Material scientists: heritage protection makers from the future?

Briccola, Deborah (2022) Material scientists: heritage protection makers from the future? In: Climate Culture Peace Conference, 24-28.01.2022. (Submitted)

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What could be the interconnections between innovative materials, climate change, heritage protection, and conflict resilience looked at from a civil engineer's point of view? During the civil war in Lebanon, the protection of large objects by concrete cases at the National Museum of Beirut saved invaluable treasures from barbaric acts. These walls also acted as sacrificial elements in case of blasts, which are likely to occur during conflicts. Therefore, this strategy is one of the more promising when dealing with the problem of artistic heritage protection in conflict areas. However, concrete production is a well‐recognized trigger of climate change as the amount of CO2 introduced in the environment is meaningful, causes environmental stress, and could foster climate‐related disasters. What is the role of innovative materials and innovative building strategies in this framework? Materials with enhanced dynamic properties as metaconcrete, made out of demolition waste or plastic, tires, and rubber scraps are viable alternatives to reduce concrete cases thickness while preserving blast‐resistance performance. Sacrificial walls made out of dismantled concrete elements could be another sustainable alternative to reduce the impact on the environment while taking care of heritage protection issues. Could these two examples be a common field of investigation for material scientists, policy advisors, and practitioners to share experiences and contribute to a safer environment?

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