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Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 15582

Special Issue Editors

Faculty of Civil Engineering, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran
Interests: resilience; artificial Intelligence; concrete structures; earthquake
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Faculty of Civil Engineering, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran
Interests: resilience; artificial intelligence; concrete structures; earthquake
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Faculty of Civil Engineering, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran
Interests: artificial Intelligence; concrete structures; structural reliability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the importance of sustainable development has been evaluated in the construction industry, aiming towards eco-friendly goals such as the use of recycled materials and preventing the production of waste, while increasing efficiency in the uses of resources and energy. With consideration of sustainability in construction, human-made structures will be non-destructive for the environment while saving natural resources. Moreover, the increase in the prices of traditional construction products makes eco-approaches more appropriate in that they will result in energy savings during construction. Materials are important components that scan improve overall sustainable performance in the construction industry. They also impact the environment throughout the life cycle of a building. Evaluating the properties of sustainable building materials on the environment is key to the design and construction of green buildings. The papers in this Special Issue focus on emerging techniques and the most recent developments in sustainable building materials.

These papers describe original work on both practical and theoretical works. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Eco-friendly building materials 
  • Smart sustainable cities and buildings
  • Cleaner production and technical processes in construction
  • Microstructure and durability of construction materials 
  • Sustainable infrastructure design and green buildings
  • Green building technologies and sustainable development
  • Energy efficiency in construction 
  • Resource-efficiency optimization in green buildings
  • Material recycling and material recovery
  • Next-generation construction and building materials produced from industrial wastes and byproducts

We look forward to receiving your contributions

Prof. Dr. Hosein Naderpour
Dr. Masoomeh Mirrashid
Dr. Pouyan Fakharian
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

  • sustainable structure
  • green building
  • eco-friendly materials
  • material recycling
  • sustainability

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 4879 KiB  
Article
Shrinkage Behavior of Stabilized Earth Bricks Reinforced with Wheat and Barley Straw
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316254 - 24 Nov 2023
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Due to its ecological and financial benefits, earth building has gained global attention, with earth bricks being extensively used. Shrinkage and crack development have a considerable impact on the performance and quality of earth bricks. This study employs laboratory experiments to examine the [...] Read more.
Due to its ecological and financial benefits, earth building has gained global attention, with earth bricks being extensively used. Shrinkage and crack development have a considerable impact on the performance and quality of earth bricks. This study employs laboratory experiments to examine the shrinkage behavior of earth bricks reinforced with wheat and barley straw. In addition to this, the impact of cement and gypsum additives is examined. The obtained results indicate that increased fiber content reduces crack formation effectively. However, higher levels of cohesive soil have been shown to have a negative influence on shrinkage behavior. In general, higher fiber contents contribute to the improvement of earth brick performance. These findings offer useful insights for improving the composition and characteristics of reinforced earth bricks, resulting in enhanced performance and quality in sustainable construction practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction)
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25 pages, 3716 KiB  
Article
Advancing Shear Capacity Estimation in Rectangular RC Beams: A Cutting-Edge Artificial Intelligence Approach for Assessing the Contribution of FRP
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 16126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152216126 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 654
Abstract
Shear strength prediction in FRP-bonded reinforced concrete beams is crucial for ensuring structural integrity and safety. In this extensive investigation, advanced machine learning algorithms are harnessed to achieve precise shear strength predictions for rectangular RC beams reinforced with FRP sheets. The aim of [...] Read more.
Shear strength prediction in FRP-bonded reinforced concrete beams is crucial for ensuring structural integrity and safety. In this extensive investigation, advanced machine learning algorithms are harnessed to achieve precise shear strength predictions for rectangular RC beams reinforced with FRP sheets. The aim of this research is to enhance the accuracy and reliability of shear strength estimation, providing valuable insights for the design and assessment of FRP-strengthened structures. The primary contributions of this study lie in the meticulous comparison of various machine learning algorithms, including Xgboost, Gradient Boosting, Random Forest, AdaBoost, K-nearest neighbors, and ElasticNet. Through comprehensive evaluation based on predictive performance, the most suitable model for accurately estimating the shear strength of FRP-reinforced rectangular RC beams is identified. Notably, Xgboost emerges as the superior performer, boasting an impressive R2 value of 0.901. It outperforms other algorithms and demonstrates the lowest RMSE, MAE, and MAPE values, establishing itself as the most accurate and reliable predictor. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis is conducted using artificial neural networks to assess the influence of input variables. This additional research facet sheds light on the critical factors shaping shear strength outcomes. The study, as a whole, represents a substantial contribution to advancing the development of accurate and dependable prediction models. The practical implications of this work are far-reaching, particularly for engineering applications in the realm of structures reinforced with FRP. The findings have the potential to transform the approach to the design and assessment of such structures, elevating safety, efficiency, and performance to new heights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction)
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35 pages, 2566 KiB  
Article
Building a Sustainable Future from Theory to Practice: A Comprehensive PRISMA-Guided Assessment of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) for Construction Applications
Sustainability 2023, 15(12), 9374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129374 - 09 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1898
Abstract
Compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEBs) offer a cheaper and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional building materials for construction. In addition to addressing waste disposal difficulties, the inclusion of waste additives may improve the characteristics of compressed earth blocks (CEBs). This article attempts to [...] Read more.
Compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEBs) offer a cheaper and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional building materials for construction. In addition to addressing waste disposal difficulties, the inclusion of waste additives may improve the characteristics of compressed earth blocks (CEBs). This article attempts to outline the findings of researchers who have utilized the various manufacturing processes and investigated the influence of binders and fibers on the properties of CEBs. A systematic search of Web of Science and Scopus electronic databases for works on soil blocks published between 2012 and 2022 yielded 445 articles, while reports, case studies, conference papers, and non-English articles were omitted. Keywords such as “Soil blocks”, “Earth bricks”, and others were used to identify eligible studies. This study has been segmented into five sections, including a descriptive examination of articles and authors who have investigated soil blocks, a comparative analysis based on their manufacturing processes, and physical, mechanical, and durability aspects of the CSEBs, which were analyzed to determine the impact of additives. The PRISMA 2020 standards were followed in the evaluation of each record, which resulted in the identification of 61 articles that were pertinent to the study’s objective. The comparative analysis of the articles reveals that the binders were more significant in improving the compressive strength, cyclic wetting-drying and erosion (durability) aspects of the soil blocks, while fibers were effective in enhancing their flexural and thermal performance. The literature review indicates that if the minimum permissible limits are met, waste materials have the potential to partially replace the soil. In addition, this study suggests establishing standardized manufacturing norms and testing protocols to ascertain the quality and safety of CSEBs used in construction. However, this study is constrained by the limited databases used, governed by keywords, electronic resources and timeframe that could be used as research avenues in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction)
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21 pages, 8426 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Strength of Saline Sandy Soils Stabilized with Alkali-Activated Cements
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13669; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013669 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1655
Abstract
Saline soils usually cannot satisfy the requirements of engineering projects because of their inappropriate geotechnical properties. For this reason, they have always been known as one of the problematic soils worldwide. Moreover, the lack of access to normal water has intensified the use [...] Read more.
Saline soils usually cannot satisfy the requirements of engineering projects because of their inappropriate geotechnical properties. For this reason, they have always been known as one of the problematic soils worldwide. Moreover, the lack of access to normal water has intensified the use of saline water resources such as seawater in many construction and mining projects. Although cement stabilization is frequently used to improve the engineering properties of saline soils, Portland cement’s usage as a binder is constrained by its negative consequences, particularly on the environment. In this line, the effects of NaCl on the microstructural and mechanical properties of alkali-activated volcanic ash/slag-stabilized sandy soil were investigated in this study. Moreover, the effects of binder type, slag replacement, curing time, curing condition, and NaCl content on the mechanical strength of stabilized soils were examined. In addition, microstructural analyses, including XRD, FTIR, and SEM–EDS mapping tests, were performed to understand the physical and chemical interaction of chloride ions and alkali-activated cements. The results show that alkali-activated slag can be a sustainable alternative to Portland cement for soil stabilization projects in saline environments. The increase in sodium chloride (NaCl) content up to 1 wt.% caused the strength development up to 244% in specimens with 50 and 100 wt.% slag, and adding more NaCl had no significant effect on the strength in all curing conditions. Microstructural investigations showed that the replacement of volcanic ash with slag resulted in the formation of C-S-H and C-A-S-H gels that reduced the porosity of the samples and increased mechanical strength. Furthermore, surface adsorption and chemical encapsulation mechanisms co-occurred in stabilized soil samples containing slag and volcanic ash. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction)
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17 pages, 2467 KiB  
Article
Effective Economic Combination of Waste Seashell and River Sand as Fine Aggregate in Green Concrete
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12822; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912822 - 08 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2929
Abstract
This research elucidates the idea of eco-friendly concrete and highlights the benefits attainable from its effective practice towards sustainable construction materials. The design mix employed a water/cement ratio of 0.5, a concrete mix ratio of 1:2:4, varying percentages of 2.5 mm seashells, 4.75 [...] Read more.
This research elucidates the idea of eco-friendly concrete and highlights the benefits attainable from its effective practice towards sustainable construction materials. The design mix employed a water/cement ratio of 0.5, a concrete mix ratio of 1:2:4, varying percentages of 2.5 mm seashells, 4.75 mm river sand as fine aggregates, and granite 20 mm as coarse aggregates. Laboratory tests showed that the true slump was achieved for all mixes as a decrease in workability was observed with seashell additions. Compressive strength declined with increasing percentages of seashells at all curing ages (7, 14, and 28 days). No seashell-modified mix achieved the target strength for concrete grade 25. Nevertheless, the 10 and 20% seashell blends obtained strength requirements for concrete grade 20. The splitting tensile strength results indicated that 10–50% seashell-concrete blends yield acceptable splitting tensile strength after 28 days of curing. Correlation and regression analysis showed that compressive strength has a high negative correlation with seashell percentage and a significant correlation with splitting tensile strength. However, no significant correlation was seen between seashell percentage and splitting tensile strength. Models were further developed for predicting workability, splitting tensile strength, and compressive strength, with seashell percentage data. Green concrete production, which reutilizes waste seashells should be promoted, bearing in mind its environmental sustainability and economic prospects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction)
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28 pages, 7685 KiB  
Article
Multi-Objective Prediction of the Mechanical Properties and Environmental Impact Appraisals of Self-Healing Concrete for Sustainable Structures
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9573; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159573 - 04 Aug 2022
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2623
Abstract
As the most commonly used construction material, concrete produces extreme amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) yearly. For this resulting environmental impact on our planet, supplementary materials are being studied daily for their potentials to replace concrete constituents responsible for the environmental [...] Read more.
As the most commonly used construction material, concrete produces extreme amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) yearly. For this resulting environmental impact on our planet, supplementary materials are being studied daily for their potentials to replace concrete constituents responsible for the environmental damage caused by the use of concrete. Therefore, the production of bio-concrete has been studied by utilizing the environmental and structural benefit of the bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, in concrete. This bio-concrete is known as self-healing concrete (SHC) due to its potential to trigger biochemical processes which heal cracks, reduce porosity, and improve strength of concrete throughout its life span. In this research paper, the life cycle assessment (LCA) based on the environmental impact indices of global warming potential, terrestrial acidification, terrestrial eco-toxicity, freshwater eco-toxicity, marine eco-toxicity, human carcinogenic toxicity, and human non-carcinogenic toxicity of SHC produced with Bacillus subtilis has been evaluated. Secondly, predictive models for the mechanical properties of the concrete, which included compressive (Fc), splitting tensile (Ft), and flexural (Ff) strengths and slump (S), have been studied by using artificial intelligence techniques. The results of the LCA conducted on the multiple data of Bacillus subtilis-based SHC mixes show that the global warming potential of SHC-350 mix (350 kg cement mix) is 18% less pollutant than self-healing geopolymer concrete referred to in the literature study. The more impactful mix in the present study has about 6% more CO2 emissions. In the terrestrial acidification index, the present study shows a 69–75% reduction compared to the literature. The results of the predictive models show that ANN outclassed GEP and EPR in the prediction of Fc, Ft, Ff, and S with minimal error and overall performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction)
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Review

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31 pages, 2081 KiB  
Review
Geotechnical Characteristics of Fine-Grained Soils Stabilized with Fly Ash, a Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16710; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416710 - 13 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2432
Abstract
Fly ash is a waste material obtained from burning of coal in thermal power plants. Coal consumption is still very high and is expected to remain above 38% globally. Therefore, large volumes of fly ash are produced every year that need to be [...] Read more.
Fly ash is a waste material obtained from burning of coal in thermal power plants. Coal consumption is still very high and is expected to remain above 38% globally. Therefore, large volumes of fly ash are produced every year that need to be managed as waste. Improper disposal of fly ash can lead to surface water and ground water pollution and adversely affect human health and environment. The use of fly ash as an agent to stabilize soil has recently become popular in geotechnical engineering due to its many benefits such as being eco-friendly and cost-effective, and improving the geotechnical characteristics of the soil. This paper presents a review of the geotechnical properties of fly ash-stabilized fine-grained soils. Several features of fly ash, including classification, physical, geotechnical, chemical, and mineralogical properties, health concerns, disposal, availability, and cost are analyzed. The effects of fly ash in improving a wide range of mechanical properties of soils including unconfined compressive strength, shear strength, CBR value, consolidation and/or swelling characteristics, and permeability are reviewed in detail. It is shown that fly ash can be a substitute material for use in soil stabilization, leading to substantial economic and environmental benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials: An Eco-Approach for Construction)
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