Special Issue "The New Generation of Concrete: Use of Eco-Efficient Aggregates, Binders and Water"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jorge de Brito
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Miguel Bravo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CERIS, IST-ID, Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georresources, Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade de Lisboa, 1049–001 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: materials science; sustainability in construction; recycled aggregate concrete; cementitious materials from industrial by-products; supplementary cementitious materials; alkali-activated materials
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

During the 20th century, the yearly carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose from 1500 to 25000 Mton. These emissions are caused by many activities, including construction that, due to cement production alone, contributes with more than 6% of this value. The Paris Agreement has established the urgent need to fight climate changes happening to the planet.

Today, one of the main objectives of this sector is to provide the construction industry with a new way of producing structural concrete with a positive environmental impact throughout its life cycle. To achieve that, synergies between three vectors need to be developed: replacement of concrete’s traditional binder with one of lower environmental impact; use of recycled aggregates (RA) instead of natural ones; and reuse of alternative water instead of tap water.

This Special Issue focuses on the development of sustainable cementitious composites, either through the replacement of natural aggregates with recycled aggregates, or the use of alternative sustainable binders to Portland cement or the use of reused water.

The main topics covered in this Special Issue include (but are not limited to):

  • Experimental characterization of cementitious composites containing recycled aggregates from all origins;
  • Experimental characterization of cementitious composites containing alternative sustainable binders;
  • Experimental characterization of cementitious composites containing recycled water;
  • Development of analytical methods and numerical models applied to the characterization of sustainable materials and structures produced with them;
  • Development of standards or specifications for evaluating the performance of sustainable materials;
  • Development of a environmental and economic assessment of sustainable mixes and structures with them;
  • Development of large scale models of sustainable materials, measuring the impacts of these new materials.

Original studies and reviews on subjects other than the aforementioned that are deemed to contribute to an advance in the knowledge of the sustainable materials and their applications are welcome in this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Jorge de Brito
Prof. Dr. Miguel Bravo
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 papers will be 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 1900 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.


  • sustainable materials
  • recycled aggregate concrete
  • alternative binders
  • supplementary cementitious materials
  • construction and demolition waste
  • industrial waste
  • recycled water
  • low environmental impact

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Iron and Aluminium Production Wastes as Exclusive Components of Alkali Activated Binders—Towards a Sustainable Alternative
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9938; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13179938 - 04 Sep 2021
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The sustainability of resources is becoming a worldwide concern, including construction and building materials, especially with the alarming increase rate in global population. Alternative solutions to ordinary Portland cement (OPC) as a concrete binder are being studied, namely the so-called alkali-activated cements (AAC). [...] Read more.
The sustainability of resources is becoming a worldwide concern, including construction and building materials, especially with the alarming increase rate in global population. Alternative solutions to ordinary Portland cement (OPC) as a concrete binder are being studied, namely the so-called alkali-activated cements (AAC). These are less harmful to the environment, as lower CO2 emissions are associated with their fabrication, and their mechanical properties can be similar to those of the OPC. The aim of developing alkali-activated materials (AAM) is the maximization of the incorporated recycled materials, which minimises the CO2 emissions and cost, while also achieving acceptable properties for construction applications. Therefore, various efforts are being made to produce sustainable construction materials based on different sources and raw materials. Recently, significant attention has been raised from the by-products of the steelmaking industry, mostly due to their widespread availability. In this paper, ladle slag (LS) resulting from steelmaking operations was studied as the main precursor to produce AAC, combined with phosphating bath sludge—or phosphate sludge (PS)—and aluminium anodising sludge (AS), two by-products of the surface treatment of metals, in replacement rates of 10 and 20 wt.%. The precursors were activated by two different alkaline solutions: a combination of commercial sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate (COM), and a disposed solution from the cleaning of aluminium extrusion steel dies (CLE). This study assesses the influence of these by-products from the steelmaking industry (PS, AS and CLE) on the performance of the alkali-activated LS, and specifically on its fresh and hardened state properties, including rheology, heat of hydration, compressive strength and microstructure and mineralogy (X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy and Fourier transform infra-red. The results showed that the CLE had no negative impact on the strength of the AAM incorporating PS or/and AS, while increasing the strength of the LS alone by 2×. Additionally, regardless of the precursor combination, the use of a commercial activator (COM) led to more fluid pastes, compared with the CLE. Full article
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