Multi-material lightweight design with fibre-reinforced high-performance materials has the potential to make an important contribution to achieving the goals of the European Green Deal and thus to climate neutrality. The materials developed and promoted by the members of Composites United e.V. (CU) are essential for efficient wind turbines, solid and at the same time lightweight structural elements for use in automobiles, aircraft, ships and trains. Fibre-reinforced plastics have also been used successfully in construction for about 60 years and allow a high degree of freedom in shaping and creative design, but also lighter, resource-saving, low-maintenance and sustainable applications. However, approval hurdles and a lack of knowledge about these materials have so far made it difficult to use fibre composites in building applications. The CU Bau specialist network therefore wants to focus more intensely on the topic of construction with fibre-reinforced materials and drive it forward in order to open up the enormous application potential of the new material combinations.
To achieve this goal, CU Bau has initiated five new technical working groups (WG) that are tailored to the requirements of the market participants and will address and work on current issues. In this way, CU members and network partners want to jointly establish multi-material lightweight design as an essential element for a sustainable construction industry.
CU Bau network manager Roy Thyroff had invited to a virtual kick-off event on July 8, 2021 to present the new working structure. Werner Lohscheider (Head of Department IVB4 “Construction Industry, Lightweight Design, New Materials, Resource Efficiency”/ BMWi) and Dr. Frank Schladitz (Managing Director, C³ – Carbon Concrete Composite e. V.) spoke in their opening presentations about the lightweight design strategy of the federal government and about the advantages and potentials of carbon reinforced concrete. The new WG leaders then gave an insight into the planned focal points of their work to around 40 guests.
Dr. Ingelore Gaitzsch (texton e.V.) will head the working group “Fibre-reinforced composites for new buildings and renovation” in future. The working group offers interested builders, architects, engineers, scientists, material and building product manufacturers as well as construction companies a platform for interdisciplinary discussion as well as for the exchange of ideas and experience on all topics related to the practical use of fibre composites in construction.
The “Processes, Methods and Digitalisation” working group has the goal of promoting the application of new methods in the construction industry for the use of fibre-reinforced matrices, hybrid technologies and multi-material lightweight design. In her presentation, Prof. Sandra Gelbrich (WG leader and Head of the “Lightweight Constructions in Civil Engineering” research area, Chemnitz University of Technology) showed the potential of additive manufacturing processes in construction practice as an example.
The working group ” Drafting, Planning, Dimensioning and Design”, headed by Prof. Sergej Rempel (Department of Solid Construction/ Augsburg University of Applied Sciences), will deal with the approach to drafting, planning, dimensioning and design in construction using fibre-reinforced matrices. This group will focus in particular on the complexity of approval procedures and the area of guidelines and standardisation.
The WG “Education, Public Relations and Cooperation with Authorities” will connect stakeholders from the entire value chain to raise public awareness of the application potential of fibre composites in construction. In his presentation, WG leader Volker Roth (T4 Ingenieurgesellschaft GmbH) emphasised the importance of cooperation with representatives from politics and science, the need to set up training programmes and the importance of cooperation with chambers, associations and further education institutions in order to communicate the content developed.
Roy Thyroff was very satisfied with the kick-off event at the end of the day: “Today we gave the starting signal for five new and very important fields of work at CU Bau. The many requests to speak and the intensive discussions during the breaks show the relevance and importance of the topic “Sustainable Construction”. These working groups enable us to jointly address complex questions and problems in the network and develop solutions to advance the use of building products with fibre-reinforced concrete or polymer matrices.”