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Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2023) | Viewed by 18025

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Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Aalto University, 02150 Espoo, Finland
Interests: AI in civil engineering; concrete; smart infrastructure; sustainable construction materials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering Structures, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands
Interests: data-driven concrete models; ultra-high performance fibre reinforced composites; non-destructive testing; sustainable concrete

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Concrete is an essential element of civil infrastructure as no other material can match it in terms of resilience, strength, and wide availability, and is therefore the most produced construction material in the planet. The sustainable use of resources to produce greener concrete has become a trend as concrete has a significant impact on the environment through energy and raw materials consumption as well as CO2 emissions in the production of cement, the main binder of concrete. The durability of sustainable concrete materials depends on the intrinsic properties of the materials, including their chemistry, nano/microstructure and transport properties, under combined environmental actions and mechanical loading during service, are considered to be of great interest for many applications, including traditional and special civil engineering structures.

This Special Issue encourages authors to submit research results on developments on the relevant topics in the research field of the durability of sustainable concrete. A wide range of contributions from interdisciplinary, multiscale and diverse approaches to addressing different aspects of durability, which will provide a comprehensive background for materials engineers, researchers, and experts in the field are welcome. Contribution could take the form of experimental works, computational modelling, state-of-the-art review work.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Supplementary cementitious materials
  • Alkali activated materials
  • Wastes and by-products for more sustainable concrete
  • Recycled aggregates (fine and coarse fractions)
  • Fibre-reinforced cementitious materials
  • Mix-design approaches for sustainable concrete
  • Mechanical performance/characterization of sustainable concrete
  • Durability of sustainable concrete
  • Chemical degradation
  • Performance-based specifications for sustainable concrete
  • Service-life prediction
  • Advanced modelling and simulation
  • Lifecycle assessment

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Woubishet Zewdu Taffese
Dr. Sandra Barbosa Nunes
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. 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

  • durability
  • sustainability
  • green concrete
  • microstructure
  • transport properties
  • lifecycle assessment
  • service-life prediction
  • advanced concrete
  • artificial intelligence
  • computational modeling

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 5435 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Physical and Mechanical Properties of Cement Mortar Incorporating Waste Cotton Fibres
by Waiching Tang, Ryan Monaghan and Umer Sajjad
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 8779; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15118779 - 29 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1520
Abstract
There is a lack of effective disposal methods for the increasing amount of textile waste that is being generated worldwide. This is creating environmental concerns and burdening waste management facilities. In this study, we propose that cotton fibres that have been recycled from [...] Read more.
There is a lack of effective disposal methods for the increasing amount of textile waste that is being generated worldwide. This is creating environmental concerns and burdening waste management facilities. In this study, we propose that cotton fibres that have been recycled from textile waste could be used as fibre reinforcement in cement mortar. Seven mix designs were prepared, which were based on the quantity (0.4%, 0.8%, 1.6% and 2.0% by the weight of the cement) and length (20 mm, 30 mm and 40 mm) of the cotton fibres. The physical properties, including workability, compressive strength, flexural strength, density and water absorption, were investigated. The workability of the cement mortar was reduced with the addition of the cotton fibres. The flexural strength of the cement mortar with the added cotton fibres was improved by up to 9%, compared to the flexural strength of the control samples. The compressive strengths of the samples generally decreased with the increase in the fibre content and length. However, the C0.8 mix showed a comparable compressive strength to the control mix at all curing ages, with a slight decrease of 2.5% on day 56 of curing. The results were further clarified using SEM images. The improvement in the flexural properties showed that the cotton fibres could be implemented as fibre reinforcement in cementitious composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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18 pages, 19032 KiB  
Article
Effect of Aggregates Packing with the Maximum Density Methodology in Pervious Concrete
by Karina H. Arcolezi, Rodrigo G. da Silva, Lourdes Soriano, Maria V. Borrachero, José Monzó, Jordi Payá, Mauro M. Tashima and Jorge Luis Akasaki
Sustainability 2023, 15(6), 4939; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15064939 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1487
Abstract
The granulometric distribution of the aggregates used in pervious concrete can significantly impact its mechanical and hydraulic properties by modifying granular skeleton and pore distribution. The unit weight increases when single-sized aggregates are combined, which results in improved mechanical properties. In this study, [...] Read more.
The granulometric distribution of the aggregates used in pervious concrete can significantly impact its mechanical and hydraulic properties by modifying granular skeleton and pore distribution. The unit weight increases when single-sized aggregates are combined, which results in improved mechanical properties. In this study, the maximum density methodology was applied to enhance pervious concrete’s mechanical strength by using three narrow-sized basaltic aggregates and their combination. The experimental results showed that the mechanical performance of the samples created with packed aggregates improved compressive strength by up to 81.2% and the energy support impact was higher than 225 J (50% higher than the reference sample) after curing for 28 days. Although the densification of packing aggregates increased, the greatest reduction in porosity was 24.3%. The lowest infiltration rate was 0.43 cm/s, a satisfactory value according to the literature. These findings suggest that the aggregates packing methodology is effective in producing optimized and sustainable pervious concretes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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29 pages, 39605 KiB  
Article
External Sulfate Attack of Ambient-Cured One-Part Alkali-Activated Self-Consolidating Concrete
by Dima Kanaan, Ahmed M. Soliman and Amine el Mahdi Safhi
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4127; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054127 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
The mechanism of sulfate attack on alkali-activated materials, particularly the alkali-activated self-consolidating concrete (AASCC), is complex and contradictory. This could be due to the wide range of precursor and activator materials used in the production of AASCC mixtures, which has called into question [...] Read more.
The mechanism of sulfate attack on alkali-activated materials, particularly the alkali-activated self-consolidating concrete (AASCC), is complex and contradictory. This could be due to the wide range of precursor and activator materials used in the production of AASCC mixtures, which has called into question the reliability and validity of existing evaluation procedures and practices. This paper presents a systematic research effort on AASCC mixtures, based on granulated blast-furnace slag, prone to various sulfate attack scenarios that are thought necessary to establish a proposed criterion. The conducted experimental design demonstrated that single-, binary-, and ternary-precursor AASCC samples, activated with 1:1 Na2CO3 and MetaNa2SiO3, partially submerged in sodium, magnesium, and mixed sulfate solutions could experience a dual sulfate attack scheme. Sulfate attack can occur in the immersed section in sulfate solutions, while physical sulfate attack can occur in the portion above the solution level. The influence of physical sulfate attack on the concrete’s characteristics was not significant given that the damage was confined to the outer surface. However, the damage was primarily monitored by the AASCC different systems’ pore structure, which resulted in the leaching of ions from samples to solutions. It was found that maintaining the pH in the sulfate solutions increased the rate of damage of AASCC mixtures. Furthermore, binary, and ternary precursor blends partially replacing slag with SF, or FA resulted in decreased porosity, surface scaling, and AASCC deterioration caused by an expansion in the volume of very small diameter pores. Finally, in all AASCC systems, gypsum and ettringite were the primary degradation products of sulfate attack. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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17 pages, 2532 KiB  
Article
How the Carbonation Treatment of Different Types of Recycled Aggregates Affects the Properties of Concrete
by Miren Etxeberria and Silvia Castillo
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3169; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043169 - 09 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2267
Abstract
In this research work, two types of recycled aggregates were used: (1) the recycled concrete aggregate, RCA, obtained by crushing the parent concrete produced using limestone cement and (2) the recycled concrete aggregate RCA-FA produced by crushing parent concrete made with FA blended [...] Read more.
In this research work, two types of recycled aggregates were used: (1) the recycled concrete aggregate, RCA, obtained by crushing the parent concrete produced using limestone cement and (2) the recycled concrete aggregate RCA-FA produced by crushing parent concrete made with FA blended cement. After the carbonation treatment process, the carbonated RCA-C and RCA-FA-C recycled aggregates were produced. The recycled concrete mixtures were prepared using the four types of recycled aggregates (RCA, RCA-FA, RCA-C, and RCA-FA-C) in 50% (by volume) to replace natural coarse aggregates. The physical and mechanical properties and durability (sorptivity, chloride ion penetration, and carbonation resistance) were determined and analysed. The obtained results were also compared with those of conventional concrete (CC). It was concluded that the physical and mechanical properties of recycled concrete improved when RCA-C were employed in concrete production. In contrast, the recycled concrete produced with RCA-FA-C was found to have the worst property values. According to durability properties, the concrete made with RCA-C and RCA-FA aggregates achieved the highest chloride resistance, similar to CC concrete. Nevertheless, the concrete produced with uncarbonated RCA acquired carbonation resistance equivalent to CC concrete. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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30 pages, 5501 KiB  
Article
Development and Characterization of Eco-Efficient Ultra-High Durability Concrete
by Keila Robalo, Hugo Costa, Ricardo Carmo and Eduardo Júlio
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2381; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032381 - 28 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) is characterized by having an ultra-compact matrix resulting in ultra-high mechanical properties, low permeability to water and gases, and improved ductility provided by the addition of fibers. The production of structures with this type of concrete is advantageous in some [...] Read more.
Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) is characterized by having an ultra-compact matrix resulting in ultra-high mechanical properties, low permeability to water and gases, and improved ductility provided by the addition of fibers. The production of structures with this type of concrete is advantageous in some situations, especially in aggressive environments since it significantly increases durability. However, high dosages of Portland cement and silica fume are commonly adopted, increasing not only the cost but also the environmental impact, jeopardizing its use, mainly in the present context where the sustainability of the construction sector is a global priority. In this sense, improving the eco-efficiency of this type of concrete is mandatory. The objective of this work is to develop eco-ultra-high-durability concrete (eco-UHDC). The UHDC matrix was optimized, focusing mainly on durability and looking for the lowest environmental impact, where several parameters were varied: cement replacement ratio, additions in binder matrix and its relative proportions, water/binder ratio, type of fibers, and its proportion. The developed eco-UHDC was characterized both in fresh and hardened states, in terms of mechanical properties, time-dependent properties, and durability. This last topic includes the characterization of durability parameters under laboratory conditions and in a real environment, namely, in the tidal zone of the coast of Cape Verde. The results of resistance to carbonation and chloride penetration were used to predict the service life of structures produced with these eco-UHDC. The optimization of the UHDC matrix allowed the development of mixtures with only 60% of cement in relation to the total amount of powder of the matrix, maintaining good workability and the desired mechanical characteristics (compressive strength higher than 100 MPa and flexural strength higher than 12 MPa). The results also showed that considering only the requirements related to durability, the cover of structures produced with these optimized mixtures can be lower than the values recommended by Eurocode 2, with differences that can reach 55%, mainly when pozzolan of Cape Verde is used as partial replacement of Portland cement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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19 pages, 2822 KiB  
Article
Impact of Curing Temperature on the Life Cycle Assessment of Sugarcane Bagasse Ash as a Partial Replacement of Cement in Mortars
by Vito Francioso, Marina Lopez-Arias, Carlos Moro, Nusrat Jung and Mirian Velay-Lizancos
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010142 - 22 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1769
Abstract
Sugarcane bagasse ash (SCBA), a biomass waste resulting from sugarcane bagasse burning for electricity production, has shown to be a viable alternative option as a partial cement replacement due to its chemical composition and physical properties. Besides, previous research indicates that higher curing [...] Read more.
Sugarcane bagasse ash (SCBA), a biomass waste resulting from sugarcane bagasse burning for electricity production, has shown to be a viable alternative option as a partial cement replacement due to its chemical composition and physical properties. Besides, previous research indicates that higher curing temperature may improve the mechanical properties of mixes containing SCBA as cement replacement. However, the environmental assessment of those mixes is lacking in the literature. This study aims to understand how curing temperature impacts the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of SCBA as a partial replacement of cement in mortars. An LCA was performed from the extraction of the raw materials to the material production part of the life cycle, including transport. This study shows that the reduction of environmental impact when using SCBA highly depends on the curing temperature. When mortars were cured at 45 °C, the use of SCBA reduced the environmental impact of mortars two times with respect to the reduction at 21 °C (31% reduction when cured at 45 °C vs. 14% at 21 °C, with a 20% replacement). This difference is mainly related to the fact that the higher the curing temperature, the better SCBA mortars perform in terms of strength, thus, net savings of cement required to achieve a given performance are higher. Results indicate that the sustainability of SCBA utilization as a partial replacement of cement will be better when mortar is poured in hot regions or during days with higher ambient temperatures. Likewise, the advantages of using SCBA in terms of sustainability will decrease if the external temperature is low. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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16 pages, 2956 KiB  
Article
Aquatic Weed for Concrete Sustainability
by Mitiku Damtie Yehualaw, Mihiret Alemu, Behailu Zerihun Hailemariam, Duy-Hai Vo and Woubishet Zewdu Taffese
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315501 - 22 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1854
Abstract
Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) is the primary binder of concrete, accounting for approximately 5% to 7% of greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with an annual production rate of more than 4 billion tons. It is critical to reduce [...] Read more.
Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) is the primary binder of concrete, accounting for approximately 5% to 7% of greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with an annual production rate of more than 4 billion tons. It is critical to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete without sacrificing its performance. To this end, this study focuses on the use of water hyacinth ash (WHA) as a pozzolanic binder in the production of concrete as a partial replacement for cement. Four mixes are designed to achieve C-25-grade concrete with varying proportions of cement replacement with WHA of 0%, 5%, 10%, and 15% of the cement weight. Extensive experiments are performed to examine the workability, strength, durability, and microstructure of concrete specimens. The test results confirm that incorporating WHA in concrete improved its workability, strength, and durability. The optimal results are obtained at the maximum OPC replacement level, with 10% WHA. The use of WHA as a partial replacement for cement greatly reduces the energy required for cement production and preserves natural resources. More research is needed to use WHA on a large scale to achieve greater sustainability in the concrete industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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24 pages, 9054 KiB  
Article
Explainable Ensemble Learning Models for the Rheological Properties of Self-Compacting Concrete
by Celal Cakiroglu, Gebrail Bekdaş, Sanghun Kim and Zong Woo Geem
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14640; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114640 - 07 Nov 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) has been developed as a type of concrete capable of filling narrow gaps in highly reinforced areas of a mold without internal or external vibration. Bleeding and segregation in SCC can be prevented by the addition of superplasticizers. Due to [...] Read more.
Self-compacting concrete (SCC) has been developed as a type of concrete capable of filling narrow gaps in highly reinforced areas of a mold without internal or external vibration. Bleeding and segregation in SCC can be prevented by the addition of superplasticizers. Due to these favorable properties, SCC has been adopted worldwide. The workability of SCC is closely related to its yield stress and plastic viscosity levels. Therefore, the accurate prediction of yield stress and plastic viscosity of SCC has certain advantages. Predictions of the shear stress and plastic viscosity of SCC is presented in the current study using four different ensemble machine learning techniques: Light Gradient Boosting Machine (LightGBM), Extreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost), random forest, and Categorical Gradient Boosting (CatBoost). A new database containing the results of slump flow, V-funnel, and L-Box tests with the corresponding shear stress and plastic viscosity values was curated from the literature to develop these ensemble learning models. The performances of these algorithms were compared using state-of-the-art statistical measures of accuracy. Afterward, the output of these ensemble learning algorithms was interpreted with the help of SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP) analysis and individual conditional expectation (ICE) plots. Each input variable’s effect on the predictions of the model and their interdependencies have been illustrated. Highly accurate predictions could be achieved with a coefficient of determination greater than 0.96 for both shear stress and plastic viscosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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22 pages, 6243 KiB  
Article
Remaining Fatigue Life Predictions of Railway Prestressed Concrete Sleepers Considering Time-Dependent Surface Abrasion
by Dan Li, Sakdirat Kaewunruen and Ruilin You
Sustainability 2022, 14(18), 11237; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811237 - 08 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1825
Abstract
One of the safety-critical components of ballasted track systems is railway sleepers whose main functions are to (i) transfer vertical load, (ii) maintain rail gauge, and (iii) restrain longitudinal rail movement. Railway sleepers can be manufactured using timber, concrete, steel, composite, and any [...] Read more.
One of the safety-critical components of ballasted track systems is railway sleepers whose main functions are to (i) transfer vertical load, (ii) maintain rail gauge, and (iii) restrain longitudinal rail movement. Railway sleepers can be manufactured using timber, concrete, steel, composite, and any other engineered materials. Prestressed concrete sleepers are the most commonly used type worldwide because of their superior value-for-money performance. In practice, railway sleepers experience thousands of cycles of aggressive wheel–rail dynamic loads and wear deterioration can be observed over their service life. Not only does the deterioration affect track quality and geometries, but it also undermines the structural integrity of the track structures. The wear and abrasion directly decrease the capacity of railway sleepers, resulting in the reduction in service life. In this paper, the emphasis is placed on the assessment of the fatigue life of prestressed concrete railway sleepers with imperfect geometry. This study is the world’s first to establish a new fatigue simulation of railway concrete sleepers considering accumulative non-constant amplitudes, which has been validated using full-scale experimental results and empirical analyses. Parametric studies have been conducted to obtain new insights into the fatigue performance of the worn sleepers. The new findings will improve railway sleeper maintenance and inspection criteria, and will provide a new guideline on track-condition monitoring networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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15 pages, 1543 KiB  
Article
Durability of Engineered Cementitious Composites Incorporating High-Volume Fly Ash and Limestone Powder
by Kazim Turk, Ceren Kina and Moncef L. Nehdi
Sustainability 2022, 14(16), 10388; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141610388 - 20 Aug 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1418
Abstract
This study investigates the effects of using limestone powder (LSP) and high-volume fly ash (FA) as partial replacement for silica sand (SS) and portland cement (PC), respectively, on the durability properties of sustainable engineered cementitious composites (ECC). The mixture design of ECC included [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effects of using limestone powder (LSP) and high-volume fly ash (FA) as partial replacement for silica sand (SS) and portland cement (PC), respectively, on the durability properties of sustainable engineered cementitious composites (ECC). The mixture design of ECC included FA/PC ratio of 1.2, 2.2 and 3.2, while LSP was used at 0%, 50% and 100% of SS by mass for each FA/PC ratio. Freeze-thaw and rapid chloride ions penetrability (RCPT) tests were performed to assess the durability properties of ECC, while the compressive and flexural strength tests were carried out to appraise the mechanical properties. Moreover, mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) tests were performed to characterize the pore structure of ECC and to associate porosity with the relative dynamic modulus of elasticity, RCPT and mechanical strengths. It was found that using FA/PC ratio of more than 1.2 worsened both the mechanical and durability properties of ECC. Replacement of LSP for SS enhanced both mechanical strengths and durability characteristics of ECC, owing to refined pore size distribution caused by the microfiller effect. It can be further inferred from MIP test results that the total porosity had a vital effect on the resistance to freezing–thawing cycles and chloride ions penetration in sustainable ECC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in Durability of Sustainable Concrete Materials)
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