M e a s u r e M e n t s c i e n c e fo rSustainableInfrastructure MaterialsWhat is the problem? of metal smelting), into concrete as well as reduce environmental, health, and safetyNational and international economic growth concerns related to the potential release ofcannot continue into the next century unless nanoparticles from nanocomposite materi-industries, especially high volume trades als that are rapidly being introduced into thelike the construction industry, dramatically marketplace.reduce the amounts of natural resources Sustainability decision analysis tools areand energy they consume and the waste that currently being developed by industry, gov-they produce. To remain globally competi- ernment agencies, and standards organiza-tive while embracing sustainability, the U.S. tions. The efficacy of these decision tools,construction industry needs to reexamine however, is greatly hampered by the lack ofand redefine its practices: chemicals, mate- reliable sustainability input data, especiallyrials, manufacturing methods, products, service life data for materials, componentsand waste disposal. Currently, construction and systems, and the absence of measure-materials, mainly concrete, steel, and poly- ment science for gauging this critical input.meric materials, are being consumed at an Without technically sound, thoroughlyannual rate of approximately $500 billion per evaluated measurement science, the inputyear in new construction, and an additional available for making sustainability decisions$2.2 trillion in materials and construction is too crude and unreliable. This deficiencyproducts are required for renewal of the was highlighted at a recent meeting hostedexisting deteriorating U.S. physical infra- by the U.S. Department of Commerce wherestructure, according to the 2009 American industry expressed the “need for the estab-Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure lishment of internationally comparableReport Card. metrics to measure the cost-effectiveness Sustainability drivers include energy of sustainable manufacturing practices.”costs, global climate change, environmentalregulations, disposal costs, resource scarci- Why is it hard to solve?ties, and population increases. Examples of The most fundamental quality in full-lifeenvironmental concerns include the need to cycle assessment is a reliable estimate ofreduce environmental impact through the the expected service life of a material, com-inclusion of increased fractions of supple- ponent, or system. Current durability testsmentary cementitious materials, like fly were designed early in the 20th century toash (one of the residues generated in the make qualitative performance assessmentscombustion of coal) and slag (a byproduct (i.e., at best, they can provide assessments BuiLDinG & fire researcH LaBoratorY
MeasureMent science forS u S ta i n a B L e i n F R a S t R u ct u R e M at e R i a L Sas to whether product A is better than Why BFRL?product B or vice versa under a specified The Building and Fire Researchset of exposure conditions) and these Laboratory (BFRL) is the primary fed-tests are fraught with scientific uncer- eral laboratory serving the building andtainties. Extensive research efforts are fire safety industries. This strategic goalbeing made to put service life estimation leverages the BFRL core competency inon a scientific basis. The measurement performance, durability, and service lifescience needed to generate quantitative a computer model for predicting the flow proper- prediction of building materials. BFRL’s ties of high performance concrete (HPc) aimedand accurate predictions of service life, research in sustainability decision at designing HPc mixtures with optimum perfor-however, is at a nascent level. mance, both in the fresh and hardened states. analysis tools and in high performance The measurement science for pre- construction and building materials hasdicting the service life of construction been ongoing for several decades, and and specifications in key technical areas.materials involves measurements of the is internationally recognized. Industrial the overarching problem for the u.s.degradation, flammability, and nanopar- customers continue to recognize BFRL’s cement and concrete industry is thatticle release from these materials. These world class expertise in advancing the either relevant performance-basedprocesses are inherently complex. They measurement science of infrastructure standards do not exist or that the per-involve numerous component interac- materials. This recognition is evidenced formance-based standards that do existtions and multifunctional (chemical, by their willingness over the last two are not built upon measurements thatphysical, and mechanical) responses decades to establish and support ongo- reliably predict real performance. thisthat operate over extremely wide length ing NIST/industry consortia, which have problem becomes evident in the techni-and time scale ranges. Nanoscale mate- as their objectives creating and validat- cal problems plaguing the cement andrials also possess unique properties ing the measurement science necessary concrete industry and concrete construc-(high surface area, high surface reac- to effect reliable sustainability decisions tion users and owners. the main prob-tivity, large inter-particle forces) that for infrastructure materials. lem is concrete durability, which needswill affect degradation, flammability, predictive tests for the many new mate-and the release rate of nanoparticles in contact: Dr. jonatHan Martin rials being produced, and assured longerunknown ways. Science-based models email@example.com service life. some of these new materialsfor predicting these complex phenom- include nanoadditives, whether to theena are just beginning to be developed, Service Life Prediction liquid part of concrete (water-filled porebut such modeling is known to involve of Concrete Building space), or the solid part (a complex com-multiscale, multifunctional interactionsin which damage accumulates over time. and Infrastructure posite of cement, hydration products, sand, and gravel), or the interfaceA multiplicity of linked models will be Materials between the two, which is very large innecessary to span these length and time this program will develop and implement concrete and crucially affects propertiesscales, which in turn require advanced, the enabling measurement science that like shrinkage and ionic transport.high resolution measurement tools for will give the concrete industry and state But concrete durability is just a partcharacterizing the constituent properties and federal government agencies the pre- of the larger problem of concrete sus-of nano-infrastructural materials (NIMs). dictive capability upon which they can base tainability—trying to make and use con- the use of performance-based standards crete that has less of an environmental
B F R L act i v i t i e s , a c c o M p L i s H M e n t s & r e c o G n i t i o n simpact, uses less energy and produces concrete industry and in major national accurately and quantitatively predictingless carbon dioxide, yet at the same time problems involving sustainable trans- life cycle performance of polymericcontinues to meet or exceed expecta- portation infrastructure rebuilding and construction materials in their end-usetions as the main construction mate- sustainable nuclear waste containment environment. the addition of nanopar-rial used in a rapidly-growing world. structures and new nuclear facilities. ticles to polymeric matrices furthera large part of sustainability efforts in the impact of success in improving the increases the difficulty of predicting lifethe cement and concrete industry is sustainability of concrete will include: cycle performance. Degradation andfocused on increasing the use of fly ash satisfying the construction needs of a nanoparticle release phenomena inand other waste-stream materials as growing u.s. and world economy while nanostructured materials are inherentlysubstitutes for cement. this will reduce minimizing increase in co2 emissions; complex and involve numerous compo-the need for cement and safely recycle close to 100% recycling of fly ash, mini- nent interactions and multifunctionalcoal combustion products, yet at the mizing land-fill disposal; improving the (chemical, physical, and mechanical)same time will improve the properties of performance and durability of concrete responses that operate over extremelyconcrete, including durability, to rebuild used in the infrastructure; and minimiz- large length and time scales. nanoscalethe nation’s physical infrastructure with ing the co2/ton of cementitious material materials also possess unique proper-more sustainable materials. used in concrete. ties (high surface area, high surface Building performance prediction capa- reactivity, and large interparticle forces) contact: Dr. eDwarD GarBoczibilities for cement-based materials is a that affect many initial and long-term firstname.lastname@example.org task due to the complexity properties. thus, new metrologies andof these materials. it is known that the methodologies that are radically differentmaterials industry in general needs Service Life from the approaches currently used areperformance prediction capability, which Prediction of High required to obtain the necessary data forfor complex modern materials (among Performance Polymers accurately modeling lifetimes and par-which concrete is arguably the most ticle release behavior in new nanostruc-complex) can only be supplied by com- and Composites tured materials.putational materials science/engineering polymeric materials are used in themodels or what is called an integrated construction and building industries in acomputational Materials engineering myriad of applications including protec-(icMe).1 therefore, the technical idea that tive coatings, siding, roofing, windows,underlies this research program is to use doors, pipes, and geotextiles. they can bea combination of experimental and com- combined with fibers to form compositesputational materials science/engineering, that have enhanced properties, enablingin an icMe approach, to develop perfor- them to be used as structural and load-mance prediction capability for selected bearing members. polymers offer manymajor problems encountered by the u.s. advantages over conventional materials including lightness, corrosion resistance,1 icMe, integrated computational Materials engineering: a and ease of processing and installation. the goal of BFRL’s automated analytical Laboratory (aaL) is to automate and accelerate analytical mea- transformational Discipline for improved competitiveness there is currently no established, surements on polymeric specimens following expo- and national security, national research council, National Academies Press, 2008 scientifically-based methodology for sure to various exposure environments.
MeasureMent science forS u S ta i n a B L e i n F R a S t R u ct u R e M at e R i a L S in 2006, BfrL became the first research chemical, mechanical, and photolyticteam to successfully and quantitatively decomposition of nanostructured poly-link field and laboratory exposure results meric materials. the release rates andfor an unfilled, model epoxy coating using properties of these nanoparticles coulda reliability-based methodology. success have environmental, health and safetyin applying this methodology in predict- impacts. BfrL is quantitatively measur-ing the service life of the epoxy coating ing release rates, chemical composi- BFRL works with the u.S. mattress industry tohas provided BfrL with an opportunity tions, morphologies, and size distribu- develop the technical underpinnings for a mattress/ foundation standard that would serve as the basisto move into the study of nanostructured tions of aerosolized nanoparticles, using for limiting the consequences of residential bed fires.systems, which includes polymers filled a number of advanced methods. totalwith nanoscale materials. Measurement mass loss and depletion of nanostruc- manufacturability, aging and recyclability.science is being developed by BfrL tured materials during environmental the challenge of coupling the difficultresearchers over a wide range of length exposure is being characterized with fire problem to the equally complexand time scales to enable quantitative high resolution nano-gravimetry and sustainability analysis is considerable.prediction of the life cycle performance 1 infrared spectroscopy. such models will this program is focused on threeof nanostructured polymeric materials. be instrumental in designing improved specific thrusts: 1) development of the linkage between field and labora- nanocomposite materials. validated bench scale flammabilitytory exposures is studied using a reli- contact: Dr. joannie cHin measurement methods, 2) evaluationability-based methodology for the three email@example.com of new methods and materials for firemajor classes of polymers: thermoset, safe products and 3) a critical assess-thermoplastic, and elastomers. Highresolution microscopy, spectroscopy Reduced Flammability ment of the sustainability of new fire safeand nanomechanical testing devices of Materials approaches. the program will provide a competitive advantage in internationalare being used to elucidate the effects the phenomena associated with fire markets where the new bench scalethat nanofillers have on the chemical are inherently stochastic, complex and measurement methods and sustainableand physical properties of nanomateri- dynamic. to successfully address these flame retardant approaches will enableals, and as well as on the service lives challenges, BfrL is providing industry u.s. companies to develop sustainable,of filled polymer systems. temperature, with measurement tools capable of cost effective, fire safe products.relative humidity, and spectral uv are accurately predicting the flammability recent results of this program havethe primary environmental factors of behavior of materials over a multiplicity led to two important impacts: 1) theinterest. BfrL is focusing on metal oxide of time and length scales. furthermore, promulgation of a national Mattressparticles and carbon nanotubes, which developing the measurement science flammability standard, and 2) theare nano-scale fillers of interest in many tools to enable industry to accurately development, by the polymer industry,structural applications. evaluate the sustainability of fire safe of the first new non-halogen flame release of nanoparticles occurs products, especially those based on retardant system in decades based onin-service via environmental degradation nano-materials, is primarily impeded nanoadditives.and incineration through thermal, by the lack of data available on their sustainability, i.e., their environmental, contact: Dr. jeffreY GiLMan1 Life cycle is defined as material performance from manufacturing to decommissioning/disposal. health and safety performance, jeffrey.gilman@nist .gov BFRL 100 Bureau Drive Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8600 301.975.5900 http://www.bfrl.nist.gov