The paradigm shift in the construction sector is reflected in the demand for prefabricated modular building systems, with conceptual and functional characteristics aligned with the principles of sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly construction.
In this way, CONCEXEC – Arquitetura Lda., developed a constructive technology, modular, prefabricated, industrialized, patented, innovative, evolutionary, sustainable and with conceptual and constructive characteristics based on the principles and almost zero primary energy needs “nZEB – near Zero – Energy Build“, with high levels of interior comfort, subject to Passive House certification, including the integration of “eco – friendly” materials.
CONCEXEC, having as a starting point its prefabricated modular construction system, under the project “CircularBuild – Development and Validation of the Circularity Concept Applied to Modular Prefabricated Construction” operated by the General Secretariat for the Environment and financed by the EEA GRANTS , developed a more sustainable and environmentally friendly prefabricated modular constructive solution, called CircularBuild constructive solution, for which the ETA validation, certification and approval process is in progress with the National Civil Engineering Laboratory – LNEC and the Norwegian laboratory RISE Research.
The process of validation, certification and approval of the CircularBuild constructive solution is based on Activity 3 “A3 – Functional Validation Tests – Laboratory Scope”, through the framework of 5 different tasks, where laboratory tests were programmed and defined for the CircularBuild solution specimens, aiming at identifying points favorable to the improvement of the solution, with a multidisciplinary scope in the regulatory scope of construction in accordance with the international standard EN ISO, to which the constructive solution and the constituent elements must respect.
Under the task “T3.1 – Study of the durability of the panel cladding board”, a laboratory evaluation of the biological durability was carried out on the exterior cladding board (AGEPAN DWD PROTECT 16mm) of the CircularBuild solution panel, a material that presents its constitution with biological materials. The samples were prepared by CONCEXEC and delivered to LNEC’s facilities, where they were conditioned for one month before the relative humidity test.
Tests against subterranean termites (Reticulitermes Grassei) are in progress, using two complementary standardized methods, EN 117 and EN 118. The evaluation of the resistance of the exterior cladding boards to molds and decay fungi (including soft rot), will take place in the first half of 2022. At the same time, after the leaching of the samples, and taking water as an important factor to consider in the mechanisms of biological deterioration, parallel complementary tests are in progress. The behavior of the samples, with regard to dimensional stability, after immersion in water is also being evaluated in accordance with EN 317.
The test piece and the materials intended for the thermal shock test are already at LNEC, where the project team will carry out the tests through heat, freezing and rain cycles, for a duration of 2 months.
The development of the task “T3.2 – Characterization of the panel, including its connections” is under development, based on the specimens delivered by CONCEXEC, at LNEC’s facilities. In the last 6 months, LNEC has carried out laboratory tests related to mechanical strength, namely bending tests on 2.5m long panels, tensile tests and in-plane shear tests on smaller panels, both under a preliminary evaluation of the performance of the panel, mainly with regard to the resistance of the peripheral connections. The bending tests on the 6m long panels, the vertical compression tests and the in-plane shear tests are in progress at the start of this year.
The task “T3.3 – Mechanical and Functional Performance”, in progress, includes the performance of mechanical and functional validation tests on the CircularBuild solution test pieces, with a view to gauging the resistance of the panels to the wind, the impact behavior on the panels and their respective peripheral connections, mechanical resistance to point loads and performance to air permeability, tightness.
In the development of the task “T3.4 – Acoustic, Thermal and Seismic Performance”, the acoustic tests of aerial and percussion sounds on the floor panels are in progress. The indices found in the impact tests were 80 dB in the coated floor panels and 83 dB in the bare floor panels, equaling the indices found in a bare concrete floor. These results demonstrate that the CircularBuild construction system, with all its potential and added values, from a sustainable point of view, still presents the same acoustic behavior to the impact on the floor as the traditional concrete solution.
At the moment, the calculations related to the thermal behavior of the CircularBuild constructive solution are in progress, and they are expected to be concluded at the start of the next quarter.
The 2-storey prototype to be tested on the seismic table is already prepared in the earthquake department, waiting for the test to be carried out at the start of the next quarter.
Within the scope of the task “T3.5 – Fire Behaviour”, fire tests were performed at the fire department of LNEC facilities and the results derived from them will be assessed during the next quarter.
Although on a smaller scale, a preliminary fire resistance test has already been performed on the test specimen sent to the Norwegian RISE laboratory in the last quarter of 2021, which, from a preliminary point of view, met the expectations. Its validation is expected to be done during the next test, to be performed at the beginning of the next quarter at the facilities of the Norwegian RISE laboratory.
The conclusion of activity A3, scheduled for the end of the first semester of the year, will be fundamental, for the conclusion of the activity “A1 – Study and Definition of Functional Requirements of Alternative Materials” and development and of the activity “A4 – CircularBuild Construction”, which are developed until the completion of the project, in the penultimate quarter of 2022.
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