Forschungskolleg Verbund.NRW

  Translucent concrete Copyright: © Carpus+Partner AG; Jörg Stanzick

Composites in construction - From resource efficiency to validated sustainability


Relevance of the construction industry regarding the consumption of resources

Demolition Copyright: © IWARU, FH Münster

The construction industry, including infrastructure and buildings, is highly dependent on resources and energy and is responsible for more than 50% of the accumulated waste in Germany. Therefore, the construction industry plays a vital role in the transition towards a sustainable and resource-efficient closed loop economy.

Waste, which accumulates during the construction, renovation, and demolition of buildings or infrastructure facilities, shall be reduced as far as possible. To do so, it is necessary to design construction materials and to tear down buildings and constructions in such a way as to ensure recyclability and to dispose of unavoidable waste in an environmentally appropriate way.


Composite materials and constructions in the construction industry

Composite material Copyright: © Institute for Textile Technology

Composite materials and constructions are fusions or connections of individual materials which obtain enhanced properties when combined. Such materials are capable of meeting various complex demands regarding cost, design, weight, multifunctionality, or reliability, e.g. by saving material and offering qualities such as increased mechanical stability, flexibility in design, and corrosion-resistance.

For this reason, the construction industry has increasingly been utilizing composites such as textile-reinforced concrete, composite heat insulation systems, or carbon- and fiberglass-reinforced building components in the last years. However, the structural complexity poses a challenge concerning the sustainable usage of these materials. Separation and recycling are not easy to realize technically, which is why no functional concepts for a circular economy for these materials exist.


Research concerning the increase of resource-efficiency

In its PhD projects, Forschungskolleg Verbund.NRW deals with all areas belonging to the value chain of relevant composite materials and constructions:

  • Production and development
  • Construction and processing
  • Usage and removal
  • Recycling and disposal

Cooperation between various scientific disciplines, meaning the interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers on technological, ecological, social, and economic levels, plays a crucial role. At the same time, a transdisciplinary research approach is employed in order to incorporate the requirements of affected actors such as industrial actors, associations, and public authorities right from the beginning.

The objective of Verbund.NRW is to tackle social challenges like the increasing need for climate protection, resource-efficiency, and recovery of raw materials in order to contribute to sustainable development and to a resource-efficient usage of the aforementioned innovative materials.

The PhD program will receive funding until June of 2024.

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