CD-Laboratory for Material Development Interface Interaction Service Life Assessment

Project: Research project

Project Details


The global annual costs of corrosion are estimated to be USD 2.5 trillion, which is an equivalent of roughly 3.4 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 15 – 35 percent of these costs could be saved by more durable (building) materials and by implementing/enhancing corrosion prevention practices, accounting for annually USD 375 – 875 billion. Besides economic considerations, corrosion influences the safety and reliability of structures, enhances environmental pollution, increases resources consumption and jeopardizes global climate goals. At the same time the construction sector represents one of the most significant sources of waste generation in the European Union and recent data indicate that 11 % of all greenhouse gas emissions generated worldwide originate from the manufacturing of construction materials. Correspondingly, mineral wastes represent the largest waste stream in Austria with an overall production of 54 Mio. t/a, corresponding to 76 % of the entire waste production. Almost 60 % of mineral wastes are landfilled and 96 % of all landfilled waste (32 Mio. t/a) is mineral waste. The aim of this research initiative is the establishment of a cutting-edge interdisciplinary competence center at the interface between waste, material, environmental, geo, and civil engineering sciences to develop a novel generation of waste-based geopolymer-based building materials with high (bio)chemical resistance following the concept of CO2-neutral circular economy. Succeeding the overall strategy for a climate-neutral economy by 2050 as presented by the European Commission, within the proposed advanced material development inorganic industrial waste and residual materials such as slags, ashes, mineral wools, clay-rich residual demolition masses and clays are further processed (as binder and activator) and complemented with carbon-rich waste compounds such as (waste)oils, organic fibers or industrial biomass residues. This combination allows to minimize environmental impact of material production and thereby presents a major step towards carbon neutral building material development. Continuative material testing based on accelerated, standards-compliant test procedures, field studies and pilot projects represents another core area of the research initiative. Therefore, advanced mineralogical, micro/nanostructural and (hydro)chemical analytics [e.g., X-ray and electron microscopy (FEG-EPMA, SEM, TEM), mass spectroscopy, X-ray microtomography, MAS-NMR etc.] will be linked with innovative monitoring tools (e.g., optical sensor systems, isotope/element tracers, fiber optic sensors) and complemented by experimental approaches, (micro)biological analyses, modeling and life cycle assessment calculations. Proposed material development and testing focus on reaction-specific processes at interfaces (liquid - solid - gas), proxy-based forensic reconstruction of physicochemical material properties and corresponding material adaptation to variable and possibly (in)favorable environmental and operational conditions. This approach forms the basis for targeted and tailored optimization and development of durable, ecologically friendly, mineral-based building materials for the respective application areas. Envisoned application areas are (i) (bio)chemically aggressive systems in (waste)water transport and treatment, (ii) transport infrastructure [e.g. tunnel drainage systems, tension elements (prestressed/non-prestressed), supporting structures], and (iii) (bio)waste disposal and stabilization.
Effective start/end date1/01/2331/12/24


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