PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

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Renewable and Resource Efficient Composite Materials for Affordable Housing

University of Missouri-Rolla

* K. Chandrashekhara, Principal Investigator
* Virgil J. Flanigan, Co-Principal Investigator
* Shubhender Kapila, Co-Principal Investigator
* Susan Murray, Co-Principal Investigator
* Antonio Nanni, Co-Principal Investigator

Start: January 1, 2003
Expires: December 31, 2005


A program aimed at development of renewable and resource efficient composite material for affordable housing is proposed. Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites offer inherent advantages over traditional materials with regard to high strength-to-weight ratio, design flexibility, corrosion resistance, low maintenance, and extended service life. FRP materials can be used for both new construction and repair/rehabilitation of existing structures. One such application involves creating durable and affordable housing products.

It is well known that properly designed FRP materials and systems can improve product durability. High cost has been the key barrier to wide spread use of composites. Two of the major cost drivers for composites are labor and raw materials. Automated manufacturing processes can substantially reduce labor hours and improve material utilization. Use of plant derived materials such as soybased resin system and soyhull derived foams offer low cost and environmentally benign raw materials.

The research will focus on the following challenging issues: Development of composite structural components using resource-efficient and durable materials, and performance evaluation of these components are the key goals of the proposed research. To achieve these goals, an interdisciplinary team has been formed with backgrounds in materials, composite manufacturing, chemistry, and structural engineering.

Pultruded glass fiber composite using soybased resin system for floor, roof, and wall panels. Natural fiber reinforced insulation panels Variable density soybean hull based foam core. Manufacturing of panels using core-filled pultrusion and vacuum assisted RTM processes Experimental testing and analysis to provide the basis for safe use of these new materials.

To accomplish the goal of transferring viable technologies from the laboratory to housing industry, we will collaborate with construction industries to evaluate the performance of products in the field. The successful completion of this project will generate data to initiate construction of a composite house and enhance technology's general acceptance. The project is expected to have significant impact on research, education, technology transfer and interdisciplinary activities.

To view additional details on this NSF award, click here.

Content updated on 9/21/2005

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