About this Research Topic
Cement-based concrete is the most used construction material in the world, ubiquitous in most of the infrastructures. Concrete infrastructure, however, is at the risk of premature failure when the degradation of concrete compromises their serviceability and reliability. The risk stems from complex interactions between concrete and the service environment, absence of advanced design and condition assessment approaches, and timely preservation or maintenance. Significant efforts are needed to maintain the aging infrastructure at a serviceable and safe state. Recent advances in nanotechnology and bio-concrete hold great promise to address these issues and potentially adding new functionalities and yet unexplored areas of self-sensing and self-healing properties. Examples of intelligent materials include concrete capable of sensing the variations of environmental and loading conditions and adopt suitable responses by altering one or more working parameters during their service life.
In comparison to conventional concrete, intelligent concretes can be designed to optimize their strength, serviceability, durability, and other functions of infrastructure thereby reducing life-cycle costs, consumption of resources and associated environment impacts. All these functional features help lay a solid material foundation for building smart cities and sustainable built environments. Intelligent concrete is essential to the implementation of durable and smart infrastructures that feature properties and functionalities notably different from conventional concrete, such as self-sensing, self-healing, self-cleaning, featuring energy-harvesting abilities and storage, electromagnetic-shielding, and hydrophobic properties. Intelligent concrete also contributes to the resilience of infrastructures, with its ability to react upon an external stimulus, such as stress, deformation, humidity, and temperature.
Despite of the increasing amount of research published thus far on intelligent concrete, many challenges and research barriers remain unresolved calling for further innovative exploration. This Research Topic will focus on the new advances in theories, concepts, mechanisms, models, and practices related to new functionalities, advancing the field of smart concretes and structures, and addressing the challenges in the development and applications of intelligent infrastructure.
This Research Topic aims to cover original or review articles exploring the innovation in intelligent concrete. Themes of interests include, but not limited to:
(1) Self-sensing concrete able to sense the conditions and environmental parameters, such as stress (or force), strain (or deformation), crack, damage, temperature, and humidity
(2) Self-healing concrete with the ability to repair its cracks autogenously or autonomously
(3) Self-cleaning concrete with the ability of effectively resisting wetting by water and aqueous solution or mitigating air pollution and pollution on the surface
(4) Electromagnetic-shielding concrete with the ability to protect the inner environment from disturbances of external electromagnetic field
(5) Concrete tuned for energy-harvesting or energy-storage with the ability to harness or store energy from ambient energy sources (e.g., solar power, thermal energy, wind energy and vibration) and convert it into electrical energy
Keywords: Intelligent concrete, Self-sensing, Self-healing, Energy-storage, Nanotechnology
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.