sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Sustainable Materials for Construction

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021) | Viewed by 31730

Special Issue Editors

Department of Engineering and Geology, University of Chieti-Pescara “G d’Annunzio”, 66100 Pescara, Italy
Interests: materials science; geopolymers; construction and building materials; waste recycling; porous and foamy inorganic materials; hybrid foams; sustainable and innovative building materials; thermal-acoustic insulating materials; chemical-physical, microstructural, and mechanical characterization of materials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Engineering and Geology, University of Chieti-Pescara “G d’Annunzio”, 66100 Pescara, Italy
Interests: steel and aluminum structures; material and structures for cultural heritage; special materials and devices for the seismic protection of new and existing structures; additive manufacturing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Engeneering and Geology, University G. d'Annunzio of Chieti and Pescara, 66100 Chieti, Italy
Interests: construction materials; petrography; mineralogy; geochemistry; texture; CDW (construction and demolition waste); analytical methods
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The construction industry still represents one of the sectors with the highest environmental impacts, due to energy and raw materials consumption, production of wastes (CDWs: construction and demolition wastes), and greenhouse gas emissions mainly related to cement manufacturing. Remarkably, the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere is about one ton for each ton of cement produced. Considering the increasing awareness of global warming, there is a compelling need to replace cement in concrete with more eco-friendly alternative materials to strongly reduce its environmental impact. In parallel, the limitations of soil consumption require an expansion of the circular economy and processes that limit the extraction of new raw materials and reduce landfill of end-of-life materials. Many of the possible alternatives rely on technological advances that include energy-efficient and low-carbon production methods, new cement formulations based on the use of secondary raw materials, and the utilization of more sustainable binders, like geopolymers or alkali-activated materials. The additive manufacturing process is attracting growing attention for its promising advantage of addressing sustainable manufacturing issues, minimizing negative environmental impact through efficient resource utilization, especially concerning high complexity and customization of products. Moreover, the reuse and valorization of several kinds of waste materials, from different industrial processes and/or anthropogenic activities, especially CDWs, in the production of building materials represents one of the most promising responses to increasing the sustainability of construction sector. These advances are key factors to enhance the circular economy and, at the same time, reduce environmental issues related to waste disposal. Finally, the production of inexpensive, fire-resistant, energy-saving, and environmentally friendly sound absorbing and insulating inorganic material also represents a challenge to improving the energy-efficiency and sustainability of the building sector.

This Special Issue invites reviews, original research advances, and contributions dealing with the design, synthesis, production, and characterization of innovative building materials produced with sustainable raw materials, such as geopolymers, alkali-activated and CDWs materials, and/or using environmentally friendly processes (i.e., additive manufacturing) to promote their possible use in the construction industry.

Dr. Ilaria Capasso
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Brando
Prof. Dr. Gianluca Iezzi
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 building materials
  • waste materials
  • CDWs
  • secondary raw materials
  • geopolymers
  • recycled materials
  • inorganic insulating foams
  • additive manufacturing

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

18 pages, 9125 KiB  
Article
Experimental and Numerical Mechanical Characterization of Unreinforced and Reinforced Masonry Elements with Weak Air Lime Mortar Joints
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3990; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14073990 - 28 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1136
Abstract
This paper deals with the results of an experimental and numerical campaign aimed at characterizing the mechanical response of masonry components and panels made of limestone units kept together by weak air lime mortar joints. The selected air lime mortar, typical of ancient [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the results of an experimental and numerical campaign aimed at characterizing the mechanical response of masonry components and panels made of limestone units kept together by weak air lime mortar joints. The selected air lime mortar, typical of ancient masonry buildings but difficult to be built-up artificially, was specifically prepared for the experimental analyses, with the aim of obtaining a laboratory compression strength of 0.25–0.50 MPa. In the first part of the paper, the performed tests concerning the strength of the units (mean compression strength of 80 MPa) and of the mortar (mean compression strength after 28 days of 0.30 MPa), are described for different curing periods. Moreover, tests of masonry triplets in shear (shear strength of 0.11 MPa for null axial forces) are shown and used in order to establish the main parameters of the Mohr–Coulomb failure criterium. Then, the calibration of a continuous numerical micro-model implemented in Kratos Multiphysics is presented. The model is used for reproducing the behavior of an unreinforced panel in shear made of the studied masonry and to appraise the effectiveness of a FRCM- (Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Matrix) based reinforcement intervention applied. The obtained results proved that FRCM allows to increase the strength of the considered masonry type by about eight times and the ductility by about thirteen times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 1587 KiB  
Article
Quantification and Environmental Assessment of Wood Ash from Biomass Power Plants: Case Study of Brittany Region in France
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010099 - 22 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2160
Abstract
The increasing demand for energy is leading to the increasing use of renewable resources, such as biomass, resulting in the significant development of the wood energy sector in recent years. On the one hand, and to a certain extent, the sector has generated [...] Read more.
The increasing demand for energy is leading to the increasing use of renewable resources, such as biomass, resulting in the significant development of the wood energy sector in recent years. On the one hand, and to a certain extent, the sector has generated many benefits. On the other hand, the challenges related to wood ash (WA) management such as increasing tonnages, landfilling, restrictive regulations for reuse, etc., have been weighing more heavily in the debate related to the wood energy sector. However, all studies have assumed that no environmental impacts can be attributed to WA production. This study aims at discussing this assumption, whether the WA is a waste or a co-product of heat generation. In the first place, WA deposits were estimated using the biomass database and ash content from the literature regarding the collective, industrial and tertiary biomass power plants (BPP) in the French region of Brittany. Then, the impacts of the generated WA were estimated using the attributional life cycle assessment (LCA) method through two different impact allocation procedures (IAP), “from cradle to gate” (excluding the waste treatment). In Brittany, for the year 2017, an estimated amount of 2.8 to 8.9 kilotons of WA was generated, and this production should increase to 5 to 15.7 kilotons by 2050. The LCA conducted through this study gave an emission of 38.6 g CO2eq/kW h, with a major contribution from the production of the wood chips. Considering the environmental aspect, the IAP analysis indicated that energy and economic allocations were not relevant, and that, using the mass allocation, the environmental production of WA could represent 1.3% of the impacts of the combustion process in BPP. Therefore, WA, and especially the fly ash, can be considered as a waste from BPP heat production, without any environmental impact attributed to its generation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 4243 KiB  
Article
Sargassum-Modified Asphalt: Effect of Particle Size on Its Physicochemical, Rheological, and Morphological Properties
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11734; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111734 - 24 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1937
Abstract
The effect of sargassum particle size on the final properties of sargassum-modified asphalt is investigated in this article. Seaweed sargassum particles were first obtained and characterized through elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray diffraction, and FTIR spectroscopy. Additionally, pure and sargassum-modified asphalt blends [...] Read more.
The effect of sargassum particle size on the final properties of sargassum-modified asphalt is investigated in this article. Seaweed sargassum particles were first obtained and characterized through elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray diffraction, and FTIR spectroscopy. Additionally, pure and sargassum-modified asphalt blends were evaluated through physical and rheological tests such as penetration, softening point, thermal stability, dynamic viscosity, failure temperature, and epifluorescence microscopy. Modified asphalt blends were prepared by the hot mixing technique using different proportions of sargassum particles of two maximum sizes: 500 μm and 850 μm. Incorporating 3.0 wt.% of sargassum particles under 500 μm into the asphalt increased the viscosity of the original binder by a factor of 2.5 and its complex modulus by a factor of 1.9. At the same time, its failure temperature was 11 °C higher than the reference asphalt, which implies an improved viscoelastic behavior and rutting resistance at high temperatures. The study results suggest that the particles under 500 μm were responsible for the most significant effect on the final properties of the asphalt. Moreover, the storage stability test revealed that the modified asphalt blends are stable when the sargassum particle content was kept below 3.0 wt.%. The statistical analysis of the effect of sargassum particle size and concentration on the modified asphalt properties revealed that the rheological behavior is more affected by the modifier particle size; in contrast, the conventional physical properties were more determined by its concentration. Therefore, using low proportions of fine sargassum particles is efficient for improving the physical and rheological properties of the original asphalt, which is not only positive from the asphalt modification technology point of view but also from a sustainable perspective, since seaweed sargassum has become a useless plague in many coastal regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 3743 KiB  
Article
Red Mud-Blast Furnace Slag-Based Alkali-Activated Materials
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11298; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011298 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 1546
Abstract
The aluminum Bayer production process is widespread all over the world. One of the waste products of the Bayer process is a basic aluminosilicate bauxite residue called red mud. The aluminosilicate nature of red mud makes it suitable as a precursor for alkali-activated [...] Read more.
The aluminum Bayer production process is widespread all over the world. One of the waste products of the Bayer process is a basic aluminosilicate bauxite residue called red mud. The aluminosilicate nature of red mud makes it suitable as a precursor for alkali-activated materials. In this work, red mud was mixed with different percentages of blast furnace slag and then activated by sodium silicate solution at different SiO2/Na2O ratios. Obtained samples were characterized by chemical–physical analyses and compressive strength determination. Very high values of compressive strength, up to 50 MPa, even for high percentage of red mud in the raw mixture (70 wt.% of RM in powder mixture), were obtained. In particular, the higher compressive strength was measured for cubic samples containing 50 wt.% of RM, which showed a value above 70 MPa. The obtained mixtures were characterized by no or scarce environmental impact and could be used in the construction industry as an alternative to cementitious and ceramic materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 3083 KiB  
Article
Crushed Bricks: Demolition Waste as a Sustainable Raw Material for Geopolymers
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7572; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147572 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2357
Abstract
Demolition activity plays an important role in the total energy consumption of the construction industry in the European Union. The indiscriminate use of non-renewable raw materials, energy consumption, and unsustainable design has led to a redefinition of the criteria to ensure environmental protection. [...] Read more.
Demolition activity plays an important role in the total energy consumption of the construction industry in the European Union. The indiscriminate use of non-renewable raw materials, energy consumption, and unsustainable design has led to a redefinition of the criteria to ensure environmental protection. This article introduces an experimental plan that determines the viability of a new type of construction material, obtained from crushed brick waste, to be introduced into the construction market. The potential of crushed brick waste as a raw material in the production of building precast products, obtained by curing a geopolymeric blend at 60 °C for 3 days, has been exploited. Geopolymers represent an important alternative in reducing emissions and energy consumption, whilst, at the same time, achieving a considerable mechanical performance. The results obtained from this study show that the geopolymers produced from crushed brick were characterized by good properties in terms of open porosity, water absorption, mechanical strength, and surface resistance values when compared to building materials produced using traditional technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 5748 KiB  
Article
Bamboo as a Sustainable Building Material—Culm Characteristics and Properties
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7376; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137376 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 14229
Abstract
Bamboo culm is a renewable and lightweight material with high strength, particularly tensile strength. It is well accepted that bamboo culms have played a significant role in architecture because of their sustainable contribution. The culm characteristics and properties of three-year-old bamboo from five [...] Read more.
Bamboo culm is a renewable and lightweight material with high strength, particularly tensile strength. It is well accepted that bamboo culms have played a significant role in architecture because of their sustainable contribution. The culm characteristics and properties of three-year-old bamboo from five species (Dendrocalamus asper, Dendrocalamus sericeus, Dendrocalamus membranaceus, Thyrsostachys oliveri, and Phyllostachys makinoi) were investigated. The results show that each bamboo species has different culm characteristics along with culm length. Culm size, particularly the outer culm diameter and culm wall thickness, affects the ultimate load. These results confirm that a bigger culm with a thicker wall could receive more load. D. asper received the highest ultimate load, while T. oliveri received the lowest ultimate load. However, when calculating the test results for stress (load per cross-section area), P. Makinoi showed excellent mechanical properties, while D. asper showed the worst mechanical properties. This research promotes bamboo’s appropriate use for building applications and as a more sustainable material for architecture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 4014 KiB  
Article
Microstructure of Structural Lightweight Concrete Incorporating Coconut Shell as a Partial Replacement of Brick Aggregate and Its Influence on Compressive Strength
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7157; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137157 - 25 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2874
Abstract
In this study, coconut shell aggregate (CSA) was used in brick aggregate concrete (BAC) to produce structural lightweight concrete. Various BACs containing CSA (CSBACs) were prepared based on the volumetric mix ratio of 1:1.5:3 (cement:fine aggregate:coarse aggregate). CSA was used substituting 0−15% of [...] Read more.
In this study, coconut shell aggregate (CSA) was used in brick aggregate concrete (BAC) to produce structural lightweight concrete. Various BACs containing CSA (CSBACs) were prepared based on the volumetric mix ratio of 1:1.5:3 (cement:fine aggregate:coarse aggregate). CSA was used substituting 0−15% of brick aggregate (BA) by weight. The concrete mixes were designed based on the weight-based water to cement (w/c) ratios of 0.45, 0.50, and 0.55. All the freshly mixed concretes were tested for their workability with respect to slump. In addition, the freshly mixed concretes made with the w/c ratio of 0.50 were examined for their wet density and air content. The hardened concretes were tested for their dry density, compressive strength, and microstructural characteristics (e.g., microcrack, micropore, fissure). The microstructure of CSBACs was investigated by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). In addition, the fissure width between the cement paste and CSA was measured from the SEM images using “ImageJ” software. The correlation between the compressive strength and fissure width of CSBAC was also examined. Test results showed that the air content of CSBACs including 5–15% CSA was higher than that of the control concrete (0% CSA). In addition, the density and compressive strength of concrete decreased with the increased CSA content. Above all, the most interesting finding of this study was the presence of fissures in the interfacial transition zone between the cement paste and CSA of CSBAC. The fissure width gradually increased with the increase in CSA content and thus decreased the compressive strength of concrete. However, the fissure width decreased with the increased curing age of concrete and therefore the compressive strength of CSBAC was enhanced at later ages. Moreover, a good correlation between the compressive strength and fissure width of CSBAC was observed in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 4806 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Management of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Wastes in Gypsum Composites
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3961; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073961 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2079
Abstract
Promoting the use of gypsum and gypsum-based materials in construction is a successful strategy from an environmental point of view; it allows a lower energy demand with a sensible reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, the manufacturing of gypsum products [...] Read more.
Promoting the use of gypsum and gypsum-based materials in construction is a successful strategy from an environmental point of view; it allows a lower energy demand with a sensible reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, the manufacturing of gypsum products can represent an interesting sector to redirect and manage the large amount of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) waste. In this paper a sustainable application of AAC granulate waste in gypsum-based building materials was proposed. The intrinsic compatibility derived their chemical composition and allowed it to partially substitute raw gypsum with the waste up to 30% without affecting the functional and structural properties of the final product. Physical characterization and sound absorption data confirmed that the addition of AAC waste does not significantly alter the typical porosity of the gypsum composite. Finally, all of the composites reached mechanical performances suitable for different building application as gypsum plaster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 3088 KiB  
Article
Durability of Mortar Containing Coal Bottom Ash as a Partial Cementitious Resource
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8089; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198089 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1718
Abstract
This research work focuses on the study of the durability of composite cements based on coal bottom ash powder produced by SONICHAR in Niger. After a physicochemical and environmental characterization of the coal bottom ash powder, mortar test specimens were made. In these [...] Read more.
This research work focuses on the study of the durability of composite cements based on coal bottom ash powder produced by SONICHAR in Niger. After a physicochemical and environmental characterization of the coal bottom ash powder, mortar test specimens were made. In these specimens, 10%, 15% and 20% of cement were replaced by identical mass percentages of coal bottom ash powder. Durability studies focused on the determination of the chloride ions apparent diffusion coefficient, the measurement of the depth of carbonation and the accelerated ammonium nitrate leaching. The influence of carbonation and leaching were examined using the following parameters: pore distribution, gas permeability, porosity accessible to water, capillary absorption and electrical resistivity. The results show that the incorporation of coal bottom ash powder into CEM I leads to an increase in the depth of carbonation. This increase is more significant when the substitution rate exceeds 10%. In the leaching test, the partial substitution of coal bottom ash powder in CEM I up to 20% does not significantly affect the durability parameters of the composites compared to the control mortar. Diffusion test shows that for mortars containing less than 15% substitution, there is no significant influence on the chloride diffusion coefficient. A slight decrease is observed for mortar containing 20% substitution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Materials for Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop