A framework towards the design of more sustainable concrete structures

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The main contribution of this study is the development of a novel framework for the design of reinforced concrete (RC) structures which aims at ensuring that future RC structures have the lowest possible carbon footprint, energy use and impact on the environment. The key focus of the study is on structural design where there is a lack of grasp of materials aspects, and environmental aspects of construction. In the proposed framework, a set of quantifiable design parameters and variables (binder type, concrete grade, diffusivity, concrete cover depth, area of steel in the structural component) are selected with respect to a set of performance measures which cover the functionality and availability of the structure to the user during its service life. The outputs generated from the framework are optimised material types and properties which not only meet the design performance requirements but also lead to minimised life-cycle environmental impacts. Two case studies are used to demonstrate the proposed design methodology. These include a reinforced concrete frame building and a post-tensioned box girder. The application of the framework for design in the material specifications showed a reduced volume of materials in construction compared to the current materials and structures design practice.

Includes bibliographical references.