“Design and prototyping of a low-embodied carbon structure using biochar-based composites” studies bio-based composites in construction through biochar: a solid byproduct of thermo-chemically converted biomass. Bio-based composites are typically low in strength. As a corrective, the study will investigate a method to develop structural strength through intelligent planning, execution, and material characterization. This proposes an alternative to conventional design and construction methods that develop strength through bulk, brute force, and high embodied energy feedstocks like cement.
Precast concrete shear walls show potential for addressing some of Canada's urgent housing and commercial building demands with high quality and highly durable construction methods that are quick to assemble on site. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the seismic design of these systems in Canada, and there are no explicit seismic design provisions for precast buildings in Canadian building codes. In this Alliance-Accelerate project, UBC researchers' partner with the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI) to address this urgent need.
This Mitacs Accelerate represents the first year of the UBC Precast Design Studio, which is a multi-year partnership between the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI) and the University of British Columbia (UBC). The Studio will provide students with a hands-on learning experience for the seismic design, construction, and seismic response of precast shear walls. This Mitacs Accelerate will fund the training of four students in the experimental testing of precast concrete walls.
The inordinate carbon footprint of the precast concrete industry mainly originates from its raw material supply, predominantly cement. Besides, deficient design and detailing of the joints in precast structures result in their inherent poor seismic performance. Thus, it is crucial to investigate greener alternatives to raw materials along with innovative structural design in precast concrete structures to obtain a wholesome sustainable solution for the precast concrete industry.
Naturally, the Precast Concrete and the Canadian Construction Industries are not going to come out of the COVID-19 crisis unscathed. The various players will all be affected in different ways. And of course, demand will fall sooner or later as the crisis continues, which will squeeze profits throughout the entire construction industry and the Canadian economy. This research will track some of the short and long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis within the Precast Concrete and the Canadian Construction Industries.
3D concrete printing and the digital design processes associated with this technology are developing quickly across the world, both in academia and in practice, moving from the realm of the artisan to the early stages of automated manufacturing.
How do architects engage this emerging new field that combines fabrication technologies with material in their design processes? Emerging use of ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) creates designs without steel reinforcing in thinner structures by using fine sand and integrated fibre reinforcements.
Ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) double wythe panels are commonly used in building envelopes, however, the connections between panels have not been investigated properly. Several design connections will be designed and tested in association with the industrial partner to determine the feasibility of the designs. The project will investigate the structural behaviour and strength of different connections through experimental means.
Advances in engineering technology and requirements for sustainable development are main drivers for changes and innovations in the current construction industry. The paradigm shift to precast construction moves conventional field construction efforts into the controlled environment of an offsite manufacturing facility.
The rate at which chlorides from deicer salts penetrate into concrete towards the reinforcing steel has a strong influence on the time-to-corrosion and service life of concrete structures. Thus, the permeability of the concrete cover layer protecting the reinforcement has to be minimized especially in severe exposure conditions. In addition to the type of concrete, the permeability of the concrete cover is influenced by early-age curing (keeping the concrete warm and wet to maintain cement hydration that fills in pores).
Precast/prestressed concrete sandwich panels (PCSP) are used widely as architectural or structural units. They consist of two concrete wythes, rigid insulation foam in between, and shear connectors. Although they exhibit excellent attributes and perform well in the field, some factors can deter the full utilization of PCSPs and cause safety concern. One of those factors is the thermal bowing, a deflection of the panel caused by difference in temperature between the outer and inner wythes.