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Sustainable Materials

A section of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

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As the global population and affluence have increased, so has the use of various materials, in volume, diversity, and distance transported. Included here are raw materials, minerals, synthetic chemicals (including hazardous substances), manufactured products, food, living organisms, and waste. By 2050, humanity could consume an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels, and biomass per year (three times its current amount) unless the economic growth rate is decoupled from the rate of natural resource consumption. Developed countries’ citizens consume an average of 16 tons of those four key resources per capita, up to 40 or more tons per person in some developed countries, with resource consumption levels far beyond what is likely sustainable.

Sustainable use of materials has targeted the idea of dematerialization, converting the linear path of materials (extraction, use, disposal in landfill) to a circular material flow that reuses materials as much as possible, much like the cycling and reuse of waste in nature. This approach is supported by product stewardship and the increasing use of material flow analysis at all levels, especially individual countries and the global economy. The use of sustainable biomaterials that come from renewable sources and that can be recycled is preferred to the use on non-renewables from a life cycle standpoint.

Reference:

Wikipedia. Sustainabiliy. Available online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki?curid=18413531 (accessed on 27 July 2021)

Keywords

  • cement/concrete/other building materials
  • smart/environmentally adaptable materials, green composites/materials
  • eco-friendly/natural/healthy/recyclable materials
  • alternative material/microstructure control, nanocomposite technologies
  • material/structural reliability/durability, applications
  • intelligent, nature-mimicking, biological, bio/life-inspired materials, etc.
  • material recycling and material recovery from complex products
  • material substitution to enable lower-impact production and/or use (e.g., composites)
  • material performance targets in the context of a system design
  • advanced manufacturing processes with reduced energy, water, and material footprint
  • sustainable material processing
  • material recycling and recovery
  • material theory and modeling
  • life cycle analyses of sustainable technologies
  • sustainable manufacturing technologies
  • sustainable applied materials

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