Special Issue "Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jorge de Brito
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georresources, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: sustainable construction (recycled aggregates in concrete and mortars); bridge and building management systems; buildings service life (prediction); life cycle assessment; construction technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Rawaz Kurda
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. CERIS—Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, Instituto Superior Tecnico, University of Lisbon. Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal;
2. Department of Highway and Bridge Engineering, Technical Engineering College, Erbil Polytechnic University, Erbil 44001, Iraq
Interests: environmental impact; materials science; life cycle assessment; geopolymer concrete; green concrete; Alkali-activated materials; supplementary cementitious materials; construction and demolition waste; Sustainable concrete and mortar; Costs (economy); multi-criteria analysis; optimization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

Since the demand for concrete and mortar is rapidly increasing, many non-conventional materials have been recommended to be used in these cement-based materials for sustainability reasons. Some of these materials have been often studied by researchers and used in concrete. Nevertheless, there are other potential non-conventional materials that can also be used in concrete with environmental benefits. Thus, the ultimate goal of this Special Issue is to focus on the less studied non-conventional materials.

This Special Issue of Applied Sciences is therefore dedicated to comprehensive reviews and original studies on the resource use (e.g., non-renewable energy consumption), environmental impacts (e.g., global potential warming), technical performance (e.g., durability and mechanical) and cost of concrete containing less common non-conventional materials. Additionally, techniques used or any attempts (listed below, though not exhaustively) to reduce the resources use and environmental impacts of concrete are welcome.

  • Less common non-conventional aggregates (e.g., industrial wastes, insulating aggregates, agricultural wastes and aquaculture farming and municipal wastes)
  • Less common supplementary cementitious materials (e.g. agricultural wastes and aquaculture farming and municipal wastes)
  • Alkali activated/geopolymers with less common non-conventional precursors
  • By-product nanomaterials
  • Non-conventional admixtures
  • Strengthening systems (e.g. natural fibres)
  • Less common non-conventional rebars (e.g., stainless steel rebars, low-carbon chromium reinforcing steel rebars, galvanized rebars, basalt rebars, fibre reinforced-polymer rebars and bamboo)
  • Water (e.g., seawater, recycling water recovered from discarded ready-mix concrete, and treated and untreated wastewater)

Prof. Dr. Jorge de Brito
Dr. Rawaz Kurda
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Eco-friendly mortars and concrete
  • Environmental and cost life cycle assessment
  • Mechanical and durability-related properties
  • Supplementary cementitious materials
  • Nanomaterials
  • Unconventional reinforcement
  • Recycled aggregates
  • Alkali activation
  • Natural or by-product fibres
  • Industrial wastes

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Rheological Properties of Lunar Mortars
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6961; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11156961 - 28 Jul 2021
Viewed by 739
Abstract
NASA has revealed that they plan to resume manned missions and ensure the permanent presence of people in the so-called habitats on the Moon by 2024. Moon habitats are expected to be built using local resources—it is planned to use lunar regolith as [...] Read more.
NASA has revealed that they plan to resume manned missions and ensure the permanent presence of people in the so-called habitats on the Moon by 2024. Moon habitats are expected to be built using local resources—it is planned to use lunar regolith as aggregate in lunar concrete. Lunar concrete design requires a new approach in terms of both the production technology and the operating conditions significantly different from the Earth. Considering that more and more often it is assumed that the water present on the Moon in the form of ice might be used to maintain the base, but also to construct the base structure, the authors decided to investigate slightly more traditional composites than the recently promoted sulfur and polymer composites thermally hardened and cured. Numerous compositions of cement “lunar micro-mortars” and “lunar mortars” were made and tested to study rheological properties, namely, the consistency, which largely depend on the morphology of the fine-grained filler, i.e., regolith. For obvious reasons, the lunar regolith simulant (LRS) was used in place of the original Moon regolith. The used LRS mapped the grain size distribution and morphology of the real lunar regolith. It was created for the purpose of studying the erosive effect of dusty regolith fractions on the moving parts of lunar landers and other mechanical equipment; therefore, it simulated well the behavior of regolith particles in relation to cement paste. The obtained results made it possible to develop preliminary compositions for “lunar mortars” (possible to apply in, e.g., 3D concrete printing) and to prepare, test, and evaluate mortar properties in comparison to traditional quartz mortars (under the conditions of the Earth laboratory). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Effects of Accelerated Carbonation Testing and by-Product Allocation on the CO2-Sequestration-to-Emission Ratios of Fly Ash-Based Binder Systems
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 2781; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11062781 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Carbonation of cementitious binders implies gradual capture of CO2 and significant compensation for the abundant cement-related CO2 emissions. Therefore, one should always look at the CO2-sequestration-to-emission ratio (CO2SP/EM). Here, this was done for High-Volume Fly Ash (HVFA) [...] Read more.
Carbonation of cementitious binders implies gradual capture of CO2 and significant compensation for the abundant cement-related CO2 emissions. Therefore, one should always look at the CO2-sequestration-to-emission ratio (CO2SP/EM). Here, this was done for High-Volume Fly Ash (HVFA) mortar (versus two commercial cement mortars). Regarding their CO2 sequestration potential, effects of accelerated testing (at 1–10% CO2) on as such estimated natural carbonation degrees and rates were studied. Production related CO2 emissions were evaluated using life cycle assessment with no/economic allocation for fly ash. Natural carbonation rates estimated from accelerated tests significantly underestimate actual natural carbonation rates (with 29–59% for HVFA mortar) while corresponding carbonation degrees are significantly overestimated (67–74% as opposed to the actual 58% for HVFA mortar). It is advised to stick with the more time-consuming natural tests. Even then, CO2SP/EM values can vary considerably depending on whether economic allocation coefficients (Ce) were considered. This approach imposes significant portions of the CO2 emissions of coal-fired electricity production onto fly ash originating from Germany, China, UK, US and Canada. Ce values of ≥0.50% lower the potential CO2SP/EM values up to a point that it seems no longer environmentally worthwhile to aim at high-volume replacement of Portland cement/clinker by fly ash. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Influence of Cracking on the Durability of Reinforced Concrete with Carbon Nanotubes
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 1672; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11041672 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
This study focuses on the influence of natural and artificially induced cracks on the durability of concrete reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNT). Pre-cracked concrete mixes, unreinforced or reinforced with 0.1% CNT, are characterized in terms of capillary absorption, carbonation, and chloride penetration resistance, [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the influence of natural and artificially induced cracks on the durability of concrete reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNT). Pre-cracked concrete mixes, unreinforced or reinforced with 0.1% CNT, are characterized in terms of capillary absorption, carbonation, and chloride penetration resistance, and compared to the uncracked reference concrete. The mechanical strength and durability properties were improved in uncracked CNT-reinforced concrete, without significantly affecting its density and workability. The efficiency of CNT was higher when the concrete was previously subjected to drying conditions. For all tested properties, the incorporation of CNT was effective in reducing the influence of artificial and natural cracks on concrete durability. The main contribution of CNT occurred in the crack surrounding region. Depending on the analyzed property and cracking conditions, the significant reduction of durability in cracked concrete may be 10–30% attenuated when CNT is incorporated. The effect was more pronounced in mechanically induced natural cracks, where CNT may better participate in their vicinity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Mechanical Fracture and Fatigue Characteristics of Fine-Grained Composite Based on Sodium Hydroxide-Activated Slag Cured under High Relative Humidity
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 259; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11010259 - 29 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 489
Abstract
A typical example of an alternative binder to commonly used Portland cement is alkali-activated binders that have high potential as a part of a toolkit for sustainable construction materials. One group of these materials is alkali-activated slag. There is a lack of information [...] Read more.
A typical example of an alternative binder to commonly used Portland cement is alkali-activated binders that have high potential as a part of a toolkit for sustainable construction materials. One group of these materials is alkali-activated slag. There is a lack of information about its long-term properties. In addition, its mechanical properties are characterized most often in terms of compressive strength; however, it is not sensitive enough to sufficiently cover the changes in microstructure such as microcracking, and thus, it poses a potential risk for practical utilization. Consequently, the present study deals with the determination of long-term mechanical fracture and fatigue parameters of the fine-grained composites based on this interesting binder. The mechanical fracture parameters are primarily obtained through the direct evaluation of fracture test data via the effective crack model, the work-of-fracture method, the double-K fracture model, and complemented by parameter identification using the inverse analysis. The outcome of cyclic/fatigue fracture tests is represented by a Wöhler curve. The results presented in this article represent the complex information about material behavior and valuable input parameters for material models used for numerical simulations of crack propagation in this quasi-brittle material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Thermal Performance of Concrete with Recycled Concrete Powder as Partial Cement Replacement and Recycled CDW Aggregate
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(13), 4540; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10134540 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 792
Abstract
This novel study was triggered by a lack in the international literature of the simultaneous use of ground recycled concrete (GRC) as a cement replacement and mixed recycled aggregate as part of the granular skeleton in recycled concrete. It explores the thermal behaviour [...] Read more.
This novel study was triggered by a lack in the international literature of the simultaneous use of ground recycled concrete (GRC) as a cement replacement and mixed recycled aggregate as part of the granular skeleton in recycled concrete. It explores the thermal behaviour of concrete mixes bearing 10 wt% or 25 wt% GRC as a cement replacement and 25 wt% or 50 wt% mixed recycled aggregate (MRA) sourced from construction and demolition waste (CDW). The experimental programme conducted assessed concrete’s dry density, open porosity, electrical and thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity. The findings showed that the use of 10% and 25% GRC, in conjunction with 50% MRA, reduced thermal conductivity by 7.9% to 11.8% and raised specific heat capacity by 6.0% to 9.1% relative to concrete with 100% natural aggregate (NA). A cross-property analysis revealed that improved thermal performance was linearly related to lower density and higher porosity. The results also support the conclusion that these new recycled aggregate concrete mixes are more energy-efficient construction materials than conventional concrete. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Effect of the Addition of GGBS on the Frost Scaling and Chloride Migration Resistance of Concrete
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 3940; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10113940 - 05 Jun 2020
Viewed by 979
Abstract
Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag (GGBS) can partially replace cement in concrete to improve certain properties. However, some concerns regarding its performance have been raised. This research aimed at investigating the properties of concrete with GGBS, with special focus on its frost scaling and [...] Read more.
Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag (GGBS) can partially replace cement in concrete to improve certain properties. However, some concerns regarding its performance have been raised. This research aimed at investigating the properties of concrete with GGBS, with special focus on its frost scaling and chloride ingress resistance. Concretes with different amounts of GGBS, different efficiency factors, and different air contents have been tested. The effects of other factors, namely the curing temperature, the use of superplasticizer and carbonation, have also been investigated. The results showed that the frost resistance generally decreases with the increase of the amount of GGBS. However, this research showed that it is possible to produce frost resistant concrete with up to 50% of GGBS by changing some properties of the mix (such as increasing the air content). The results also showed a significant improvement of the chloride ingress resistance for concrete with high additions of GGBS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Bonding Strength Characteristics of FA-Based Geopolymer Paste as a Repair Material When Applied on OPC Substrate
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 3321; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10093321 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
This investigative study aims to study the mechanical and morphological properties of fly ash (FA)-based geopolymer paste as a repair material when applied on ordinary Portland cement (OPC) overlay concrete. The first part of this study investigates the optimal mix design of FA-based [...] Read more.
This investigative study aims to study the mechanical and morphological properties of fly ash (FA)-based geopolymer paste as a repair material when applied on ordinary Portland cement (OPC) overlay concrete. The first part of this study investigates the optimal mix design of FA-based geopolymer paste with various NaOH concentrations of 8, 10, 12, and 14 M, which were used later as a repair material. The second part studies the bonding strength using a slant shear test between the geopolymer repair material and OPC substrate concrete. The results showed that a shorter setting time corresponds to the higher NaOH molarity, within the range of 53 and 30 min at 8 and 14 M, respectively. The compressive strength of FA-based geopolymer paste was found to reach 92.5 MPa at 60 days. Also, from the slant shear test results, prism specimens with 125 mm length and 50 mm wide have a large bond strength of 11 MPa at 12 M. The scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDX) analysis showed that the OPC substrate has a significant effect on slant shear bond strength, where the presence of free cations of Ca2+ on the OPC substrate surface contributed to the formation of calcium alumina-silicate hydrate gel (C-A-S-H) by building various cross-links of Ca-O-Si. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Determination of the Optimum Amount of Superplasticizer Additive for Self-Compacting Concrete
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 3096; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10093096 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
Self-compacting concrete modifies its workability with small variations in the amount of superplasticizer additive. For this reason, large number of tests are required to monitor its workability. In order to determine the appropriate amount of additive for a single mix, the evolution of [...] Read more.
Self-compacting concrete modifies its workability with small variations in the amount of superplasticizer additive. For this reason, large number of tests are required to monitor its workability. In order to determine the appropriate amount of additive for a single mix, the evolution of the power consumption of the concrete mixer during the addition of small amounts of additive to the concrete was analyzed. These results were compared both with typical workability characterization for self-compacting concrete and with the saturation point results, determined by the Marsh cone method. After this comparison, a good correlation was obtained between the results from the traditional tests and the proposed “concrete mixer method”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Evaluation of Chloride Resistance of Early-Strength Concrete Using Blended Binder and Polycarboxylate-Based Chemical Admixture
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2972; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10082972 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
The mixing proportions of concrete were examined with regard to the durability performance and early strength in coastal areas. Research was conducted to improve the C24 mix (characteristic strength of 24 MPa). C35 concrete (characteristic strength of 35 MPa) was selected as a [...] Read more.
The mixing proportions of concrete were examined with regard to the durability performance and early strength in coastal areas. Research was conducted to improve the C24 mix (characteristic strength of 24 MPa). C35 concrete (characteristic strength of 35 MPa) was selected as a comparison group, as it exhibits the minimum proposed strength criterion for concrete in the marine environment. To secure the early strength of the C24 concrete, 50% of the total ordinary Portland cement (OPC) binder was replaced with early Portland cement (EPC); and to provide durability, 20% was substituted with ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS). In addition, a polycarboxylate (PC)-based superplasticizer was used to reduce the unit water content. The compressive strength, chloride ion diffusion coefficient, chloride penetration depth, and pore structure were evaluated. After one day, the compressive strength improved by 40% when using EPC and GGBS, and an average increase of 20% was observed over 91 days. EPC and GGBS also reduced the overall porosity, which may increase the watertightness of concrete. The salt resistance performance was improved because the rapid early development of strength increased the watertightness of the surface and immobilization of chloride ions, decreasing the chloride diffusion coefficient by 50%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Article
Durability and Engineering Performance Evaluation of CaO Content and Ratio of Binary Blended Concrete Containing Ground Granulated Blast-Furnace Slag
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 2504; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app10072504 - 05 Apr 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the durability and engineering performance of concrete mixed with locally produced ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) based on CaO content and ratio, and to derive the optimal CaO content range that can secure durability. Hence, tests were conducted [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the durability and engineering performance of concrete mixed with locally produced ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) based on CaO content and ratio, and to derive the optimal CaO content range that can secure durability. Hence, tests were conducted by increasing the GGBS replacement ratio by 10% from 0% to 70%, while the unit binder weight was fixed at 330 kg/m3. The results indicated that the compressive strength exhibited a tendency to increase when the CaO content and basicity increased within 28 d of age, although similar compressive strength characteristics were observed at 56 d of age, irrespective of the CaO content and basicity. Additionally, four test items (i.e., carbonation depth, chloride penetration depth, relative dynamic elastic modulus, and weight reducing ratio) were measured to evaluate durability. The optimal CaO content satisfying all four parameters was observed as ranging between 53% and 56% (GGBS replacement ratio: 27.5%–47.1%). The results of the study can provide guidelines on the mixing proportions of GGBS concrete with excellent durability that can be applied to local construction sites and can be used as basic data to set chemical composition criteria for the development of binders to improve durability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Review

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Review
A Review on the Performance of Concrete Containing Non-Potable Water
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6729; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11156729 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Construction industries consume huge amounts of potable water during activities such as washing of aggregates, stone crushing, manufacturing, and curing of concrete, mortars, grouts, and wetting of masonry bricks. It is also responsible for wastewater generated during the finishing and cleaning of buildings [...] Read more.
Construction industries consume huge amounts of potable water during activities such as washing of aggregates, stone crushing, manufacturing, and curing of concrete, mortars, grouts, and wetting of masonry bricks. It is also responsible for wastewater generated during the finishing and cleaning of buildings and construction equipment. Therefore, the water-footprint of construction industry cannot be ignored to reach the state-of-the art sustainability. This study reviewed the technical properties of construction materials made with non-potable water (NPW), i.e., domestic and industrial sewage. The study identified the positive and negative effects of non-potable water on the fresh- and hardened-state properties of concrete. This study also identified the gaps in the literature that can be analysed in order to produce reliable information related to the use of different types of NPW on the properties of concrete. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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Review
Sustainable Development of Concrete through Aggregates and Innovative Materials: A Review
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 629; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11020629 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1091
Abstract
The use of concrete in civil infrastructure is highly demanded in structural and nonstructural elements. However, the high production of concrete could lead to severe pollution in the world. This pollution can be decreased using sustainable materials mixed with cement to obtain sustainable [...] Read more.
The use of concrete in civil infrastructure is highly demanded in structural and nonstructural elements. However, the high production of concrete could lead to severe pollution in the world. This pollution can be decreased using sustainable materials mixed with cement to obtain sustainable concrete. These sustainable materials include reinforcing fibers (e.g., steel, polypropylene, carbon fibers), recycled materials (e.g., tire rubber, crushed glass, plastic, industrial waste) as well as organic and inorganic elements as concrete aggregates and reinforcement elements. The sustainable construction materials can reduce the amount constitutive elements of concrete required for civil constructions. In addition, some sustainable materials added to cement could improve some properties of the concrete, like the compressive and flexural strength of concrete structural elements. Thus, the maintenance requirements or early replacement of these structural elements could be decreased. This review presents recent investigations about the performance of different sustainable concrete types. In addition, we include the effects on the mechanical properties of the concrete caused by the incorporation of several sustainable materials. In addition, recommendations for the use and testing of sustainable concrete are reported. These materials have potential applications in the sustainable concrete infrastructure in future smart cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Concrete and Mortar with Non-conventional Materials)
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