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WP1 State-of-the art of available bio-based construction materials

Novel bio-based building materials including structural components and barrier materials will be investigated. Special attention will be focused on products coupling different materials and those subjected to bulk and/or surface treatments.

WP2 Laboratory measurement routine for multi-scale characterization of selected bio-materials

A multi-sensor measurement chain, including both laboratory and on-site techniques, for the acquisition of properties at different scales (molecular, microscopic, macroscopic) will be established at IVALSA/CNR. Investigated bio-materials will be characterized before and during degradation by biotic and a-biotic degradation agents in order to provide experimental data to be used for better understanding the bio-materials performance/degradation in a function of time.

WP3 Studies on degradation mechanisms of materials during their service life

Consolidated knowledge of the interrelationship between the intensity of degradation over time and the numerous degradation-influencing factors (doses) is required to estimate the service life of building components in outdoor applications. Three approaches will be confronted here:

·        Artificial weathering on QUV, Suntest and custom weathering machine developed at IVALSA/CNR

·        Natural weathering stations located at IVALSA/CNR or elsewhere

·        Inspections of the real buildings in field

WP4 Development of suitable degradation processes for each investigated bio-material

This WP, complementary to WP3, will provide implication to the most efficient degradation technology of bio-materials at the end of life. The best solution from the environmental point of view (considering life cycle assessment and carbon storage) will be provided for all investigated bio-materials. Additionally, life cycle cost analysis will be performed in order to consider also economical aspects.

WP5. Multi-scale modeling and simulation of material deterioration

The extensive set of reference data acquired within WP2 and WP3 will be used for data mining. Multivariate data analysis (MDA), including chemometrics, will be applied here for processing and generalization of the data. Following aspects will be explored within the project:

·        selection and evaluation of the most suitable signal pre- and post- processing techniques/algorithms aimed to the extraction of most useful information from the raw data sets

·        elaboration of “Data Fusion” procedures for the integration of the data obtained from different analytical techniques/sensors and from different degradation stages

·        multivariate classification/grading of the investigated materials quality/functionality, with a special focus on aesthetical aspect

·        development of numerical models simulating changes of bio-materials’ properties in function of the weathering doses and construction details

·        design of a visualization software simulating aesthetical changes to the bio-materials due to natural weathering progress

·        creation of the numerical tool for computation of the bio-materials’ service life period, including maintenance/renovation scheduling.

WP6 Development of demonstration tools for architects/engineers/investors

The new knowledge and numerical models would become useless without confrontation with the target group of future users. Unfortunately, very few architects and civil engineers are correctly trained in the aspects of using wood/bio-materials in structures. Therefore an intensive campaign for promoting wood and bio-materials will be conducted in the frame of this project. It is expected that this may increase reliability and trust in bio-materials performance and can open new market opportunities. Aesthetical aspects as well as the functionality of building assemblies, consumer demands and preferences will serve as limit states to develop service life prediction and performance models.

WP7 Validation of models and tools within field trials

All the performance/degradation models developed within this project will be extensively tested and validated at all stages of those developments. The set of validation data will be also confronted with the experts (architects/engineers/users) in order to collect their impressions/comments and with computer simulations. Results will serve for further models validation and improvement.

WP8 Dissemination and exploitation of results

Series of activities are foreseen in relation to dissemination of the project results. This includes series of publications, reports, booklets, design of dedicated website, web TV, and organizing workshops/courses. Several software tools developed (models/simulators) will be disseminated within project. All the dissemination activities will accessible for various target groups and all interested persons including professionals, practitioners or passionate.

WP9 Project management

The project coordination will be conducted by Dr. Anna Sandak working for National Research Council (Trees and Timber Institute). 

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