Editor’s Choice Paper: Cementitious Composites with High Compaction Potential

The open access and editor’s choice paper with the title “Cementitious Composites with High Compaction Potential: Modeling and Calibration” has been published in the MDPI journal "Materials" (Impact Factor 3.057).

There is an increasing need for the development of novel technologies for tunnel construction in difficult geological conditions to protect segmental linings from unexpected large deformations. In the context of mechanized tunneling, one method to increase the damage tolerance of tunnel linings in such conditions is the integration of a compressible two-component grout for the annular gap between the segmental linings and the deformable ground. In this regard, expanded polystyrene (EPS) lightweight concrete/mortar has received increasing interest as a potential “candidate material” for the aforementioned application. In particular, the behavior of the EPS lightweight composites can be customized by modifying their pore structure to accommodate deformations due to specific geological conditions such as squeezing rocks. To this end, novel compressible cementitious EPS-based composite materials with high compaction potential have been developed. Specimens prepared from these composites have been subjected to compressive loads with and without lateral confinement. Based on these experimental data a computational model based on the Discrete Element Method (DEM) has been calibrated and validated. The proposed calibration procedure allows for modeling and prognosis of a wide variety of composite materials with a high compaction potential. The calibration procedure is characterized by the identification of physically quantifiable parameters and the use of phenomenological submodels. Model prognoses show excellent agreement with new experimental measurements that were not incorporated in the calibration procedure.


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