Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Chemical Leaching Characterization of Selected Building Materials in Relation to Health Safety Regulations

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.08.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Control and care of the environment   

Code Science Field
P300  Natural sciences and mathematics  Analytical chemistry 

Code Science Field
1.04  Natural Sciences  Chemical sciences 
chemical characterization; building materials; cement; leaching; analytical chemistry; environmental protection; health safety.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (12)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  09774  PhD Bojan Budič  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  211 
2.  15967  Mirjam Košuta  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  29 
3.  31996  PhD Ana Kroflič  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2013 - 2014  157 
4.  10273  PhD Tanja Ljubič Mlakar  Civil engineering  Researcher  2011 - 2014  78 
5.  36328  PhD Eva Menart  Chemistry  Researcher  2013 - 2014  122 
6.  18208  Breda Novak    Technical associate  2011 - 2013  24 
7.  02285  PhD Božidar Ogorevc  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  309 
8.  25442  PhD Martin Šala  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  335 
9.  32101  PhD Bine Šebez  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2011 - 2013  15 
10.  23492  PhD Vid Simon Šelih  Chemistry  Head  2011 - 2014  205 
11.  23261  PhD Johannes Teun Van Elteren  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  263 
12.  16294  PhD Tomaž Vuk  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  84 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  20,869 
2.  0738  SALONIT ANHOVO, Building Materials, Joint - Stock Co.  Deskle  5043816000  190 
The building industry is facing the fact that in the intermediate term it will have to certificate to new regulations as a result of forthcoming EU directives. It will require a full disclosure of risks associated with particular building materials and assessment of their appropriateness in certain building applications regarding human health and environmental safety. In particular concrete formulations that can also be in use for specific constructions will have to comply with tests consisting of certain leaching and analytical procedures in order to limit emissions of toxic metals to waters and food chains. Since concrete is directly linked to cement manufacturing, especially this branch of the building industry will be compelled to fulfill all the regulative requirements on short notice. For economic and in particular technological reasons a variety of fuels, mineral admixtures, chemical additives, superplasticizers, air-entraining agents, etc. are added to the cement and concrete during their production. All of these additives and supplements can also contain unwanted components, such as hazardous elements (particularly metals) and compounds. For the regulative process it is of imminent importance that analytical methodologies are in place to study the immobilization of toxic metals in concrete and be able to adjust the concrete formulation to reduce emission rates of toxic metals to the environment.   The intention of this applicative project is to focus on investigation and elaboration of characterization protocols involving leaching tests in combination with appropriate chemical analysis methods in order to assess the environmental and health performance of concrete during its life cycle under various conditions. For this purpose, various types of concrete specimens will be prepared with different additives and admixtures in collaboration with our industrial partner. After leaching of the specimens under well-chosen leaching strategies, analysis of the metals in the leachates will be performed by standard element-specific detection devices such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Some other techniques useful for determination of trace ecotoxic elements in solutions, such as voltammetry, ion chromatography, spectrophotometry, etc. will also be applied when appropriate. Additionally, some state-of-the-art methodologies for chemical surface microcharacterization, such as laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) and scanning electron microscopy - energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDXS) will be applied to study migration of metals in concrete. This will allow us to further investigate the leaching processes in a systematic way using theoretical leaching models (diffusional and shrinking core model) to be able to optimize the concrete formulation for minimal emission of toxic metals. It is considered that the project research work will be in particular oriented into introducing some novel and original leaching/analytical approaches and procedures, beside implementing, adapting and optimizing the forthcoming standard protocols needed by the industrial partner.   The project team is up to its task with highly trained professionals in all aspects of the project as well as with all necessary infrastructure and advanced equipment available on site. By accomplishing this study our industrial partner will not only be able to follow the forthcoming European directive but it will also increase its market competitiveness. Furthermore, it will allow the industrial partner to gain knowledge on appropriate leaching/analytical protocols and have direct access to state-of-the-art analytical facilities to immediately respond to future regulative requirements with regards to certification of their products.
Significance for science
The applicative project L1-4276 and the research work performed within targets three research fields, (a) development and optimization of leaching protocols, (b) chemical analysis of leachates, (c) assessment of obtained analysis results concerning elements that can be environmental and/or health hazardous. Development and optimization of leaching experiments proves to be of high importance for science and research as the literature overview performed during the project showed a pronounced inhomogeneity and divergence within the research field. There are many types of leaching protocols in use today. Thorough investigation of those, their optimization and decisions undertaken during the project are or will in future add to the development of this research field (leaching protocols). Herein we target especially modifications and improvements of the protocols with special emphasis on (i) sample preparation (surface, porosity, cleanliness of the sample), (ii), choice of suitable leaching conditions (static, dynamic), choice of leaching media, choice of vessels for leaching experiments with regards to minimizing contamination, optimization of sampling (contamination, filtration steps, sample keeping). Analysis of complex samples and/or samples with trace amounts of analytes is an established research field for many years for the project sub-group from NIC. The samples obtained during leaching experiments are of exactly this type. Development of the trace and ultra-trace analysis analytics is an important research filed and the results obtained during the project will contribute to novel scientific knowledge that is going to be used in future. Assessment of the results of leachate analysis with regards to content of environmental or health hazard elements will furthermore contribute to the research field and development of regulations for maximum allowable contents of these elements in environment, water and food. We estimate that the results obtained during the project will influence the progress of science and research in general.
Significance for the country
The applicative project L1-4276 presents an important influence on development of Slovenia concerning sustaining and increasing the economic competitiveness of our industrial partner Salonit Anhovo. The Slovenian building industry sector has faced many problems and marked economic decrease in the recent economic crisis times. The knowledge obtained during the project enables our industrial partner to develop novel products that could in the same time be environmentally friendly and take advantage of the use of secondary materials - either to lower energy consumption during manufacturing processes and/or materials that are waste materials in other processes (fly ash, furnace slag, etc…) – to be included in the end products. Knowledge obtained within the project also increases the qualifications of the industrial partners R&D team, increases the level of technological development and adds to development of new services. Here, we are aiming predominantly at conducting the leaching experiments according to project-developed protocols for possible customers (construction companies, building industries, …) either from Slovenia or EU. Other aspect is also knowledge transfer to other possible organizations or customers willing to conduct the leaching experiments – our project group could greatly enhance their work. We find the project results of high importance also from the standpoint of developments of novel methodologies and regulations, on either EU or Slovenian level. Moreover, the Salonit sub-group is included in development of common European leaching standards and protocols for construction materials and the knowledge obtained within the project will contribute to this. Analytical protocols developed during the project also present the development of the scientific and research field of trace and ultra-trace analysis in complex samples in Slovenia, this being most important for the NIC project sub-group that is the leading scientific group in Slovenia in this field.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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