The rapid growth of the world's population is increasing the demand for built structures with a wide variety of functions. These are primarily built from mineral-bound materials such as cement.
Concrete is basically simple, fast and inexpensive to produce, it can take on almost any shape and is also used as a single building material in developing and emerging countries. It is by far the most important material for building housing and infrastructure.
Many billions of tonnes of sand and gravel are consumed annually for the production of concrete.
Not only the visible environmental impacts such as the extraction of sand and gravel, but also the production and further processing of cement account for approx. 8 % of man-made CO2 emissions.
We have to change these aspects of building in view of the limited raw material resources and an ever-increasing environmental impact! The infrastructure urgently needed in the future requires the construction of material-minimised building structures based on mineral-bound composites. New ways of thinking, changing proven patterns of thought are necessary to preserve our natural habitat and to reduce CO2 emissions as well as the enormous consumption of resources when building with concrete. New forms of construction and building structures, inspired by various fields of science and art, are to be developed. The aim is to develop a resource-efficient construction method based on components that are predominantly subjected to normal force, in order to design weight-minimised, high-performance and durable load-bearing structures of the future with a minimum amount of raw materials.
A good example of efficient, material-minimised load-bearing structures are the long-span shell structures whose heyday was in the last century. The lack of corrosion resistance of steel reinforcement and the complexity of fabrication were two reasons why these load-bearing systems were erected less and less frequently. High-performance materials such as textile or carbon concrete, which have been researched in depth over the past 25 years, are highly load-bearing and at the same time insensitive to corrosion. In addition to the weight reduction due to smaller concrete cover, a considerable amount of dead weight can be saved, especially due to the high mechanical performance of the material. At the moment, these high-performance materials are used exclusively as substitute materials. They are thought of and used in the same way as the more than 100-year-old design principles for reinforced concrete. The design and the structural implementation are still shaped by traditional thinking.
Even today, we need food for thought to find an adequate design language and construction method for our modern high-performance materials. Basic research is the basis for turning new technologies and materials into creative visions. Outstanding examples from modern architecture show that innovative building materials in combination with efficient calculation methods enable the construction of visionary buildings.
Research in the CRC/Transregio 280 aims to ensure that the new construction strategies can be applied to a wide range of building components and structures in the future. The main goal of the CRC/Transregio 280 is to research entirely new design and construction methods for innovative and sustainable structures in order to be able to efficiently use already existing high-performance materials such as carbon concrete for the first time.
The following core objectives are to be achieved:
- Reduction of resource consumption and environmental impacts such as CO2 emissions through novel design and construction principles and even more efficient materials
- longer period of use and extension of use through the use of particularly durable materials and robust construction methods as well as modularity
- appealing aesthetic design language combined with a high degree of multifunctionality.
In the targeted twelve years of funding, the design, construction, testing and production of structures made of mineral building materials, also in combination with other materials, will be completely rethought. After the paradigm shift in concrete construction that has begun at the material level, a revolution in the thinking and design of structures is required.
For the project, the principle "form follows force" means finding an interdisciplinary approach for new algorithms and methods that include all process steps of a structure from design to production, including material and process development. Carbon reinforced concrete is a building material that can meet these requirements and will thus be the focus of the new construction strategies in the planned collaborative project. In this respect, the CRC/Transregio 280 builds on the previous state of knowledge, which on the one hand was largely developed through material-oriented basic research in CRC 528 and CRC 532, and on the other hand stems from singular practical projects and the research in the application-oriented project consortium C3 – Carbon Concrete Composite, which has set itself the goal of reducing barriers to market entry (including the creation of guidelines and approvals for carbon concrete products). In order to fully exploit the potential of new materials and methods, the decisive prerequisite is the integration of experts from different disciplines – in addition to civil engineering also from botany, mathematics and scientific architecture – who realise common approaches, perspectives and methods for a sustainable paradigm shift.
Scientific added value through cooperation between scientists from different fields of knowledge
The strength of the CRC/Transregio 280 is the interdisciplinary approach through the integration of experts from already established networks at two renowned research centres in Germany. Scientists from TU Dresden and RWTH Aachen University play a leading role worldwide in the field of carbon reinforced concrete. The additional support provided by the Leibnitz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden e.V. (IPF) lies in the design of the boundary layer between non-metallic reinforcement and mineral matrix.
Intensive cooperation between the researchers at both locations in CRC/Transregio 280 promotes Germany's international pioneering role in the field of these highly innovative and resource-efficient technologies.
Speaker of the CRC/Transregio 280
Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung
Dresden e. V.
Hohe Straße 6
RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY
Institute of Structural Concrete