The following topics are specifically offered:
Bioshotcrete: mechanical properties of (thin-shell) wattle and daub applied by drones
Over the past three years, Stephanie Chaltiel of the Institute of Advanced Architecture Catalonia (IaaC) and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) has been investigating the use of digital technologies in conjunction with earth construction, with research developed through the Innochain network. One of the outcomes is the ongoing Bioshotcrete project, which borrows principles of shotcrete and wattle and daub while using exclusively natural local materials and making the most of robotic and drone technology. Large robots or drones are deployed in order to spray different layers of clay mix (daub) on a lightweight formwork (wattle). The work is continuing in the form of increasingly ambitious applied workshops and prototypes. The use of wattle and daub poses challenges in the context of contemporary building codes and construction practices.
The student is asked to investigate the material properties of such natural materials, through literature study and material testing. If possible, the influence of spraying and drone technology is evaluated. Results are presented through the framework of Eurocode’s “design assisted by testing”, which outlines how available information can be used through statistical methods during design. If successful, the work will be applied to actual Bioshotcrete projects.
Expertise will be available through the involvement of the following expert panel:
- Stephanie Chaltiel (IaaC, UPC, Barcelona, Spain) as lead investigator;
- Wilfredo Carazas (CRAterre-ENSAG, UNESCO, Grenoble, France) regarding earthen architecture and construction;
- (an expert on earthen materials is being contacted, but is to be confirmed);
- Hans Laagland (Witteveen+Bos, Deventer, Netherlands) regarding structural engineering and design assisted by testing; and,
- Diederik Veenendaal (Summum Engineering) regarding structural design, shell structures and parametric modelling.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For this project, Summum Engineering is a research partner, and may or may not act as a thesis supervisor. The student is expected to form a thesis committee at his/her institute after the expert panel is informed and the lead investigator accepts the students’ application. Please contact us for further details.
Re-imagining the Basento Bridge: A large scale cable-net formwork for concrete shell bridges.
The idea of using a prestressed cable-net as formwork for a concrete shell has been applied up to 9m spans (see the NEST HiLo project page), and historically for even larger scales, up to 22m. A cable-net under self-stress is inherently negatively curved. The Basento Bridge by Italian engineer Sergio Musmeci, is an amazing example of a negatively curved, concrete shell bridge. At the time, the project was deemed too costly and involved a large scaffolded timber formwork. We have a scanned 3D model of the Basento Bridge available from the University of Basilicata (Bavusi et al, 2011, Ponzo et al., 2013), to study whether the original bridge, with its 69m spans, could have been made using a cable-net instead. The student is invited to examine and possibly push the envelope of what cable-net formworks can do
NOTE: Permission from the University of Basilicata has to be re-obtained for the student.