Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials


Focus Area 3B – Eco design characterisation of MCMs in infrastructure

This focus area aims to provide an eco-design characterisation of MCMs and use this to develop eco-design principles applicable for different spatial and temporal scales, and socio-technical contexts.



Although work has been done on material efficiency aspects of eco-design since 2015, there is an absence of knowledge for infrastructure, construction, and engineering communities. It does not follow that those existing principles are transferable to mineral-based construction materials without consideration of their unique characteristics. This includes long-term functional utilisation and repurposing through the recovery of materials at end-of-service. These need to be characterised appropriately to build an eco-design guide to enable public planning and critical decision-making. 

The objectives will be to:

  1. develop criteria for characterisation of infrastructure circularity; 
  2. apply and validate these criteria in case studies; 
  3. capture mineral-based construction materials' eco-design characteristics for the case studies; 
  4. evaluate the potential for circularity of mineral-based construction materials for different spatial and temporal scales, and emerging socio-technical contexts; 
  5. use these findings to develop eco-design principles, with a focus on mineral-based construction materials 

We need to collect data that fleshes out three case studies in infrastructure – roads, railways, and bridges. The data sources will be primarily interviews, but we will accept documentary evidence (not containing any personal information) as well as sensor data if available.

We require a literature review to enable us to quantify the scale of the problems for resource use.

The potential scale of circularity improvement will be quantified by adapting the digital twin to reflect improved infrastructures.