The construction sector is of great social and economic importance, especially regarding the creation of sufficient affordable housing. In the last few years, the rising distribution of novel and increasingly complex composite materials and constructions, for example thermal insulation systems, textile concretes and fiber-reinforced plastic components, has become apparent. It is assumed that these market segments will continue to grow in the years to come. This results in great resource and energy consumption in the construction sector as well as large amounts of waste due to demolition measures.
With that in mind, the idea of the Fortschrittskolleg Verbund.NRW arose, a cooperation with the goal of improving resource efficiency in the use of composite materials and constructions in the building industry. Eleven doctoral candidates at institutes from five faculties of the RWTH Aachen University and at three institutes of the Münster University of Applied Sciences will study the value chain of composite materials in its entirety. The research project will be approached from different scientific perspectives. This concept encompasses the cycle of the production and development, construction and processing, usage and dismantling, as well as the disposal and recycling of complex composite materials.
The following institutes and chairs of the RWTH Aachen University are involved:
- Chair of Management Accounting
- Chair of Operations Management
- Chair of Building Materials
- Chair of Sociology of Technology and Organization
- Institut für Textiltechnik
- Department of Processing and Recycling
- Research Unit International Economics
- The Unit of Technology of Fuels
The following institutes and chairs are participating on behalf of the Münster University of Applied Sciences:
- Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Baubetrieb/Projektmanagement
- Institut für unterirdisches Bauen
- Institut für Wasser ∙ Ressourcen ∙ Umwelt
Effective recovery and recycling of secondary raw materials can contribute considerably to the conservation of resources. Therefore, it is crucial to develop materials and building constructions that allow subsequent recycling and increase resource efficiency. With regard to recovery and recycling, the question arises how a suitable disintegration of composite materials could look like. A holistic approach with the goal to create a sustainable value network requires not only solutions on the technological level but poses questions on the economical, ecological and social levels, too. Environmental effects like emission have to be evaluated. The efficiency of the entire processes along the value chain is equally vital. Ultimately, it is also a formal and organizational challenge and concerns the user acceptance of novel building materials.
The study program of the Fortschrittskolleg comprises four parts:
- dissertation and research project
- interdisciplinary competence
- transdisciplinary research practice
- cross-specialist qualification, the acquisition of key skills
The research activity is going to be considered as constantly linked to practical work. The doctoral candidates will be supported by actors in the realm of politics, industry, unions and the craft sector. In preparation for their future career, the doctoral students will be taking job preparation courses, participate in professional excursions to industry partners and take part in internships.
RWTH Aachen University’s institute TEER will be responsible for the management and coordination of the Fortschrittskolleg. Furthermore, the institute will work on the technological side and conduct research in the field of dismantling and recycling. The goal is to develop and optimize a thermal conversion process to recover secondary resources from composite materials and constructions. The Fortschrittskolleg is sponsored alongside eleven other projects by the Ministery of Culture and Science.