|Commenced in January 2007||Frequency: Monthly||Edition: International||Paper Count: 1392|
A huge portion of old masonry buildings in Bangladesh are vulnerable to earthquake. In most of the cases these buildings contain unreinforced masonry wall which are most likely to be subjected to earthquake damages. Due to deterioration of mortar joint and aging, shear resistance of these unreinforced masonry walls dwindle. So, retrofitting of these old buildings has become an important issue. Among many researched and experimented techniques, ferrocement retrofitting can be a low cost technique in context of the economic condition of Bangladesh. This study aims at investigating the behavior of ferrocement retrofitted unconfined URM walls under different types of cyclic loading. Four 725 mm × 725 mm masonry wall units were prepared with bricks jointed by stretcher bond with 12.5 mm mortar between two adjacent layers of bricks. To compare the effectiveness of ferrocement retrofitting a particular type wire mesh was used in this experiment which is 20 gauge woven wire mesh with 12.5 mm × 12.5 mm square opening. After retrofitting with ferrocement these wall units were tested by applying cyclic deformation along the diagonals of the specimens. Then a comparative study was performed between the retrofitted specimens and control specimens for both partially reversed cyclic load condition and cyclic compression load condition. The experiment results show that ultimate load carrying capacities of ferrocement retrofitted specimens are 35% and 27% greater than the control specimen under partially reversed cyclic loading and cyclic compression respectively. And before failure the deformations of ferrocement retrofitted specimens are 43% and 33% greater than the control specimen under reversed cyclic loading and cyclic compression respectively. Therefore, the test results show that the ultimate load carrying capacity and ductility of ferrocement retrofitted specimens have improved.
Earthquakes are considered to be the most destructive rapid-onset disasters human beings are exposed to. The amount of loss it brings in is sufficient to take careful considerations for designing of structures and facilities. Seismic Hazard Analysis is one such tool which can be used for earthquake resistant design. Ground Response Analysis is one of the most crucial and decisive steps for seismic hazard analysis. Rapar district of Kutch, Gujarat falls in Zone 5 of earthquake zone map of India and thus has high seismicity because of which it is selected for analysis. In total 8 bore-log data were studied at different locations in and around Rapar district. Different soil engineering properties were analyzed and relevant empirical correlations were used to calculate maximum shear modulus (Gmax) and shear wave velocity (Vs) for the soil layers. The soil was modeled using Pressure-Dependent Modified Kodner Zelasko (MKZ) model and the reference curve used for fitting was Seed and Idriss (1970) for sand and Darendeli (2001) for clay. Both Equivalent linear (EL), as well as Non-linear (NL) ground response analysis, has been carried out with Masing Hysteretic Re/Unloading formulation for comparison. Commercially available DEEPSOIL v. 7.0 software is used for this analysis. In this study an attempt is made to quantify ground response regarding generated acceleration time-history at top of the soil column, Response spectra calculation at 5 % damping and Fourier amplitude spectrum calculation. Moreover, the variation of Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA), Maximum Displacement, Maximum Strain (in %), Maximum Stress Ratio, Mobilized Shear Stress with depth is also calculated. From the study, PGA values estimated in rocky strata are nearly same as bedrock motion and marginal amplification is observed in sandy silt and silty clays by both analyses. The NL analysis gives conservative results of maximum displacement as compared to EL analysis. Maximum strain predicted by both studies is very close to each other. And overall NL analysis is more efficient and realistic because it follows the actual hyperbolic stress-strain relationship, considers stiffness degradation and mobilizes stresses generated due to pore water pressure.
The probability distributions are the best method for forecasting of extreme hydrologic phenomena such as rainfall and flood flows. In this research, in order to determine suitable probability distribution for estimating of annual extreme rainfall and flood flows (discharge) series with different return periods, precipitation with 40 and discharge with 58 years time period had been collected from Karkheh River at Iran. After homogeneity and adequacy tests, data have been analyzed by Stormwater Management and Design Aid (SMADA) software and residual sum of squares (R.S.S). The best probability distribution was Log Pearson Type III with R.S.S value (145.91) and value (13.67) for peak discharge and Log Pearson Type III with R.S.S values (141.08) and (8.95) for maximum discharge in Jelogir Majin and Pole Zal stations, respectively. The best distribution for maximum precipitation in Jelogir Majin and Pole Zal stations was Log Pearson Type III distribution with R.S.S values (1.74&1.90) and then Pearson Type III distribution with R.S.S values (1.53&1.69). Overall, the Log Pearson Type III distributions are acceptable distribution types for representing statistics of extreme hydrologic phenomena in Karkheh River at Iran with the Pearson Type III distribution as a potential alternative.
The paper presents design and production of thin-walled U-profile footbridge made of UHPFRC. The main structure of the bridge is one prefabricated shell structure made of UHPFRC with dispersed steel fibers without any conventional reinforcement. The span of the bridge structure is 10 m and the clear width of 1.5 m. The thickness of the UHPFRC shell structure oscillated in an interval of 30-45 mm. Several calculations were made during the bridge design and compared with the experiments. For the purpose of verifying the calculations, a segment of 1.5 m was first produced, followed by the whole footbridge for testing. After the load tests were done, the design was optimized to cast the final footbridge.
Many people lost their life caused by environmental pollution every year. The negative effects of environmental crises appear to be much higher in Asian countries. The most important environmental issue in the developing countries and especially in Tehran, to our best knowledge, is air pollution that has affected many aspects of life in society. Environmental topics related to technology’s development have been salient issues among the main concerns of designers. Green facades are the most considerable solutions which designers and architectures are focused on, all over the world. But there are lots of behavioral and psychological problems about this point. In this line, this excavation has tried to reveal the cultural and psychological influences of green façade in developing countries like Tehran. Green façades in developing countries are so useless, although they are so expensive. As a matter of fact, users consider green facade as a decorative item. This research is an attempt to recognize the reasons which show green façades as worthless element. Also, some solutions are presented to promote green façades in the developing countries as an intrinsic solution. There are so many environmental threats, especially about air pollution, for a city as Tehran, which might be solved by green facades.
Structural design and analysis is an important and time-consuming process, particularly at the conceptual design stage. Decisions made at this stage can have an enormous effect on the entire project, as it becomes ever costlier and more difficult to alter the choices made early on in the construction process. Hence, optimisation of the early stages of structural design can provide important efficiencies in terms of cost and time. This paper suggests a structural design optimisation (SDO) framework in which Genetic Algorithms (GAs) may be used to semi-automate the production and optimisation of early structural design alternatives. This framework has the potential to leverage conceptual structural design innovation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) projects. Moreover, this framework improves the collaboration between the architectural stage and the structural stage. It will be shown that this SDO framework can make this achievable by generating the structural model based on the extracted data from the architectural model. At the moment, the proposed SDO framework is in the process of validation, involving the distribution of an online questionnaire among structural engineers in the UK.
Many research projects require accurate delineation of the different land cover type of the agricultural area. Especially it is critically important for the definition of specific plants like cannabis. However, the complexity of vegetation stands structure, abundant vegetation species, and the smooth transition between different seconder section stages make vegetation classification difficult when using traditional approaches such as the maximum likelihood classifier. Most of the time, classification distinguishes only between trees/annual or grain. It has been difficult to accurately determine the cannabis mixed with other plants. In this paper, a mixed distribution models approach is applied to classify pure and mix cannabis parcels using Worldview-2 imagery in the Lakes region of Turkey. Five different land use types (i.e. sunflower, maize, bare soil, and cannabis) were identified in the image. A constrained Gaussian mixture discriminant analysis (GMDA) was used to unmix the image. In the study, 255 reflectance ratios derived from spectral signatures of seven bands (Blue-Green-Yellow-Red-Rededge-NIR1-NIR2) were randomly arranged as 80% for training and 20% for test data. Gaussian mixed distribution model approach is proved to be an effective and convenient way to combine very high spatial resolution imagery for distinguishing cannabis vegetation. Based on the overall accuracies of the classification, the Gaussian mixed distribution model was found to be very successful to achieve image classification tasks. This approach is sensitive to capture the illegal cannabis planting areas in the large plain. This approach can also be used for monitoring and determination with spectral reflections in illegal cannabis planting areas.
In order to eradicate the degradation of reinforced concrete structures due to the steel corrosion, professionals in constructions suggest using fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) for their excellent properties. Nevertheless, high temperatures may affect the bond between FRP bar and concrete, and consequently the serviceability of FRP-reinforced concrete structures. This paper presents a nonlinear numerical investigation using ADINA software to investigate the effect of the spacing between glass FRP (GFRP) bars embedded in concrete on circumferential thermal deformations and the distribution of radial thermal cracks in reinforced concrete beams submitted to high temperature variations up to 60 °C for asymmetrical problems. The thermal deformations predicted from nonlinear finite elements model, at the FRP bar/concrete interface and at the external surface of concrete cover, were established as a function of the ratio of concrete cover thickness to FRP bar diameter (c/db) and the ratio of spacing between FRP bars in concrete to FRP bar diameter (e/db). Numerical results show that the circumferential thermal deformations at the external surface of concrete cover are linear until cracking thermal load varied from 32 to 55 °C corresponding to the ratio of e/db varied from 1.3 to 2.3, respectively. However, for ratios e/db >2.3 and c/db >1.6, the thermal deformations at the external surface of concrete cover exhibit linear behavior without any cracks observed on the specified surface. The numerical results are compared to those obtained from analytical models validated by experimental tests.
Construction industry plays a significant role in fulfilling the major requirements of the human being. It is one of the major constituents of every developed country. Although the construction industry of both the developing and developed countries encompasses a major part of the economy, and millions of rupees are utilized every year on various kinds of construction projects. But, this industry is facing numerous hurdles in terms of its budget and timely completion. Construction projects generally consist of several phases like planning, designing, execution, and finishing. This research study aims to determine the significant factors of time overrun in pre-construction planning (PCP) phase of construction projects in Pakistan. Questionnaires were distributed by various means and responses of respondents were compiled and collected data were then analyzed through a statistical technique using SPSS version 24. Major causes of time overrun in pre-construction planning phase; which is an extremely important phase of construction projects, were revealed. The research conclusion will provide a pathway for stakeholders to pay attention to the mentioned causes to overcome the major issue of time overrun.
In heavy duty areas, asphalt pavement constructed as entrance roadway may expose distresses such as cracking and rutting during service life. To mitigate these problems, composite pavement with a roller-compacted concrete base may be a good alternative; however, it should be initially investigated. Structural performances such as fatigue cracking and rut depth may be changed due to variation of some design factors. Therefore, this study focuses on the variation effect of material modulus, layer thickness and loading on composite pavement performances. Stress and strain at the critical location are determined and used as the input of transfer function for corresponding distresses to evaluate the pavement performance. Also, composite pavement satisfying the design criteria may be selected as a design section for heavy duty areas. Consequently, this investigation indicates that composite pavement has the ability to eliminate fatigue cracking in asphalt surfaces and significantly reduce rut depth. In addition, a thick or strong rigid base can significantly reduce rut depth and prolong fatigue life of this layer.
This study investigates the benefits of implementing the semi-active devices in relation to passive viscous damping in the context of seismically isolated bridge structures. Since the intrinsically nonlinear nature of semi-active devices prevents the direct evaluation of Laplace transforms, frequency response functions are compiled from the computed time history response to sinusoidal and pulse-like seismic excitation. A simple semi-active control policy is used in regard to passive linear viscous damping and an optimal non-causal semi-active control strategy. The control strategy requires optimization. Euler-Lagrange equations are solved numerically during this procedure. The optimal closed-loop performance is evaluated for an idealized controllable dash-pot. A simplified single-degree-of-freedom model of an isolated bridge is used as numerical example. Two bridge cases are investigated. These cases are; bridge deck without the isolation bearing and bridge deck with the isolation bearing. To compare the performances of the passive and semi-active control cases, frequency dependent acceleration, velocity and displacement response transmissibility ratios Ta(w), Tv(w), and Td(w) are defined. To fully investigate the behavior of the structure subjected to the sinusoidal and pulse type excitations, different damping levels are considered. Numerical results showed that, under the effect of external excitation, bridge deck with semi-active control showed better structural performance than the passive bridge deck case.
This article presents the main results of three-dimensional (3-D) numerical investigation of asphalt pavement structures behaviour using a coupled Finite Element-Mapped Infinite Element (FE-MIE) model. The validation and numerical performance of this model are assessed by confronting critical pavement responses with Burmister’s solution and FEM simulation results for multi-layered elastic structures. The coupled model is then efficiently utilised to perform 3-D simulations of a typical asphalt pavement structure in order to investigate the impact of two tire configurations (conventional dual and new generation wide-base tires) on critical pavement response parameters. The numerical results obtained show the effectiveness and the accuracy of the coupled (FE-MIE) model. In addition, the simulation results indicate that, compared with conventional dual tire assembly, single wide base tire caused slightly greater fatigue asphalt cracking and subgrade rutting potentials and can thus be utilised in view of its potential to provide numerous mechanical, economic, and environmental benefits.
In last decades, tubular systems employed for tall buildings were efficient structural systems. However, increasing the height of a building leads to an increase in structural material corresponding to the loads imposed by lateral loads. Based on this approach, new structural systems are emerging to provide strength and stiffness with the minimum premium for height. In this research, selected tube-type structural systems such as framed tubes, braced tubes, diagrids and hexagrid systems were applied as a single tube, tubular structures combined with braced core and outrigger trusses on a set of 48, 72, and 96-story, respectively, to improve integrated structural systems. This paper investigated structural material consumption by model structures focusing on the premium for height. Compared analytical results indicated that as the height of the building increased, combination of the structural systems caused the framed tube, hexagrid and braced tube system to pay fewer premiums to material tonnage while in diagrid system, combining the structural system reduced insignificantly the steel material consumption.
This article is referring to a comparative study regarding the electrical energy consumption for lighting on diverse types of big sizes commercial buildings built in Romania after 2007, having 3, 4, 5 versus 8, 9, 10 operational years. Some buildings have installed building management systems (BMS) to monitor also the lighting performances starting with the opening days till the present days but some have chosen only local meters to implement. Firstly, for each analyzed building, the total required energy power and the energy power consumption for lighting were calculated depending on the lamps number, the unit power and the average daily running hours. All objects and installations were chosen depending on the destination/location of the lighting (exterior parking or access, interior or covering parking, building interior and building perimeter). Secondly, to all lighting objects and installations, mechanical counters were installed, and to the ones linked to BMS there were installed the digital meters as well for a better monitoring. Some efficient solutions are proposed to improve the power consumption, for example the 1/3 lighting functioning for the covered and exterior parking lighting to those buildings if can be done. This type of lighting share can be performed on each level, especially on the night shifts. Another example is to use the dimmers to reduce the light level, depending on the executed work in the respective area, and a 30% power energy saving can be achieved. Using the right BMS to monitor, the energy consumption depending on the average operational daily hours and changing the non-performant unit lights with the ones having LED technology or economical ones might increase significantly the energy performances and reduce the energy consumption of the buildings.
The term ‘Windphil Architecture’ refers to the building that facilitates natural ventilation by architectural elements. Natural ventilation uses the natural forces of wind pressure and stacks effect to direct the movement of air through buildings. Natural ventilation is increasingly being used in contemporary buildings to minimize the consumption of non-renewable energy and it is an effective way to improve indoor air quality. The main objective of this paper is to identify the strategies of using natural ventilation in Iranian modern buildings. In this regard, the research method is ‘descriptive-analytical’ that is based on comparative techniques. To simulate wind flow in the interior spaces of case studies, FLUENT software has been used. Research achievements show that it is possible to use natural ventilation to create a thermally comfortable indoor environment. The natural ventilation strategies could be classified into two groups of environmental characteristics such as public space structure, and architectural characteristics including building form and orientation, openings, central courtyards, wind catchers, roof, wall wings, semi-open spaces and the heat capacity of materials. Having investigated modern buildings of Iran, innovative elements like wind catchers and wall wings are less used than the traditional architecture. Instead, passive ventilation strategies have been more considered in the building design as for the roof structure and openings.
In this paper, the Differential Transform Method (DTM) is employed to predict and to analysis the non-local critical buckling loads of carbon nanotubes with various end conditions and the non-local Timoshenko beam described by single differential equation. The equation differential of buckling of the nanobeams is derived via a non-local theory and the solution for non-local critical buckling loads is finding by the DTM. The DTM is introduced briefly. It can easily be applied to linear or nonlinear problems and it reduces the size of computational work. Inﬂuence of boundary conditions, the chirality of carbon nanotube and aspect ratio on non-local critical buckling loads are studied and discussed. Effects of nonlocal parameter, ratios L/d, the chirality of single-walled carbon nanotube, as well as the boundary conditions on buckling of CNT are investigated.
Infrared thermography is a non-destructive test method used to estimate surface temperatures based on the amount of electromagnetic energy radiated by building envelope components. These surface temperatures are indicators of various qualitative building envelope deficiencies such as locations and extent of heat loss, thermal bridging, damaged or missing thermal insulation, air leakage, and moisture presence in roof, floor, and wall assemblies. Although infrared thermography is commonly used for qualitative deficiency detection in buildings, this study assesses its use as a quantitative method to estimate the overall thermal conductance value (U-value) of the exterior above-grade walls of a study home. The overall U-value of exterior above-grade walls in a home provides useful insight into the energy consumption and thermal comfort of a home. Three methodologies from the literature were employed to estimate the overall U-value by equating conductive heat loss through the exterior above-grade walls to the sum of convective and radiant heat losses of the walls. Outdoor infrared thermography field measurements of the exterior above-grade wall surface and reflective temperatures and emissivity values for various components of the exterior above-grade wall assemblies were carried out during winter months at the study home using a basic thermal imager device. The overall U-values estimated from each methodology from the literature using the recorded field measurements were compared to the nominal exterior above-grade wall overall U-value calculated from materials and dimensions detailed in architectural drawings of the study home. The nominal overall U-value was validated through calendarization and weather normalization of utility bills for the study home as well as various estimated heat loss quantities from a HOT2000 computer model of the study home and other methods. Under ideal environmental conditions, the estimated overall U-values deviated from the nominal overall U-value between ±2% to ±33%. This study suggests infrared thermography can estimate the overall U-value of exterior above-grade walls in low-rise residential homes with a fair amount of accuracy.
Development of a groundwater management model is an important step in the exploitation and management of any groundwater aquifer as it assists in the long-term sustainable planning of the resource. The current study was conducted in Central Limpopo province of South Africa with the overall objective of determining how much water can be withdrawn from the aquifer without producing nonreversible impacts on the groundwater quantity, hence developing a model which can sustainably protect the aquifer. The development was done through the computation of Groundwater Sustainability Index (GSI). Values of GSI close to unity and above indicated overexploitation. In this study, an index of 0.8 was considered as overexploitation. The results indicated that there is potential for higher abstraction rates compared to the current abstraction rates. GSI approach can be used in the management of groundwater aquifer to sustainably develop the resource and also provides water managers and policy makers with fundamental information on where future water developments can be carried out.
Modification of asphalt is a fundamental method around the world mainly on the purpose of providing more durable pavements which lead to diminish repairing cost during the lifetime of highways. Various polymers such as styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) make up the greater parts of the all-over asphalt modifiers generally providing better physical properties of asphalt by decreasing temperature dependency which eventually diminishes permanent deformation on highways such as rutting. However, some waste and low-cost materials such as recycled plastics and ground rubber tire have been attempted to utilize in asphalt as modifier instead of manufactured polymer modifiers due to decreasing the eventual highway cost. On the other hand, the usage of recycled plastics has become a worldwide requirement and awareness in order to decrease the pollution made by waste plastics. Hence, finding an area in which recycling plastics could be utilized has been targeted by many research teams so as to reduce polymer manufacturing and plastic pollution. To this end, in this paper, thermoplastic dynamic vulcanizate (TDV) obtained from recycled post-consumer polyethylene and ground tire rubber (GTR) were used to provide an efficient modifier for asphalt which decreases the production cost as well and finally might provide an ecological solution by decreasing polymer disposal problems. TDV was synthesized by the chemists in the research group by means of the abovementioned components that are considered as compatible physical characteristic of asphalt materials. TDV modified asphalt samples having different rate of proportions of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 wt.% TDV modifier were prepared. Conventional tests, such as penetration, softening point and roll thin film oven (RTFO) tests were performed to obtain fundamental physical and aging properties of the base and modified binders. The high temperature performance grade (PG) of binders was determined by Superpave tests conducted on original and aged binders. The multiple stress creep and recovery (MSCR) test which is relatively up-to-date method for classifying asphalts taking account of their elasticity abilities was carried out to evaluate PG plus grades of binders. The results obtained from performance grading, and MSCR tests were also evaluated together so as to make a comparison between the methods both aiming to determine rheological parameters of asphalt. The test results revealed that TDV modification leads to a decrease in penetration, an increase in softening point, which proves an increasing stiffness of asphalt. DSR results indicate an improvement in PG for modified binders compared to base asphalt. On the other hand, MSCR results that are compatible with DSR results also indicate an enhancement on rheological properties of asphalt. However, according to the results, the improvement is not as distinct as observed in DSR results since elastic properties are fundamental in MSCR. At the end of the testing program, it can be concluded that TDV can be used as modifier which provides better rheological properties for asphalt and might diminish plastic waste pollution since the material is 100% recycled.
Achieving environmental sustainability is one of the important issues considered in many countries’ vision. Green/Sustainable building is widely used terminology for describing a friendly environmental construction. Applying sustainable practices has a significant importance in various fields, including construction field that consumes an enormous amount of resource and causes a considerable amount of waste. The need for sustainability is increased in the regions that suffering from the limitation of natural resource and extreme weather conditions such as Saudi Arabia. Since buildings designs are getting sophisticated, the need for tools, which support decision-making for sustainability issues, is increasing, especially in the design and preconstruction stages. In this context, Building Information Modeling (BIM) can aid in performing complex building performance analyses to ensure an optimized sustainable building design. Accordingly, this paper introduces a roadmap towards developing a systematic approach for presenting the sustainability of buildings using BIM. The approach includes set of main processes including; identifying the sustainability parameters that can be used for sustainability assessment in Saudi Arabia, developing sustainability assessment method that fits the special circumstances in the Kingdom, identifying the sustainability requirements and BIM functions that can be used for satisfying these requirements, and integrating these requirements with identified functions. As a result, the sustainability-BIM approach can be developed which helps designers in assessing the sustainability and exploring different design alternatives at the early stage of the construction project.
Cold bitumen emulsion mixture (CBEM) offers a series benefits as compared with hot mix asphalt (HMA); these include environmental factors, energy saving, the resolution of logistical challenges that can characterise hot mix, and the potential to reserve funds. However, this mixture has some problems similar to any bituminous mixtures as it has low early strength, long curing time that needed to obtain the maximum performance, high air voids and considered inferior to HMA. Thus, CBEM has been used in limited applications such as lightly trafficked roads, footways and reinstatements. This laboratory study describes the development of CBEM using ordinary Portland cement (OPC) instead of the traditional mineral filler. Stiffness modulus, moisture damage and temperature sensitivity tests were used to evaluate the mechanical properties of the produced mixtures. The study concluded that there is a substantial improvement in the mechanical properties and moisture damage resistance of CBEMs containing OPC. Also, the produced cement modified CBEM shows a considerable lower thermal sensitivity than the conventional CBEM.
One of the most common and traditional strategies in architecture is to design buildings passively. This is a way to ensure low building energy reliance with respect to specific micro-building locations. There are so many ways where buildings can be designed passively, some of which are applying thermal insulation, thermal mass, courtyard and glazing to wall ratio. This research investigates the impact of each of these aspects with respect to the hot and dry climate of the capital of Riyadh. Thermal Analysis Simulation (TAS) will be utilized which is powered by Environmental Design Simulation Limited company (EDSL). It is considered as one of the most powerful tools to predict energy performance in buildings. There are three primary building designs and methods which are using courtyard, thermal mass and thermal insulation. The same building size and fabrication properties have been applied to all designs. Riyadh city which is the capital of the country was taken as a case study of the research. The research has taken into account various zone directions within the building as it has a large contribution to indoor energy and thermal performance. It is revealed that it is possible to achieve nearly zero carbon building in the hot and dry region in winter with minimum reliance on energy loads for building zones facing south, west and east. Moreover, using courtyard is more beneficial than applying construction materials into building envelope. Glazing to wall ratio is recommended to be 10% and not exceeding 30% in all directions in hot and arid regions.
Plant-based natural fibers are used more increasingly in construction materials. It is done to reduce the pressure on the built environment, which has been increased dramatically due to the increases world population and their needs. Plant-based natural fibers are abundant in many countries. Despite the low-cost of such environmental friendly renewable material, it has the ability to enhance the mechanical properties of construction materials. This paper presents an extensive discussion on the use of plant-based natural fibers as reinforcement for cement-based composites, with a particular emphasis upon fiber types; fiber characteristics, and fiber-cement composites performance. It also covers a thorough overview on the main factors, affecting the properties of plant-based natural fiber cement composite in it fresh and hardened state. The feasibility of using plant-based natural fibers in producing various construction materials; such as, mud bricks and blocks is investigated. In addition, other applications of using such fibers as internal curing agents as well as durability enhancer are also discussed. Finally, recommendation for possible future work in this area is presented.
Cities in Afghanistan have been rapidly urbanized; however, many parts of these cities have been developed with no detailed land use plan or infrastructure. In other words, they have been informally developed without any government leadership. The new government started the In-situ Upgrading Project in Kabul to upgrade roads, the water supply network system, and the surface water drainage system on the existing street layout in 2002, with the financial support of international agencies. This project is an appropriate emergency improvement for living life, but not an essential improvement of living conditions and infrastructure problems because the life expectancies of the improved facilities are as short as 10–15 years, and residents cannot obtain land tenure in the unplanned areas. The Land Readjustment System (LRS) conducted in Japan has good advantages that rearrange irregularly shaped land lots and develop the infrastructure effectively. This study investigates the effects of the In-situ Upgrading Project on private investment, land prices, and residents’ satisfaction with projects in Kart-e-Char, where properties are registered, and in Afshar-e-Silo Lot 1, where properties are unregistered. These projects are located 5 km and 7 km from the CBD area of Kabul, respectively. This study discusses whether LRS should be applied to the unplanned area based on the questionnaire and interview responses of experts experienced in the In-situ Upgrading Project who have knowledge of LRS. The analysis results reveal that, in Kart-e-Char, a lot of private investment has been made in the construction of medium-rise (five- to nine-story) buildings for commercial and residential purposes. Land values have also incrementally increased since the project, and residents are commonly satisfied with the road pavement, drainage systems, and water supplies, but dissatisfied with the poor delivery of electricity as well as the lack of public facilities (e.g., parks and sport facilities). In Afshar-e-Silo Lot 1, basic infrastructures like paved roads and surface water drainage systems have improved from the project. After the project, a few four- and five-story residential buildings were built with very low-level private investments, but significant increases in land prices were not evident. The residents are satisfied with the contribution ratio, drainage system, and small increase in land price, but there is still no drinking water supply system or tenure security; moreover, there are substandard paved roads and a lack of public facilities, such as parks, sport facilities, mosques, and schools. The results of the questionnaire and interviews with the four engineers highlight the problems that remain to be solved in the unplanned areas if LRS is applied—namely, land use differences, types and conditions of the infrastructure still to be installed by the project, and time spent for positive consensus building among the residents, given the project’s budget limitation.