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Fibre Reinforced Concrete with Recycled and Waste Materials Optimised for Improved Sustainability of Urban Projects

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GREEN-FRC (Fibre Reinforced Concrete with Recycled and Waste Materials Optimised for Improved Sustainability of Urban Projects)

Reporting period: 2020-02-03 to 2022-02-02

The percentage of the global population living in urban areas in the EU is 75.2%, i.e. 385 million people, expected to increase to 80% by 2050. Hence, the demand on cities for maintaining and increasing the well-being and quality of life of their citizens will only continue to increase. In order to achieve this goal, sustainable, resilient and robust urban infrastructure is required.
The majority of urban infrastructure, such as buildings, bridges, roads and tunnels, is produced from reinforced concrete. However, the challenges of sustainable concrete production need to be urgently addressed. These include the use of recycled and waste materials for aggregate and binder in concrete, as well as the use of alternative reinforcements such as steel and synthetic fibres, as sustainable replacements of steel reinforcing bars.
With these challenges in mind, the GREEN-FRC project was carried out, with the main aim of producing fibre reinforced concrete (FRC) with sustainable reinforcement, and recycled and waste materials as constituents of concrete. More specifically, the project objectives were the development of “green” FRC mixes, novel testing methods for determining FRC properties, performance-based indicators for sustainable, recycled and waste material use in concrete and design guidelines and standards for “green” FRC structures.
The project fits within the context of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities), European Green Deal and the EU Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises.
Overall, the GREEN-FRC achieved its aim and specific objectives. In the first stage of the project, a wide range of FRCs with sustainable materials were produced and tested. Experimental research was carried out on FRCs with recycled aggregates, recycled polypropylene fibres, ladle furnace slag and limestone calcined clay. This allowed the demonstration of the satisfactory performance of “green” FRCs. In the second stage of the project, a novel characterisation test for FRC was tested, enabling the assessment of fibre orientation. The results offer potential for facilitating and accelerating quality control in FRC structures.
The third stage of the project consisted of identifying and developing performance-based indicators for recycled and waste materials and their use in concrete in order to enable their more reliable exploitation. For this purpose, through a joint international collaboration, a machine learning regression tool was developed to enable the prediction of the properties of concretes made with different recycled and waste materials based on large experimental datasets. Finally, in the fourth stage of the project guidelines were developed for structural the structural design of recycled aggregate concrete, structural tests and numerical simulations of different FRC and partial factor calibrations for their structural design.
In parallel to research activities, the Individual Fellow participated in several carefully chosen and targeted training activities aimed at boosting their excellence and providing new and transferable skills and a wide range of dissemination, communication and exploitation activities were carried out in order to maximise the impact of the GREEN-FRC project.
The GREEN-FRC project has contributed to a better understanding and optimised use of sustainable, recycled and waste materials in fibre reinforced concrete and deeper knowledge on the behaviour and design of fibre reinforced concrete structures. The project has demonstrated how to develop concrete mix designs for “green” FRC, how to perform advanced characterisation tests, how to use recycled and waste materials based on their properties and how to design FRC structures. The results offer practical and clear guidance on how to improve sustainability of FRC and FRC structures and thereby has an impact on the research community, industry, policy makers and regulatory authorities and the general public. The results of the project are aligned with and contribute to both national and European-level priorities and policies such as European Green Deal, European Green and Digital Twin Transition, Circular Economy Action Plan, and Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises. The project has also been disseminated via its website, social media profiles, press articles and TV interviews, reaching a wide audience.
Activities carried out within WP2
Activities carried out within WP5
Activities carried out within WP3
Activities carried out within WP4
Activities carried out within WP7