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SESBE Report Summary

Project ID: 608950
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Sweden

Periodic Report Summary 2 - SESBE (Smart elements for sustainable building envelopes)

Project Context and Objectives:
Limited recourses and increasing population demands new ideas in sustainable development and growth. In particular in the energy sector and to be more specific, in energy conservation, there are still multiple options for technological advancement. In the building sector the advance of new technologies and materials help to show new perspectives to decentralize energy production, increase energy savings by smart facility installation and appliances as well as by increasing energy efficiency by new materials used for the building envelope. The latter is the focus of the SESBE project: Smart Elements for Sustainable Building Envelopes. SESBE develops new types of façade elements with integrated insulation for new buildings and the existing building stock. The main objectives are sustainability, safety and energy efficiency increase in conjunction with weight and thickness reduction of elements (Fig. 1).
A new type of concrete, Reactive Powder Concrete (RPC), allows reducing drastically the thickness of elements due to its high mechanical performance. Energy efficiency will be reached by a new type of insulation based on foam concrete with Quartzene® incorporation, an aerogel-like material. Functionalization of the materials by nanotechnology allows enlarging the performance of the elements with further properties, such as self cleaning/easy-to-clean, heat reflectance, and humidity buffering. Furthermore, a new type of sealing tape for element joints and openings is being developed as well as a more effective intumescent coating for anchors and the metal substructure.
The project itself consists of 6 work packages (WP). WP2 to WP5 are of technical and scientific content. WP2 is dedicated to material development, WP3 to material functionalization and WPs 4 and 5 in façade element design, performance and production technologies.

Project Results:
During the second part of the project (months 19 to 36) of the design of the carbon textile reinforced reactive powder concrete as well as for the foam concrete insulation was finalized. The RPC was used in conjunction with a different, epoxy resin coated carbon fiber grid, exhibiting superior performance under flexural and tensile loads. Furthermore, a white RPC mix was developed, which can be pigmented to produce surfaces in different colors. The RPC mix was trademarked with the name SESBONIT® The foam concrete formulation was improved towards thermal performance and flexural behavior. Aerogel incorporation lowered the thermal conductivity to a value between 30 and 34 mW/(m·K) and additional modifications improved considerably the flexural and cracking behavior of the material. Foam concrete with densities as low as 130 to 150 kg/m3 can now be casted as insulation material. Improvement have been made to continuously produce, transport and cast the new mix. However, the latter is still under development.
The project could produce true super hydrophobic concrete surfaces with contact angles > 160 ° and roll-off angles < 20 °. The very low surface energy allows to easily wash off any dust deposition and is very resilient towards staining by water based liquids (e.g. splash water). The second surface functionalization method produced super hydrophilic, oleophobic and self-cleaning surfaces by functionalizing photocatalytic titanium dioxide. The effect is superior self cleaning with easy wash-off properties. The project’s study on functionalized paint showed that different coating products proved to be effective on RPC in mitigating the risk of fire by heat radiation. Successfully a polymer clay nanocomposite (PCN) was synthesized, which was tested in the foam concrete insulation for buffering moisture. The PCN proved to be particular effective above 95 % r.h. in capturing excess humidity and lower the risk of condensation within the foam concrete. The PCN proved to be effective as a coating on carbon fiber textile in order to increase the bond behavior towards the cement paste.
The production of actual panels for testing and for mock-ups was achieved during the 2nd project period. The resulting panels have a mass of 140 kg/m2 with a 150 mm thick insulation layer and a calculated thermal transmittance (U) value of 0.19 W/(m2·K) and with a 200 mm insulation layer a mass of 150 kg/m2 and a calculated U value of 0.15 W/(m2·K). The results from the structural tests showed sufficient load resistance and good results towards wind loads and flexural loads. The life cycle assessment of the SESBE façade elements shows a better environmental performance compared to reference elements consisting of standard reinforced concrete. This is mostly due to the reduced thickness of the concrete layers and the use of foam concrete. However, the carbon textile grid as reinforcement for RPC and aerogel incorporation into foam concrete have a large impact on the sustainability during production, but which is partially remediated by the reduced costs and efforts for maintenance and the improved thermal performance.

Potential Impact:
As it was shown before the newly developed materials drastically reduce the weight of façade elements and their thickness, without impairing or even increasing thermal performance. The utilized aerogel-like material Quartzene® can be produced at a much lower price as standard aerogel which is synthesized from silanes by autoclaving or low pressure drying. This reduces costs for an inorganic, energy efficient, non-flammable insulation material, which is based on foam concrete with Quartzene® as component. That means alternatives to polymer based insulation, such as EPS or polyurethane, can be a real alternative for the future and help to increase fire safety, sustainability, energy efficiency and application of building elements containing this material. Ultra-high strength materials for inner and outer façade layers have a multitude of advantages. They can be manufactured in much thinner dimensions and show at the same time an extreme durability. Due to the high strength and dense surface, surface functionalization can be performed better and more durable. It is expected that the production of new façade elements will not be as cheap as existing concrete elements until logistic production and distribution chains have been built up but money can already be saved for transport, application and operation. Dismantling elements will have a low environmental impact due to the mineral based nature of the material components.

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Tel.: +46 105166862
Record Number: 192535 / Last updated on: 2016-12-16
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