The project will develop special walls with 'self-healing' properties made of nano polymer particles which turn into a liquid when squeezed under pressure. The liquid will then flow into the cracks, and harden to form a solid material.
The NanoManufacturing Institute (NMI), based at Leeds University, UK, is playing a key role in the €14 million project, the aim of which is to construct the intelligent regenerative home on a Greek mountainside by December 2010.
The project's coordinator, Professor Terry Wilkins from the NMI, explained: 'What we're trying to achieve here is very exciting; we're looking to use polymers in much tougher situations than ever before on a larger scale.'
The 'self-healing' polymers will be made thanks to nanotechnology, which involves making things on a tiny scale - less than one-hundred thousandth the width of a human hair.
If the experiment proves successful, more earthquake-resistant homes could be built in danger zones known for their seismic activity across the globe.
The project will first build the walls of the house from novel load-bearing steel frames and high-strength gypsum board. The second novelty will be the insertion of wireless, battery-less sensors and radio frequency identity (RFID) tags into these walls to collect large amounts of data on the stresses and vibrations, temperature, humidity and gas levels affecting the building. If a problem such as an earthquake should occur, the intelligent sensor network will alert residents immediately, giving them time to escape to safety.
Professor Wilkins added: 'If whole groups of houses are so constructed, we could use a larger network of sensors to get even more information. Then if the house falls down, we have got hand-held devices that can be used over the rubble to pick out where the embedded sensors are hidden to get information about how the villa collapsed and about anyone who may be around, so it potentially becomes a tool for rescue.'
Dr Roger Gregory, a partner involved in the potentially life-saving project, said: 'Leeds are world leaders in designing wireless networks for extreme environments and hard-to-access places. Even if the building totally collapsed, the sensors would still let you pinpoint the source of the fault.'
Professor Wilkins concluded: 'Once we have the optimum design, we could quickly start producing thousands of litres of nanoparticle fluid, adding just a tiny percentage to the gypsum mix.'
Insulating bricks with microscopic bubbles
15.01.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Smart buildings through innovative membrane roofs and façades
31.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München have discovered a mechanism that amplifies the autoimmune reaction in an early stage of pancreatic islet autoimmunity prior to the progression to clinical type 1 diabetes. If the researchers blocked the corresponding molecules, the immune system was significantly less active. The study was conducted under the auspices of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and was published in the journal ‘Science Translational Medicine’.
Type 1 diabetes is the most common metabolic disease in childhood and adolescence. In this disease, the body's own immune system attacks and destroys the...
15.01.2018 | Event News
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
15.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.01.2018 | Life Sciences
15.01.2018 | Life Sciences