Environmental Engineering: Research @ Brunel

Articles (co)written by C&EE Brunel staff

Below are recent articles (co-)authored by Brunel academic staff. Please click the title of the article to access the full-text.

  • Picturing China's photovoltaic energy future: Insights from CMIP6 climate projections
    Guo, J. H. et al
    Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol 189, Pt A, Art No. 114026 (Jan 2024)
    Vigorous development of solar photovoltaic energy (PV) is one of the key components to achieve China's "30 center dot 60 Dual-Carbon Target". In this study, by utilizing the outputs generated by CMIP6 models under different shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) and a physical PV model (GSEE), future changes in PV power generation across China are provided for the outlined carbon neutralization period (2051-2070). The results reveal distinct spatiotemporal characteristics in the changes in PV output across China. Overall, compared to the historical period, annual PV power generation is projected to decrease in northern regions and Tibet Plateau with a maximum decrease of similar to 4% under the high emission scenario (SSP585), while southern and central regions exhibit significant increases. Remarkably, under the green development pathway (SSP126), PV power generation is expected to rise by over 10% in these regions. The magnitude of decrease in the north and increase in the south is projected to become more pronounced with the continuous increase of future carbon emissions. It is anticipated that the three northern regions of China will experience greater decreases in PV power generation in winter compared to other seasons, especially under SSP585. Additionally, the southeast region shows the smallest increase in summer PV generation out of all seasons. Moreover, under SSP126 trajectory, most regions in China exhibit reduced inter-annual and intra-annual variability in PV generation compared to the historical levels. This suggests that pursuing a sustainable path could substantially mitigate potential risks associated with PV generation fluctuations in China.

  • Post-fire properties of beam-slab specimens with different restraints on interior beams
    Wang, Y. et al
    Structures, Vol 57, Art No. 105063 (Nov 2023)
    This study investigated the influence of the vertical restraint of the interior beam and columns on the post-fire mechanical behaviours of four beam-slab specimens. Two vertical restraints and interior beams with and without a rigid vertical restraint were investigated. In addition, a numerical model was developed to analyse the load-deflection curves and membrane actions of the beam-slab specimens after exposure to fire. A plane equation and deflection parameter were proposed to predict the yield-line and ultimate loads of fire-damaged beam-slab specimens with different vertical restraints. The results revealed that, compared with the vertical restraint of the interior beam, the restraint of the columns has a greater effect on the ultimate loads of the beam-slab specimens after exposure to fire. Compared with the experimental and numerical results, the proposed elliptic equation method can be used to analyse the ultimate loads and membrane action distribution of the beam-slab specimens with different restraints of the interior beams.

  • Enhancing the Fresh and Early Age Performances of Portland Cement Pastes via Sol-Gel Silica Coating of Metal Oxides (Bi2O3 and Gd2O3)
    Cendrowski, K. et al
    Coatings, Vol 13, No 10, Art No. 1698 (Oct 2023)
    Incorporating metal oxide nanoparticles into cement-based composites delays the hydration process and strength gain of cementitious composites. This study presents an approach toward improving the performance of bismuth oxide (Bi2O3) and gadolinium oxide (Gd2O3) particles in cementitious systems by synthesizing core-shell structures via a sol-gel process. Two types of silica coatings on cementitious pastes with 5% and 10% substitution levels were proposed. The rheology, hydration, and mechanical properties of the pastes were analyzed to determine the relationship between the coating type and nanoparticle concentration. The results indicate that despite the significant disparities in the performance of the resulting material, both methods are appropriate for cement technology applications. Bi2O3's silica coatings accelerate the hydration process, leading to early strength development in the cement paste. However, due to the coarse particle size of Gd2O3, silica coatings exhibited negligible effects on the early age characteristics of cement pastes.

  • Development of 3D printed heavyweight concrete (3DPHWC) containing magnetite aggregate
    Federowicz, K. et al
    Materials & Design, Vol 233, Art No. 112246 (Sep 2023)
    The main objective of this study is to develop 3D printed heavyweight concrete (3DPHWC) to produce elements with a dry density of up to 3500 kg/m3 by replacing natural aggregate (SA) with magnetite aggregate (MA) up to 100%. A comprehensive systematic study was conducted to thoroughly assess mixtures' mechanical properties, physical proficiency, fresh properties, and printing qualities. The inclusion of MA exhibited the desired fresh properties required for 3D printing and promising physical and mechanical properties. Evaluation of the mechanical properties of designed 3DPHWC indicates that replacing SA with MA increases both cast and printed samples' strengths. The 3D printed M100 sample achieved higher 28 days flexural and compressive strengths by 18 % and 20 %, respectively, compared to printed control mix (M0). Micro-CT study correspondingly demonstrated improvements in the composites' porosity, pore size, and pore morphologies. The linear attenuation coefficients (LACs) and half-value layer (HVLs) for slow neutron and gamma-ray were measured to assess radiation shielding characteristics. A significant performance improvement was obtained for slow neutrons by introducing the magnetite aggregate. Unlike slow neutrons, no significant difference was observed between cast and printed samples against gamma-rays. Moreover, the effect of porosity on the shielding performance was discussed.

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