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  • 1.
    Källbom, Susanna
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials.
    Characterisation of thermally modified wood for use as component in biobased building materials2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The building sector shows growing interest in biobased building materials. Wood components, here defined as ground or milled wood, i.e. by-products (residuals/residues) from wood processing, such as sawdust or shavings, are valuable raw materials for new types of durable biocomposites suitable for outdoor building applications. An important research question related to such composites is how to characterise and enhance molecular interactions, i.e. adhesion properties, between wood and binder components. Another challenge is the hygroscopicity of the wood component, which can lead to dimensional changes and interfacial cracks during exposure to varying moisture conditions. Thermal modification of wood reduces its hygroscopicity, thereby, increasing its durability, e.g. its dimensional stability and resistance to biodeterioration. The hypothesis is that the use of thermally modified wood (TMW) components in biocomposites can enhance their durability properties and, at the same time, increase the value of residues from TMW processing. The main objective of this thesis is to study and analyse the surface and sorption properties of TMW components using inverse gas chromatography (IGC), dynamic vapour sorption (DVS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and the multicycle Wilhelmy plate method. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the surface and sorption characteristics of TMW components to enable the design of optimal adhesion properties and material combinations (compatibility) for use in biocomposites, especially suitable for outdoor and moist building material applications. Samples of TMW and unmodified wood (UW) components of Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) heartwood were prepared and analysed with respect to surface energetics, hygroscopicity, liquid sorption and resulting swelling. The work also included analysis of surface chemical composition, as well as influences of extractives and moisture sorption history. The effect of using TMW components in a wood plastic composite (WPC) exposed to a series of soaking-drying cycles in water was studied with a focus on water sorption, swelling and micromorphological changes. The IGC analyses indicate that TMW components of spruce have a more heterogeneous surface energy character, i.e. a distinctly higher dispersive part of surface energy for low surface coverages, than do UW components. This is suggested to be due to the higher percentage of hydrophobic extractives present in TMW samples. Lewis acid-base analysis indicates that both UW and TMW components from spruce have a predominantly basic character and an enhanced basicity for the latter ones. Results show that both the hygroscopicity and water liquid uptake are lower for TMW than for UW samples. Unexpectedly, a significantly lower rate of water uptake was found for the extracted UW of pine heartwood than for non-extracted samples. In the former case, this is presumably due to contamination effects from water-soluble extractives, which increase capillary flow into wood voids, as proven by a decrease in water surface tension. Water uptake as well as swelling was significantly reduced for the WPCs with TMW and hot-water extracted UW components compared with the WPCs with UW components. This reduction also resulted in fewer wood component-polymer interfacial cracks in the WPCs with the modified wood components.

  • 2.
    Onifade, Ibrahim
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials.
    Development of Energy-based Damage and Plasticity Models for Asphalt Concrete Mixtures2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Characterizing the full range of damage and plastic behaviour of asphalt mixtures under varying strain-rates and stress states is a complex and challenging task. One reason for this  is partly due to the strain rate and temperature dependent nature of the material as well as the variation in the properties of the constituent materials that make up the composite asphalt mixture. Existing stress-based models for asphalt concrete materials are developed based on mechanics principles, but these models are, however, limited in their application for actual pavement analysis and design since rate dependency parameters are needed in the constitutive model to account for the influence of the strain rate on the stress-based yield and evolution criteria. Till date, we are yet to arrive at simple and comprehensive constitutive models that can be used to model the behaviour of asphalt mixture over a wide range of strain-rate which is experienced in the actual pavement sections. The aim of this thesis is to develop an increased understanding of the strength and deformation mechanism of asphalt mixtures through multi-scale modeling and to develop simple and comprehensive continuum models to characterize the non-linear behaviour of the material under varying stress-states and conditions. An analysis framework is developed for the evaluation of the influence of asphalt mixture morphology on its mechanical properties and response using X-Ray CT and digital image processing techniques. The procedure developed in the analysis framework is then used to investigate the existence of an invariant critical energy threshold for meso-crack initiation which serves as the basis for the development of a theory for the development of energy-based damage and plastic deformation models for asphalt mixtures. A new energy-based viscoelastic damage model is developed and proposed based on continuum damage mechanics (CDM) and the thermodynamics of irreversible processes. A second order damage variable tensor is introduced to account for the distributed damage in the material in the different principal damage directions. In this way, the material response in tension and compression can be decoupled and the effects of both tension- and compression stress states on the material behaviour can be accounted for adequately. Based on the finding from the energy-based damage model, an equivalent micro-crack stress approach is developed and proposed for the damage and fracture characterization of asphalt mixtures. The effective micro-crack stress approach takes account of the material stiffness and a critical energy threshold for micro-crack initiation in the characterization of damage and fracture properties of the mixture. The effective micro-crack stress approach is developed based on fundamental mechanics principles and it reduces to the Griffith's energy balance criterion when purely elastic materials are considered without the need for the consideration of the surface energy and a crack size in the determination of the fracture stress. A new Continuum Plasticity Mechanics (CPM) model is developed within the framework of thermodynamics to describe the plastic behaviour of asphalt concrete material with energy-based criteria derived for the initiation and evolution of plastic deformation. An internal state variable termed the "plasticity variable" is introduced to described the distributed dislocation movement in the microstructure. The CPM model unifies aspects of existing elasto-plastic and visco-plastic theories in one theory and shows particular strength in the modeling of rate-dependent plastic behaviour of materials without the need for the consideration of rate dependency parameters in the constitutive relationships. The CPM model is further extended to consider the reduction in the stiffness properties with incremental loading and to develop a unified energy-based damage and plasticity model. The models are implemented in a Finite Element (FE) analysis program for the validation of the models. The result shows that the energy-based damage and plastic deformation models are capable of predicting the behaviour of asphalt concrete mixtures under varying stress-states and strain-rate conditions. The work in this thesis provides the basis for the development of more fundamental understanding of the asphalt concrete material response and the application of sound and solid mechanics principles in the analysis and design of pavement structures.

  • 3.
    Ghafoori Roozbahany, Ehsan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials.
    Flow behavior of asphalt mixtures under compaction2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Asphalt compaction is one of the most important phases of road construction, being the decisive phase when the structure of the asphalt pavement layer is formed. In spite of its importance, the knowledge about this construction phase is still based on empirical and technological background and therefore surprisingly limited. This lack of knowledge is also due to the fact that the existing laboratory scale compaction devices for mix design are not fully capable of simulating the field compaction. The simulation of asphalt compaction in the laboratory is normally focused on the vertical rearrangements of asphalt particles whereas the flow behavior of these particles in other directions is mostly neglected. However, existing literature suggests that the neglected flow is one of the most important factors for the quality of the road construction, particularly in special cases such as asphalt joints. Therefore, building up a better understanding of the flow behavior of asphalt mixtures subjected to compaction loads is needed for improving the quality of the pavements.

    In this study, a new test setup, the so called Compaction Flow Test (CFT), was developed to simulate the flow behavior of asphalt mixtures at early stages of compaction. In the first step, feasibility tests were performed, substituting asphalt mixtures by model materials with simple geometries and less complex properties. X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) was utilized for capturing 2D radiography images of the flow patterns in the model material during the test. Results of the CFT showed the capability of the new test setup to clearly distinguish between model mixtures with different characteristics. Hence, in the next step, the CFT was applied to real asphalt mixtures and the obtained results were found to support the findings of the feasibility tests with the model materials.

    The results from the feasibility tests encouraged examining the possible use of an ultrasonic sensor as alternative to the complex and costly X-ray imaging for flow measurements during the CFT. Hence, the CFT was used along with a distance measuring ultrasonic sensor for testing asphalt mixtures with different characteristics. The test results confirmed that an ultrasonic sensor could be effective for capturing the differences of the flow behavior of asphalt mixtures tested by the CFT. 

    In addition, a parametric study with the X-ray setup was carried out to examine the capability of the CFT in reflecting the possible changes of the flow behavior in asphalt mixtures due to the change of construction parameters such as lift thickness, bottom roughness and compaction modes. The results obtained also confirmed the capability of the CFT in showing the possible differences in the flow behavior of the mixtures under the chosen conditions.

    The encouraging results suggested that the CFT may have potential to become a simple but effective tool for assessing compactability of the mixtures on-site, right after production in an asphalt plant or before placing the mixture on the road. Hence, discrete element method (DEM) was utilized to understand both the influence of selected boundaries of the CFT and the effect of its design on the results.

    As one specific example of application, an investigation was carried out using the CFT to find the most suitable tracking method for flow measurements in the field. Based on the literature review and feasibility tests, a tracking method with the highest potential for conducting flow measurements during field compaction was introduced. X-ray radiography confirmed the validity of the results obtained with the suggested method.

    The overall results obtained from this study suggest that the recommended CFT along with the suggested field tracking method may be helpful in building up a comprehensive basis of knowledge on the flow and compaction behavior of asphalt mixtures thus helping to close the gap between the field and laboratory.

  • 4.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials. RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden.
    The role of biobased building materials in the climate impacts of construction: Effects of increased use of biobased materials in the Swedish building sector2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A significant share of the global climate change impacts can be attributed to the construction sector. One mitigation strategy is increasing the use of biobased materials. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used to demonstrate the benefits of this, but forest complexities create uncertainty due to omission of key aspects. The aim of this thesis is to enhance understanding of the effects of increasing use of biobased materials in climate change mitigation of construction works with a life cycle perspective. Non-traditional LCA methodology aspects were identified and the climate impact effects of increasing the use of biobased materials while accounting for these was studied. The method applied was dynamic LCA combined with forest carbon data under multi-approach scenarios. Diverse case studies (a building, a small road bridge and the Swedish building stock) were used. Most scenarios result in impact reductions from increasing the use of biobased materials in construction. The inclusion of non-traditional aspects affected the results, but not this outcome. Results show that the climate mitigation potential is maximized by simultaneously implementing other strategies (such as increased use of low-impact concrete). Biobased building materials should not be generalised as climate neutral because it depends on case-sensitive factors. Some of these factors depend on the modelling of the forest system (timing of tree growth, spatial level approach, forest land use baseline) or LCA modelling parameters (choice of the time horizon, end-of-life assumptions, service life). To decrease uncertainty, it is recommended to use at least one metric that allows assessment of emissions based on their timing and to use long-term time horizons. Practitioners should clearly state if and how non-traditional aspects are handled, and study several methodological settings. Technological changes should be accounted for when studying long-term climate impacts of building stocks.

  • 5.
    Hailesilassie, Biruk
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials.
    Morphology Characterization of Foam Bitumen and Modeling for Low Temperature Asphalt Concrete2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Development of new asphalt technologies to reduce both energy consumption and CO2 production has attracted great interest in recent years. The use of foam bitumen, as one of them, is attractive due to the low investment and production cost. Formation and decay of foam bitumen is a highly dynamic temperature dependent process which makes characterization difficult. In this thesis, new experimental tools were developed and applied for characterizing the foam bitumen during the hot foaming process. 

    One of the main goals of this study was to improve understanding and characterization of the foam bitumen formation and decay. X-ray radiography was used to study the formation and decay of foam bitumen in 2D representation. The results demonstrate that the morphology of bubble formation depends on the types of bitumen used. Moreover, theoretical investigation based on the 3D X-ray computed tomography scan dataset of bubble merging showed that the disjoining pressure increased as the gap between the bubbles in the surface layer (foam film) decreased with time and finally was ruptured. 

     Examining the foam bitumen stream right at the nozzle revealed that foam bitumen at a very early stage contains fragmented pieces of irregular size rather resembling a liquid than foam. The result from thermogravimetric analysis demonstrated that residual water content depends on the initial water content, and was found to be between 38 wt% and 48 wt% of the initial water content of 4 wt% to 6 wt%.

    Moreover the influence of viscosity and surface tension on bubble shape and rise velocity of the bubbles using level-set method was implemented in finite element method. The modeling results were compared with bubble shape correlation map from literature. The results indicated that the bubble shapes are more dependent on the surface tension parameters than to the viscosity of the bitumen, whereas the bitumen viscosity is dominant for bubble rising velocity.

  • 6.
    Segerholm, Kristoffer
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials.
    Characteristics of wood plastic composites based on modified wood: Moisture properties, biological performance and micromorphology2012Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Biobased materials made from renewable resources, such as wood, play an important role in the sustainable development of society. One main challenge of biobased building materials is their inherent moisture sensitivity, a major cause for fungal decay, mold growth and dimensional instability, resulting in decreased service life as well as costly maintenance. A new building material known as wood-plastic composites (WPCs) has emerged. WPCs are a combination of a thermoplastic matrix and a wood component, the former is usually recycled polyethylene or polypropylene, and the latter a wood processing residual, e.g. sawdust and wood shavings.

    The objective of this thesis was to gain more insight about characteristics of WPCs containing a modified wood component. The hypothesis was that a modified wood component in WPCs would increase the moisture resistance and durability in outdoor applications. The study comprises both injection molded and extruded WPC samples made with an unmodified, acetylated, thermally modified or furfurylated wood component in a polypropylene (PP), high density polyethylene (HDPE), cellulose ester (CAP, a cellulose ester containing both acetate and propionate substituents) or polylactate (PLA) matrix. The WPCs were prepared with 50-70 weight-% wood. The emphasis was on studying the moisture sorption, fungal resistance and micromorphological features of these new types of composites. Water sorption in both liquid and vapor phases was studied, and the biological performance was studied both in laboratory and in long term outdoor field tests. Micromorphological features were assessed by analyzing of the wood component prior to and after processing, and by studying the composite microstructure by means of a new sample preparation technique based on UV excimer laser ablation combined with scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

    Results showed that the WPCs with a modified wood component had a distinctly lower hygroscopicity than the WPCs with unmodified wood, which resulted in less wood-plastic interfacial cracks when subjected to a moisture soaking-drying cycle. Durability assessments in field and marine tests showed that WPCs with PP or CAP as a matrix and 70 weight-% unmodified wood degraded severely within a few years, whereas the corresponding WPCs with a modified wood component were sound after 7 years in field tests and 6 years in marine tests. Accelerated durability tests of WPCs with PLA as a matrix showed only low mass losses due to decay. However, strength losses due to moisture sorption suggest that the compatibility between the PLA and the different wood components must be improved. The micromorphological studies showed that WPC processing distinctly reduces the size and changes the shape of the wood component. The change was most pronounced in the thermally modified wood component which became significantly reduced in size. The disintegration of the modified wood components during processing also creates a more homogeneous micromorphology of the WPCs, which may be beneficial from a mechanical performance perspective. Future studies are suggested to include analyses of the surface composition, the surface energy and the surface energy heterogeneity of both wood and polymer components in order to tailor new compatible wood-polymer combinations in WPCs and biocomposites.

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