structural system in accordance with sustainable materials in mass-housing projects. To this end, an integrated fuzzy multi-criteria-decision-making (fuzzy MCDM) method was used to identify the criteria affecting sustainable material selection. The proposed approach consists of a three-phase protocol: In phase I, the literature was used to create a database encompassing 42 factors affecting the selection of materials. These factors were classified as four indicators (economic, environmental, socio-cultural, technical-executive) in accordance with the sustainable development aspects. In phase II, the fuzzy Delphi method (FDM) was used to screen the key factors. In phase III, an integrated fuzzy SWARA–ARAS method was used to prioritize the optimal structural system for a case project: evidence from Iran. The results of selecting the structural systems based on 14 efficient key factors showed that the Light Steel Frame (LSF), Insulation Concrete framework (ICF), and the Prefabricated Reinforced Concrete System (PRC) systems have the highest priority to achieve the goals of sustainable material selection, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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13 pages, 3853 KiB  
Article
Dry–Wet Cyclic Sulfate Attack Mechanism of High-Volume Fly Ash Self-Compacting Concrete
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13052; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013052 - 12 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 959
Abstract
High-volume fly ash replacing cement helps to improve the fluidity, volume stability, durability, and economy of self-compacting concrete (SCC). Sulfate attack is the most common form of the durability damage of hydraulic concrete; in particular, the performance degradation at the water level change [...] Read more.
High-volume fly ash replacing cement helps to improve the fluidity, volume stability, durability, and economy of self-compacting concrete (SCC). Sulfate attack is the most common form of the durability damage of hydraulic concrete; in particular, the performance degradation at the water level change position is more significant. Therefore, research on the influence effect and mechanism of fly ash on the durability is of great significance. In this paper, the change regularity of the SCC physical and mechanical properties with the fly ash replacement percentage and dry–wet cycles were studied by 60 dry–wet cycles of sulfate attack test. The 6 h electric flux, MIP, and SEM were used to study the performance degradation mechanism of SCC cured for 56 days, which had also been attacked by sulfate. The results show that the physical and mechanical properties of SCC increased first and then decreased with the dry–wet cycles of sulfate attack. After 10–15 cycles, the corresponding properties increased slightly, and then decreased gradually. When the fly ash content was 40%, the corrosion resistance coefficient, relative dynamic elastic modulus, and flexural strength retention were higher than those of the control specimen. However, when the fly ash content was 50%, they were close to the control and deteriorated obviously with the further addition of fly ash. For pore sizes in the range of 120–1000 nm, the porosity of SCC cured for 56 days was inversely proportional to the 6 h electric flux and the retention of mechanical properties, indicating that the porosity of the large pores is the decisive factor affecting the chloride ion permeability and corrosion resistance. The incorporation of fly ash in SCC can change the sulfate attack products and destruction mechanism. The sulfate attack damage of SCC with 40% of fly ash and the control specimen was dominated by ettringite crystallization and expansion, while those with a fly ash content of 50% and 60% had no obvious corrosion products, and the microstructures became looser. The appropriate fly ash replacement percentage could significantly improve the corrosion resistance of SCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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23 pages, 8394 KiB  
Article
Performance of Sustainable Road Pavements Founded on Clay Subgrades Treated with Eco-Friendly Cementitious Materials
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12588; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912588 - 03 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1742
Abstract
Clays encountered during road construction are mostly weak and result in major pavement failures due to their low California bearing ratio (CBR) and high swelling potential. In this study, sustainable and eco-friendly waste materials including brick dust waste (BDW), ground granulated blastfurnance slag [...] Read more.
Clays encountered during road construction are mostly weak and result in major pavement failures due to their low California bearing ratio (CBR) and high swelling potential. In this study, sustainable and eco-friendly waste materials including brick dust waste (BDW), ground granulated blastfurnance slag (GGBS), recycled plastic (RP) and recycled glass (RG) at varying proportions of 11.75% and 23.5% were used as partial replacement for cement and lime in clay treatment. After determining the water content by conducting Atterberg limit and compaction test, A CBR and swell characteristics of treated and untreated clay were also conducted. A road pavement design was conducted using the Design Manual for Road and Bridges (DMRB) as a guide to determine the performance of treated clay with varying CBR values. A road pavement failure analysis was also conducted to understand the defect formation within pavement structures supported by eco-friendly treated clay. The embodied carbon of treated clay was calculated and a life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) of flexible pavement with treated clay and road with imported materials was conducted. The results show a liquid limit of 131.26 and plastic limit of 28.74 for high plasticity index (clay 1) and liquid limit of 274.07 and a plastic limit of 45.38 for extremely high plasticity index (clay 2). An increase in CBR values from 8% and 9% to 57% and 97% with a reduction in swell values from 4.11% and 5.03% to 0.38% and 0.56% were recorded. This resulted in a reduction in pavement thickness and stresses within the road pavement leading to reduced susceptibility of the pavement to fatigue, rutting and permanent deformation. Very low embodied carbon was recorded for eco-friendly treated clay and a high life cycle cost (LCC) with clay removed and replaced with imported materials compared with clay treated using eco-friendly waste materials. The study concluded that carbon and overall construction costs can be reduced using waste materials in road construction. Owners and operators can save money when clay is treated and used in road construction instead of removing clay and replacing it with imported materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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12 pages, 4301 KiB  
Article
Influence of Basalt Fiber on Mechanical Properties and Microstructure of Rubber Concrete
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12517; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912517 - 30 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
The utilization of waste rubber in concrete will reduce pollution and improve the efficiency of resource utilization. The effects of rubber particles and basalt fibers on the compressive strength and splitting tensile strength of concrete were investigated. In addition, the influence of basalt [...] Read more.
The utilization of waste rubber in concrete will reduce pollution and improve the efficiency of resource utilization. The effects of rubber particles and basalt fibers on the compressive strength and splitting tensile strength of concrete were investigated. In addition, the influence of basalt fibers on the mechanical properties and micropore structure of rubber concrete (RC) were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray computed tomography (CT). The distribution of rubber particles in concrete was also studied. The results indicate that the effects of basalts fibers on the mechanical properties of rubber concrete were significant. The rubber particles were evenly distributed in the concrete. Compared with normal concrete (NC), rubber concrete with 10% rubber particles had lower compressive strength and splitting tensile strength. Compared with rubber concrete, basalt fiber rubber concrete (BFRC) with 2% basalt fibers had no obvious effect on the compressive strength, while significantly improving the splitting tensile strength, refining the pores of rubber concrete, and reducing the porosity of the matrix. The effects of basalt fiber on the properties and pore distribution of RC should be considered in future applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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18 pages, 4568 KiB  
Article
Fiber Reinforced Concrete with Natural Plant Fibers—Investigations on the Application of Bamboo Fibers in Ultra-High Performance Concrete
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12011; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912011 - 22 Sep 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3163
Abstract
Natural plant fibers represent a sustainable alternative to conventional fiber reinforcement materials in cementitious materials due to their suitable mechanical properties, cost-effective availability and principle carbon neutrality. Due to its high tensile strength and stiffness as well as its worldwide distribution along with [...] Read more.
Natural plant fibers represent a sustainable alternative to conventional fiber reinforcement materials in cementitious materials due to their suitable mechanical properties, cost-effective availability and principle carbon neutrality. Due to its high tensile strength and stiffness as well as its worldwide distribution along with rapid growth, bamboo offers itself in particular as a plant fiber source. In experimental studies on concrete beams reinforced with plant fibers, a positive influence of the fibers on the flexural behavior was observed. However, the load-bearing effect of the fibers was limited by the poor bond, which can be attributed, among other things, to the swelling behavior of the fibers. In addition, the plant fibers degrade in the alkaline environment of many cementitious building materials. In order to improve the bond and to limit the alkalinity and to increase the durability, the use of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) offers itself. Since no tests have been carried out, investigations on the flexural behavior of UHPC with bamboo fibers were carried out at the Institute of Concrete Construction of Leibniz University Hannover. The test results show a significantly improved load-bearing behavior of the fibers and the enormous potential of the combination of UHPC and bamboo fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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19 pages, 4164 KiB  
Article
Sawdust Recycling in the Development of Permeable Clay Paving Bricks: Optimizing Mixing Ratio and Particle Size
Sustainability 2022, 14(18), 11115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811115 - 06 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1856
Abstract
The permeable pavement system (PPS) has effectively contributed to stormwater management as a low-impact development (LID) technology. The suitability of clay bricks, consolidated with waste materials, for sustainable PPS applications in urban infrastructure needs further attention. In this study, several series of permeable [...] Read more.
The permeable pavement system (PPS) has effectively contributed to stormwater management as a low-impact development (LID) technology. The suitability of clay bricks, consolidated with waste materials, for sustainable PPS applications in urban infrastructure needs further attention. In this study, several series of permeable clay paving bricks samples were prepared by mixing different ratios and particle sizes of sawdust (SD) with clay soil and firing at 900 °C. The raw soil and SD samples were characterized through sieve analysis, X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). The bricks were tested for their compressive strength, bulk density, apparent porosity, water adsorption, permeability coefficient, and stormwater treatment efficiency. The clay soil comprised 17.5% clay/silt with appropriate amounts of SiO2 (50.47%), Al2O3 (19.14%), and fluxing agents (15.34%) and was suitable for brick manufacturing. XRD and FTIR analysis revealed that the soil predominantly comprises quartz, dolomite calcite, feldspar, kaolinite, illite, and chlorites. The SD samples were enriched with amorphous and crystalline cellulose. The compressive strength of the bricks decreased, while the permeability of the bricks increased with an increasing percentage of SD. An optimal percentage of 10% SD achieved a 21.2 MPa compressive strength and a 0.0556 m/s permeability coefficient, meeting the ASTM specifications for PPS. The optimal size of SD, between 0.5 and 1.0 mm, achieved the desired compressive strength of the bricks. The permeable bricks effectively removed the total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity, and BOD5 from the stormwater, which complies with the guidelines for wastewater reuse applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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21 pages, 8464 KiB  
Article
Aggregate Evaluation and Geochemical Investigation of Limestone for Construction Industries in Pakistan: An Approach for Sustainable Economic Development
Sustainability 2022, 14(17), 10812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141710812 - 30 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2010
Abstract
The present study investigates the aggregate suitability and geochemical characteristics of limestone (LS) from the Samana Suk Formation, Pakistan, for the construction industry. With the advent of CPEC, the demand for construction materials has seen a manifold increase. The Sheikh Budin Hills and [...] Read more.
The present study investigates the aggregate suitability and geochemical characteristics of limestone (LS) from the Samana Suk Formation, Pakistan, for the construction industry. With the advent of CPEC, the demand for construction materials has seen a manifold increase. The Sheikh Budin Hills and Trans Indus Ranges comprise huge deposits of limestone and provide great potential for source rocks for construction materials in the region. In the Upper Indus Basin of Pakistan, the Samana Suk Formation is acknowledged as the most significant carbonate deposits of Mesozoic strata. The results of aggregate parameters reveal that specific gravity (SG = 2.6); water absorption (WA = 0.47%); bulk density (BD = 1.58 g/cm3); flakiness index (FI = 16.8%); elongation index (EI = 16.39%); soundness (S = 1.6%); aggregate impact value (AIV = 14%); Los Angeles Abrasion value (LAAV = 23.51%); clay lumps (CL = 0.35%); uniaxial compressive strength (UCS = 86.7 MPa); point load test (PLT = 5.18 MPa); ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV = 5290 m/s); and Schmidt hammer rebound test (SHRT = 49 N) are in accordance with the ASTM, ISRM, and BSI. Petrographically, the LS is dominantly composed of ooids, peloids, bioclasts, and calcite mineral (CaCO3) with a trace concentration of dolomite [(Ca,Mg)CO3]. The mineralogical and geochemical study (n = 18) revealed that the LS is dominantly composed of calcite (95.81%); on average, it is composed of 52.08 wt.% CaO; 1.13 wt.% SiO2; 0.66 wt.% MgO; 0.80 wt.% Al2O3; and 0.76 wt.% Fe2O3, and loss on ignition (LOI) was recorded as 42.13 wt.%. On the other hand, P2O5, TiO2, MnO, K2O and Na2O were found in trace amounts. The regression analysis demonstrated that the empirical correlation equation for estimating uniaxial compressive strength with ultrasonic pulse velocity is more reliable than the Schmidt hammer rebound test and point load test. Consequently, the feasibility of using LS of the Samana Suk Formation as an aggregate for construction materials and cement manufacturing is recommended based on the testing results of mechanical, physical, and geochemical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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11 pages, 2694 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Acoustic Efficiency of Wood Charcoal in Impedance Tube for Usage in Sound-Reflective Devices
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9431; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159431 - 01 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1100
Abstract
Charcoal is an environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and economical material. This material is usually produced by slow pyrolysis—the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen. The aim of this study was to investigate the acoustic efficiency of charcoal and design [...] Read more.
Charcoal is an environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and economical material. This material is usually produced by slow pyrolysis—the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen. The aim of this study was to investigate the acoustic efficiency of charcoal and design an acoustic diffuser that utilizes charcoal. Samples of different types of tree charcoal—birch (Betula pendula), pine (Pinus sylvestris), and oak (Quercus robur)—with different thicknesses were used for the acoustic efficiency measurements. The sound absorption and sound reflection properties of charcoal were investigated. The bulk density of charcoal was measured. In this study, an impedance tube with two microphones was employed as the measurement method. The results of the impedance tube measurements showed that the charcoal samples had high sound reflection coefficients, the highest value of which was 1. The 50 mm samples of birch had a high bulk density of 473 kg/m3. The sample of 50 mm thick oak had the best reflection coefficient at 0.99. Reflection depended on the surface’s acoustic properties, and the sound reflection coefficient increased with the increase in the density. Charcoal measurements, due to the high reflection coefficient of the material, were used for the design of a sound diffuser, which included wooden perforated plates filled with cylindrical elements of wood charcoal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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20 pages, 636 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Barriers and Strategies for the Enhancement of Off-Site Construction in India: An ISM Approach
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6595; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116595 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1818
Abstract
The tremendous urbanization pace of India calls for higher efficiency in housing development, currently typified by low productivity and poor sustainability performance. Although off-site construction (OSC) is a method of widely acknowledged efficiency, its current uptake in India is very low, and the [...] Read more.
The tremendous urbanization pace of India calls for higher efficiency in housing development, currently typified by low productivity and poor sustainability performance. Although off-site construction (OSC) is a method of widely acknowledged efficiency, its current uptake in India is very low, and the factors hindering its wider adaptation have not been comprehensively researched. This paper employs interviews with experts, a questionnaire survey and the interpretive structural modelling (ISM) technique to achieve the following objectives: first, to reveal which factors are perceived as top barriers for OSC implementation in India; second, to develop a hierarchical model presenting the causality between these factors; and third, to propose the initiatives required for barriers with high impact on other barriers to be most efficiently tackled. The survey findings show that the barriers perceived as most important from the professionals’ point of view are design inflexibility, difficulties in storage and transportation, supply chain weaknesses, initial capital requirements and lack of skills. The ISM reveals, though, that the underlying causes for these barriers lie with factors such as public procurement regulations and the fragmentation of the sector. Therefore, the latter are the barriers that need to be targeted in priority, as per the suggested strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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Review

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26 pages, 624 KiB  
Review
On The Path towards Sustainable Construction—The Case of the United Arab Emirates: A Review
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14652; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914652 - 09 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3806
Abstract
The construction sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expanding substantially due to many variables, including strong economic growth, a swiftly growing population, and continuous modernization endeavors. As a result, the development of the construction industry is leading to adverse impacts on [...] Read more.
The construction sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expanding substantially due to many variables, including strong economic growth, a swiftly growing population, and continuous modernization endeavors. As a result, the development of the construction industry is leading to adverse impacts on energy consumption and environmental conditions. The UAE government and policymakers have implemented significant initiatives to advance sustainable infrastructure, promote clean energy utilization, effectively manage construction and demolition waste (CDW), and foster green building development. These measures follow the nation’s dedication to the Paris Agreement, which aims to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The article comprehensively examines the policies and practices implemented in this industrialized nation concerning sustainable construction. Moreover, the primary objective of this study is to evaluate the performance of the UAE in comparison to other countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concerning their accomplishments in sustainability. Additionally, the study seeks to integrate insights from the global community regarding sustainability policies, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the effective management of CDW, and the implementation of green regulations that govern environmentally conscious construction practices. A comprehensive analysis of information sources from official websites, particularly those of the ministry and key government agencies, is conducted to better understand the current sustainability policies and treatment methods related to the management of CDW and green building regulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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19 pages, 1194 KiB  
Review
Key Success Factors for the Practical Application of New Geomaterials
Sustainability 2023, 15(17), 12929; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151712929 - 27 Aug 2023
Viewed by 950
Abstract
Geomaterials comprise naturally formed materials through geological processes, such as soils and rocks, or artificially processed materials, including mineral waste and geosynthetics. These materials find extensive use in geotechnical structures, such as slopes, dams, and pavements, among others. However, two issues commonly arise [...] Read more.
Geomaterials comprise naturally formed materials through geological processes, such as soils and rocks, or artificially processed materials, including mineral waste and geosynthetics. These materials find extensive use in geotechnical structures, such as slopes, dams, and pavements, among others. However, two issues commonly arise in earthworks: the materials available in the region do not meet the minimum engineering requirements, resulting in high transportation costs, and the exploitation of new deposits increases environmental impacts. Consequently, there is a need to develop stabilization and reinforcement techniques aimed at creating new geomaterials (NGs) to expand the range of local material applications. In this context, the present study evaluates the key success factors (KSFs) related to the application of NGs in geotechnical structures. The Delphi method was employed through a structured questionnaire developed after an extensive literature review. Brazilian experts from the public, private, and academic sectors were selected to identify the obstacles and potential pathways for the practical application of NGs. The outcomes of the study indicated that the lack of standardization, the complex behavior of geomaterials under varying conditions, as well as technical and economic limitations serve as barriers impeding the widespread adoption of NGs. Finally, a roadmap proposal was devised, encompassing a series of actions intended to facilitate the broader utilization of NGs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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20 pages, 749 KiB  
Review
Municipal Solid Waste as a Substitute for Virgin Materials in the Construction Industry: A Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16343; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416343 - 07 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2343
Abstract
Municipal solid waste (MSW) requires adequate management to mitigate the negative impacts caused by its poor disposal in the environment. It is composed of several fractions, such as organic waste, paper, cardboard, metals, plastic, and glass, among other valuable materials. An area of [...] Read more.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) requires adequate management to mitigate the negative impacts caused by its poor disposal in the environment. It is composed of several fractions, such as organic waste, paper, cardboard, metals, plastic, and glass, among other valuable materials. An area of opportunity for its recovery is the construction industry, which currently consumes around 3000 million tons of natural resources annually and is responsible for 34% of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. There are examples of the worldwide reuse of MSW in construction materials: plastics have been incorporated as substitutes for sand in the production of concrete and pavements; paper as a hygrothermal and lighting regulator in buildings; and glass has been reused as fine aggregate in concrete mixtures, among others. In this paper, we revised how these MSW fractions have been used for designing and producing sustainable construction materials, thereby favoring a circular economy approach and reducing their landfilling. Opportunity areas for these materials to be developed and applied were also identified focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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34 pages, 1874 KiB  
Review
A Comprehensive Review on Construction Applications and Life Cycle Sustainability of Natural Fiber Biocomposites
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15905; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315905 - 29 Nov 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3394
Abstract
The construction industry is continuously searching for sustainable materials to combat the rapid depletion of global resources and ongoing ecological crises. Biocomposites have recently received global attention in various industries due to their renewability, low cost, and biodegradability. Biocomposites’ potential as a sustainable [...] Read more.
The construction industry is continuously searching for sustainable materials to combat the rapid depletion of global resources and ongoing ecological crises. Biocomposites have recently received global attention in various industries due to their renewability, low cost, and biodegradability. Biocomposites’ potential as a sustainable substitute in construction can be understood by identifying their diverse applications. Moreover, examining their life cycle environmental and economic impacts is important. Therefore, this study is a novel attempt to encompass biocomposites’ construction applications and their environmental life cycle performance. Statistical analysis is done related to the temporal distribution of papers, publishers, literature type and regions of studies. First, this paper reviews the latest research on the applications of natural fiber biocomposites in construction with their key findings. The applications include fiber reinforcements in concrete, external strengthening elements, internally filled hollow tubes, wood replacement boards, insulation, and non-structural members. The second part covers the life cycle assessment (LCA) and cost studies on biocomposites. The life cycle studies are currently rare and require more case-specific assessments; however, they highlight the benefits of biocomposites in cost savings and environmental protection. Finally, this study provides key suggestions for increasing the applicability of biocomposites as sustainable construction materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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41 pages, 16632 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Fly Ash Based Geopolymer Binders: A Review on Compressive Strength and Microstructure Properties
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 15062; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142215062 - 14 Nov 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2774
Abstract
As a result of global warming, the pursuance of low-carbon, sustainable building materials has been prioritized. The development of geopolymer/cement-less binders can be considered an innovative and green way forward to minimize carbon footprint and tackle industrial waste material utilization. However, the chemical [...] Read more.
As a result of global warming, the pursuance of low-carbon, sustainable building materials has been prioritized. The development of geopolymer/cement-less binders can be considered an innovative and green way forward to minimize carbon footprint and tackle industrial waste material utilization. However, the chemical composition and properties of industrial waste-derived geopolymer binders varies considerably based on the chemical compositions of the source materials. This review paper presents a comprehensive understanding of the role of different chemical compositions (namely SiO2, Al2O3, CaO, Fe2O, and MgO) available in contemporary industrial wastes and the development of geopolymer binders. Subsequently, the compressive and microstructure properties of various FA-based geopolymer binders have been discussed to exhibit the feasibility of FA as a reliable source material. Significant findings and research gaps have been considered to aid future research works. Indeed, they provide guidelines for the commercial implementation of FA-based geopolymer binders as a low-carbon alternative to Portland cement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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22 pages, 1667 KiB  
Review
The Effects of the Type and Quantity of Recycled Materials on Physical and Mechanical Properties of Concrete and Mortar: A Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14752; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214752 - 09 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1186
Abstract
The reuse of industrial wastes to produce concrete and mortar is an environmental solution for their disposal as well as for the development of ecological and sustainable concrete. A large number of previous studies summarized in this review paper focused on adding different [...] Read more.
The reuse of industrial wastes to produce concrete and mortar is an environmental solution for their disposal as well as for the development of ecological and sustainable concrete. A large number of previous studies summarized in this review paper focused on adding different types of waste in the concrete and mortar mix in the form of fine aggregates, coarse aggregates or cement additives, and investigated the physical and mechanical properties of the enhanced material. Reusing waste in concrete and mortar mix design significantly affects the material’s fresh and hardened properties. This literature review offers a general insight to the civil and industrial engineering community on ecological waste-based concrete and mortar that can serve as a basis for construction and future work in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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22 pages, 3298 KiB  
Review
A Review on Sustainable Concrete with the Partially Substitutions of Silica Fume as a Cementitious Material
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12075; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912075 - 24 Sep 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1664
Abstract
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) uses a lot of natural resources, much like regular concrete, which results in unsustainable construction. Even though silica fume (SF) and other secondary cementitious materials are the subjects of a lot of studies, to determine the past, present, and future [...] Read more.
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) uses a lot of natural resources, much like regular concrete, which results in unsustainable construction. Even though silica fume (SF) and other secondary cementitious materials are the subjects of a lot of studies, to determine the past, present, and future direction of research, information must first be reviewed. This paper compiles data on SSC with SF substations. Slump flow, slump T50, L-box, and V-funnel tests were used to investigate fresh SCC properties, such as filling and passing capabilities. Mechanical properties were examined using compressive, tensile, and flexure strength, while the durability characteristics of SCC were examined through water absorption, porosity, sorptivity, and chloride resistance. The internal structure of SCC, with and without SF, is reviewed through scan electronic microscopy (SEM). The results indicate that SF lacked the filling and passing ability of SCC, but is still within the limit defined by the technical specification for SCC. However, the study suggests a larger dosage of plasticizer for a higher dose of SF. Improvements in SCC’s strength and durability were also seen; however, greater doses had a negative impact on these attributes due to an absence of flowability. Researchers recommended the ideal SF dosage ranges from 10 to 15% by volume of cement. The assessment also reveals research gaps that need to be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Construction and Building Materials)
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