Structural materials for the post-oil era

  Example of mycelium-based material Copyright: © TraKo RWTH Aachen Example of mycelium-based material

Topic description and motivation

According to a report of the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), the construction industry is responsible for: 30% of global CO² emissions, 40% of energy consumption in Europe, and 30% of resource consumption worldwide. Furthermore, 80-90% of these resources are used in buildings’ load-bearing structures. That is why we as architects and engineers can reduce this impact by applying our know-how in smart designs. These solutions should not only apply to mass-reduction-optimization but also, to materials’ smart selection.

This Summer School aims to introduce the current state of research in the world of building materials, how they can be implemented in structural systems, and possible optimization strategies. The lectures introduce fundamental theoretical knowledge in statics of renewable materials and evaluation techniques, which are complemented by ‘Hands-on workshops’, where students apply their acquired knowledge in practical projects. Due to the actual COVID-19 safety regulations, we propose an on-line format where the Hands-on workshop is still conceivable.

The lectures are conducted by the Chair for Structures and Structural Design (Lehrstuhl Tragkonstruktionen, short "Trako") leaded by Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Trautz. Trako is part of the Faculty of Architecture of RWTH and is an international and interdisciplinary group of young Structural Engineers and Architects. Its research focuses on lightweight structures, traditional natural materials as wood, vernacular natural materials as bamboo, and experimental bio-materials like the Mycelium-based. As an appointed member of Ibac (Institut für Bauforschung, Faculty 3) Furthermore, the chair is supported by external partners from both, the industry and academy fields. That is why the program also offers guest lectures from renowned german Universities, as well as European universities.

Academic content

The Curricula is divided into two modalities one the theoretical and the other the empirical but both include exchange and participation activities to encourage the students to exchange their knowledge and debate about the lessons learned. Some of the lecture topics include a general overview on the circularity of structural materials; The importance of lightness in the built environment; Sustainable strategies for structural planning: reducing the carbon footprint, avoiding entropy and waste; Natural Materials: organic and inorganic; Growing materials; Recycling Materials; Enhancing vernacular materials with contemporary technology; Mechanical proof of load-bearing capacity; Natural Growth and Design as a Process and Model for Innovative Technical Solutions. The empirical part is also viable in the online format, including a workshop and subsequent data collection and analysis.

A preliminary program and time period

Implementation Period: 2 Weeks from 20.09.21 to 01.10.21 (KW38, KW39) and a Final Review on 08.10.21 (KW32). As mentioned before, the summer school will take place online, nevertheless it is planned on a mixed synchronous (9:00-12:15) and asynchronous (13:00- 16:15) modality. In the first two weeks of the course, we offer a synchronous program in the morning with live lectures followed by an asynchronous program in the afternoons with activities and quizzes. The latter, offer students flexibility to manage their time and produce the material for the review sessions.

 

Synchronous (9:00-12:15)

Asynchronous

Units

1st Part

40

20.09.21

8

Kick-off 1st Part

General overview on sustainable structural materials

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Experimental materials: bioplastics + hands-on tutorial

Hands-on

21.09.21

8

Natural materials: organic & inorganic

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Recycled materials: part 1

Hands-on

22.09.21

8

Organic materials: wood – part 1

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Organic materials: guided growth

Hands-on

23.09.21

8

Inorganic materials: adobe

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Inorganic materials: new perspectives for adobe construction

Hands-on

24.09.21

8

Lightweight materials: learning from nature

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Lightweight materials: Incremental sheet forming

Hands-on

2nd Part

40

27.09.21

8

Kick-off 2nd Part

Mid-term review: hands-on

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Material characterization – part 1

Characterization

28.09.21

8

Material characterization – part 2

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Material characterization – best practices

Characterization

29.09.21

8

Organic materials: wood – part 2

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Organic materials: tailored re-use of wood waste

Characterization

30.09.21

8

Vernacular materials: Bamboo

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Experimental materials: Mycelium

Characterization

01.10.21

8

Lightweight materials: the concrete controversy

RAW* 1 + RAW* 2

Recycled materials: part 1

Characterization

3rd Part

10

08.10.21

10

Final review: material characterization & proposal

Proposal

Contact

Name

Dana Saez

Contact person for content-related questions

Phone

work
+49 241 80 98212

Email

E-Mail
 

*RAW: Acronym for Reading and Writing, which refers to writing a short review of the lessons learned of each lecture.

Participant profile

This program is specifically tailored for undergraduate students from the Honors College. Due to the international nature of the event, all courses are going to be guided in English. That is why the applicants need proficient knowledge of the English language. The topic is addressed to students of Architecture, Structural and Civil Engineering, Materials Science, Biology, or a related field. Furthermore, students with other engineering backgrounds, like mechanical, automotive, or aerospace, interested in the subject are very welcome to join the program.

Maximum number of participants: 30


Further information

Contact person: Dana Saez, M. Sc.

Organizer: Chair for Structures and Structural Design (TraKo)

Language: English

Workload: 90 Teaching Units

 

Examples of innovative materials