Project

InnovaConcrete: Innovative materials and techniques for the conservation of 20th century concrete-based cultural heritage

Goal: InnovaConcrete is an innovative project aimed at preserving concrete-based momuments, the most signi¬ficant Cultural Heritage (CH) in the 20th Century.

The approach is the impregnation of new products, on the surface and cracks of decayed monuments producing C-S-H gel, responsible for the engineering properties of cement paste.

Multifunctional tailored treatments will incorporate additional performances: superhydrophobicity and corrosion inhibition.

The original formulations and techniques include inorganic nanotubes, bioenzyme-assisted self-healing, and atmospheric plasma technologies.

Theoretical Modelling is combined with experimental tests and in situ validation.

Technical interventions will be combined with activities to promote and achieve social awareness and value creation linked to monuments and buildings.

Date: 1 January 2018 - 31 December 2020

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Manuel Arcila Garrido
added a research item
Purpose This paper attempts to fill the gap that exists in research regarding 20th-century heritage and its social appreciation. The purpose of this paper is to explore different ways of evaluating the heritage value and tourism potential and to propose an innovative model validated in the Zarzuela Hippodrome as an example of cultural asset from 20th century with important economic, social, cultural, aesthetic and architectural aspects. Design/methodology/approach This study opted for an interpretation of heritage from an ecosystem, integrating and global paradigm, understanding the asset as a set of resources that interact with each other, generating a common and enriched tourist experience among all the elements that make it up. From this perspective, it is conceived that by modifying one of the elements, the whole (tourist) ecosystem will be equally influenced. On the other side, it was incorporated non-parametric techniques based on the implementation of surveys for the validation of the tool to the case study of the Zarzuela hippodrome. Findings The results suggest that the hippodrome's internal values have been evaluated very positively, while its external values are low. Through this study, the paper has identified several weaknesses that impede its functioning as a viable “tourist product.” The distance from the city center, the lack of available information and the scarce diffusion and tourism promotion are its main weaknesses. The proposed analysis tool reveals the importance of the active participation of visitors to evaluate cultural assets through the combination of aspects related to the conservation of cultural assets and, in turn, elements that encourage their commodification as tourist products, break down barriers between these two disciplines. Research limitations/implications The management tool proposed in this study can be used to underpin the creation of tourism experiences in cultural or heritage assets by diagnosing the current state of its tourist potential, quantifying its value in relation to the visitors’ perception and making visible those problematic aspects to develop actions to solve them. Although the present study is support for future research, as well as for improving the marketing of heritage in tourist settings, an in-depth analysis of the technical elements of heritage, as well as of its intervention (if applicable), will be necessary for the managers who want to use the tool. Social implications One of the most differentiating characteristics between the construction typology of 20th-century historical buildings is perhaps the scarcity of decorative ornamentation, with exposed concrete being the main surface coating. Many of these constructions have an important cultural and historical relevance, however, the social perception, as regards its consideration as architectural and artistic heritage seems to reflect discordant aspects. This study provides support as a decision-making tool to determine the existing valuation of a building and how to enhance it. Originality/value This study takes steps toward the creation of a model that supports decision-makers and owners of cultural assets through a measurement system that makes it possible to quantify and determine the current state of tourism use through the social evaluation of heritage criteria. It defines which are the elements that favor the resilience of the property or, on the contrary, which are those that undermine its enhancement.
Manuel Arcila Garrido
added a research item
Eduardo Torroja Miret (1899-1961) was one of the most important Spanish engineers. His understanding of structures and materials made him a world reference in the field of engineering and architecture. Due to the lack of ornamentation in his works and the lack of heritage interpretation aimed at a non-specialist public, many of his works sometimes go unnoticed by inexperienced eyes and, despite his important legacy, Torroja remains a great unknown. This paper reports on the existing heritage perception of two of his most outstanding works in Spain, the Zarzuela Hippodrome and the Instituto Té cnico de la Construcción y el Cemento (Eduardo Torroja Institute). To this end, surveys and interviews were carried out with visitors to both buildings based on different heritage criteria, such as their architectural importance, aesthetics, significance or representativeness, but also from the point of view of the available tourist infrastructure. The results show a lack of appreciation in the heritage criteria related to its architectural, historical and aesthetic values, combined with a lack of knowledge about Torroja and its way of understanding architectural beauty.
Neven Ukrainczyk
added a research item
A coupled numerical approach is used to evaluate the influence of pore connectivity and microcracks on leaching kinetics in fully saturated cement paste. The unique advantage of the numerical model is the ability to construct and evaluate a material with controlled properties, which is very difficult under experimental conditions. Our analysis is based on two virtual microstructures, which are different in terms of pore connectivity but the same in terms of porosity and the amount of solid phases. Numerical fracturing was performed on these microstructures. The non-fractured and fractured microstructures were both subjected to chemical leaching. Results show that despite very different material physical properties, for example, pore connectivity and effective diffusivity, the leaching kinetics remain the same as long as the amount of soluble phases, i.e., buffering capacity, is the same. The leaching kinetics also remains the same in the presence of microcracks.
Janez Perko
added a research item
The performance of impregnation treatments used for protection and remediation of porous building materials relies on sufficient penetration depth. The penetration of sol–gel impregnation products into partially saturated porous material is driven by capillary suction and depends on material properties, such as pore size distribution on one hand, and on the other hand on sol physical properties, viscosity, density, surface tension and contact angle, along with the time in which the sol gels. In this work we analyse, by the way of modelling and experiments, the penetration depth of a sol–gel impregnation product as the function of pore size distribution and sol properties. The main goal is to determine the importance of sol’s physical properties for the penetration depth for a specific pore size, which will serve as a basis of the optimization of impregnation products to maximize their penetration depth. The model is first calibrated in terms of penetration depth and sol uptake by the experimental data obtained from mortar samples each with a specific pore-size distribution. The correlation between penetration depth and physical parameters is then established by the use of Monte-Carlo method. The results show that the most important parameters for the optimization are surface tension, whose influence increases for larger pores, and gelation time, which with decreasing importance for larger pores.
Elena Frías-López
added a research item
The objective of InnovaConcrete project, under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, is to find and create Innovative materials and techniques for preserving concrete-based monuments, the most significant tangible Cultural Heritage in the 20th Century. Three architectural elements of the Eduardo Torroja Institute for Construction Sciences have been selected as case studies, to validate the performance of the proposed solutions. Their design and elaboration have been documented, mapping the types and extent of deterioration in the plans; samples of the concrete have been taken, characterizing them from different points of view; in order to have data to reproduce the characteristics of the concrete that conforms them, to elaborate similar samples and to test the products in laboratory before their application in the elements.
Juan Adolfo Chica Ruiz
added a research item
Concrete is the constructive material used to design most of the buildings of the 20th century, some of them of great architectural, historical and cultural relevance. However, the social perception that exists around these constructions, as regards the consideration as architectural and artistic heritage, reflects discordant aspects. Several authors affirm that the 20th century concrete heritage lacks enough appreciation by society, which hinders the tasks to develop or encourage their social consideration and their tourist use. On the other hand, in some cases, this kind of heritage are not considered attractive tourist resources, therefore the maintenance work is no longer a priority, which does not guarantee minimum standards of conservation. In this context, the University of Cadiz leads a European project H2020 called InnovaConcrete, whose aim is to preserve the 20th century monuments built in concrete in countries of the European Union. The Zarzuela Hippodrome (declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2009 and inaugurated in 1941, after the Spanish Civil War) has been selected as an ideal example when gathering aspects of economic, social, cultural, aesthetic and architectural functionality. The results obtained, through various surveys and interviews with agents involved, envisage a strong correlation between the widespread ignorance about the historical and architectural value of the building and its depreciation as a heritage element. It is therefore necessary to reflect on the special importance that, for this type of patrimonial groups, have the dissemination and information's tasks about their historical and architectural, as well as artistic and social peculiarities.
José M. Rodríguez-Izquierdo
added a research item
Impregnation treatments are one of the alternatives to protect concrete-based building and monuments from weathering degradation. However, it is important to consider the chemical compatibility of the reaction products with the building material. The impregnation product studied here consists of a silica oligomer able to poly-merize, by a simple sol-gel process, inside the pore structure of concrete. In this work, we investigate the ability of this impregnation treatment to produce C-S-H gel in contact with cement paste. A complete characterization of the reaction products demonstrated that the silanol groups from silica oligomers react with the portlandite present in the cement paste generating a material with the chemical, structural and morphological features of C-S-H gel. Simultaneously, the 29 Si NMR results indicate that the SieO units are incorporated into the existing C-S-H, increasing its chain length. These results open the way for a simple concrete structures repairing procedure.
Manuel Arcila Garrido
added 2 research items
El hormigón es un material constructivo utilizado para el diseño de la mayoría de edificios del siglo XX, algunos de ellos con una gran relevancia arquitectónica, histórica y cultural. Sin embargo, la percepción social que existe alrededor de esta construcción, en cuanto a la consideración arquitectónica y artística patrimonial, refleja aspectos discordantes. Numerosos autores afirman que el patrimonio de hormigón del siglo XX sufre una falta de apreciación por parte de la sociedad. Lo que dificulta las tareas a desarrollar animando su consideración social y su uso turístico. Por otro lado, en algunos casos esta clase de patrimonio no es considerado como un atractivo turístico, por lo tanto, el trabajo de mantenimiento ya no es una prioridad, lo cual no garantiza los estándares mínimos de conservación. En este contexto, la Universidad de Cádiz lidera un proyecto europeo H2020 llamado Innova Concrete, cuyo objetivo es preservar los monumentos construidos en hormigón del siglo XX en los países de la unión europea. El hipódromo de la zarzuela (Declarado como un bien de interés cultural en 2009 e inaugurado en 1941, después de la guerra civil española) ha sido seleccionado como ejemplo ya que reúne aspectos funcionales económicos, sociales, culturales, estéticos y arquitectónicos. El resultado obtenido, a través de varias encuestas con agentes involucrados muestra una correlación entre la ignorancia en el valor histórico y arquitectónico del edificio y la depreciación de este, como elemento patrimonial. Por lo tanto, es necesario reflexionar sobre la importancia especial que, para este tipo de grupos patrimoniales, tienen las tareas de difusión e información sobre sus características históricas y arquitectónicas, así como las peculiaridades artísticas y sociales.
Since the 20th century, one of the most used materials for the construction of part of our current heritage is concrete, which in many cases is core to architectural expression. Due to its performances and ability to be modelled, but also for its infinite possibilities in terms of textures and colour, concrete has stimulated architectural innovation and creativity (Dehn et al., 20161). Many countries consider concrete architecture as cultural heritage, nevertheless this kind of monuments, which could seem “young” with respect to more ancient, is decaying, due to a combination of lack of knowledge related to its real value and to environmental aggressive conditions in which they are exposed. Despite of this problematic, only few specific scientific studies were dedicated to management to its value or tourist use. In this sense, the mission of INNOVACONCRETE2 project, supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020, is to intervene in technical aspects, combined with activities to promote and achieve social awareness and value creation linked to monuments and representative buildings. At this point, the main goal of this paper is to consider concrete-based cultural heritage as an important part of an urban ecosystem and to analyse the benefits of its protection for the human well-being.
Innovaconcrete Project
added 6 research items
InnovaConcrete has an interdisciplinary team presenting a strong scientific background in simulation techniques and nanomaterials synthesis, combined with a wide knowledge of CH conservation from Social Sciences & Humanities disciplines and with a sound industrial perspective. The Consortium comprises 29 partners from eleven different countries, including three non-EU member states (Switzerland, USA and Argentina).
Innovaconcrete Project
added an update
Expected impacts of InnovaConcrete
 
Elena Frías-López
added a research item
La reglamentación española en edificación ha adoptado el moderno enfoque basado en “objetivos o prestaciones” a fin de facilitar la armonización normativa con La Unión Europea. El cambio se produjo en 2006 con la aparición del Código Técnico de la Edificación (CTE). Por una parte las ventajas que presenta este nuevo enfoque, permite dar uma mayor flexibilidad a la aplicación reglamentaria, de forma que se fomente la innovación y el desarrollo tecnológico de nuevas soluciones en edificación, lo que redunda en una mayor libertad del proyectista. Por otra parte, esta estructura reglamentaria requiere una mayor amplitud de conocimientos en su redacción y puesta em práctica, que puede acarrear dificultades em las primeras etapas de implantación. El presente escrito analiza cómo se ha llevado a cabo el cambio reglamentario em España, las dificultades encontradas para la aplicación e interpretación de los distintos agentes al incorporarlo y la línea por la que se está optando para avanzar en la mejora de este enfoque.
Innovaconcrete Project
added an update
In order to implement all the objectives, the InnovaConcrete work plan is articulated into seven complementary work packages (WPs).
 
Innovaconcrete Project
added an update
The InnovaConcrete Consortium comprises 29 partners from eleven different countries, including
three non-EU member states (Switzerland, USA and Argentina).
 
Innovaconcrete Project
added an update
InnovaConcrete has an interdisciplinary team presenting a strong scientific background in simulation techniques and nanomaterials synthesis, combined with a wide knowledge of CH conservation from Social Sciences & Humanities disciplines and with a sound industrial perspective.
 
Innovaconcrete Project
added a project goal
InnovaConcrete is an innovative project aimed at preserving concrete-based momuments, the most signi¬ficant Cultural Heritage (CH) in the 20th Century.
The approach is the impregnation of new products, on the surface and cracks of decayed monuments producing C-S-H gel, responsible for the engineering properties of cement paste.
Multifunctional tailored treatments will incorporate additional performances: superhydrophobicity and corrosion inhibition.
The original formulations and techniques include inorganic nanotubes, bioenzyme-assisted self-healing, and atmospheric plasma technologies.
Theoretical Modelling is combined with experimental tests and in situ validation.
Technical interventions will be combined with activities to promote and achieve social awareness and value creation linked to monuments and buildings.