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NSF-PATH Research


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2004 NSF-PATH Workshop

Funded jointly by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and PATH, the February 12-14 workshop helped advance PATH's ongoing mission to improve the affordability and value of America's homes through technology.

Workshop Final Report

2003 NSF-PATH Program Awards

Arizona State University
Pervasive Production Space: An Innovative Information Technology Framework for Homebuilding
The overall goal is to make appropriate information available anywhere, anytime in the homebuilding process through the use of innovative information technology tools. The project vision will be accomplished through the development of a Pervasive Production Space (PPS) for building code compliance results that uses the emerging field of pervasive computing.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Active Building Envelope for Energy Self-Sufficiency: Design, Optimization, and Experimental Validation
The ABE-system will actively use solar energy to pump heat in the direction opposite to the passive heat conduction direction. This approach will effectively eliminate the need to supply other energy sources to thermally condition houses. This multi-functional ABE-system involves the integration of energy receptor, transducer, storage, control, and distribution technologies into the building envelope.

University of Delaware
Bio-Based Composite Panel Systems for Residential Construction
The goal of the research is to design, fabricate, test, and evaluate an innovative panelized system for residential construction made from bio-based composite materials, which can be fabricated simply and inexpensively.

University of Florida
Process Connectors: Supporting Information Transactions Between Residential Construction Processes
The project objectives are to generate the necessary theory and understandings to enable the rapid and consistent generation of process connectors in the residential construction industry.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
PATH: Functionally Graded Cement-Based Materials for Residential Construction
This research project addresses the production of cement-based materials for residential construction using extrusion so as to produce functionally graded microstructures and then measure and compute the engineering properties provided by such microstructures.

2002 NSF Program Awards

Massachusetts Institute of Technology/University of Central Florida
Collaborative Research: An Integrated Interior Infill System for Mass Customized Housing
The objective of this research project is to conceptualize and assess the viability of a new approach that that may result in high-value, customized, reconfigurable, adaptable, multifamily housing.

Purdue University
Manufactured Housing Production Process Analysis and Facility Layout
The main objectives include developing an optimal production process model for manufactured housing that would resolve the production bottlenecks identified through previous NSF-PATH research; developing innovative design alternatives for factory layout; simulating the facility layout alternatives based on the optimal process model to identify the optimal facility layout(s); and investigating radical and innovative changes in the production system and the house design itself that would integrate advanced technology and innovative design into the production system and identify progressive avenues for future research and advancements.

University of Missouri-Rolla
Renewable and Resource Efficient Composite Materials for Affordable Housing
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.

University of Southern California
Automation of Whole House Construction Using Contour Crafting
This project addresses a novel construction automation approach using a layered fabrication process called Contour Crafting (CC) that has been developed at the University of Southern California. The process aims at automated construction of whole houses as well as sub-components. Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run.

Villanova University
Using Viscoelastic Material to Reduce the Dynamic Response of Woodframe Structures
The objective is to develop an advanced panel system for improving the seismic performance of wood frame structures using thin laminates of viscoelastic (VE) damping materials. The VE will be integrated into the lateral load resisting system of the structure material between the wall frame and the sheathing and/or finishing material. It is anticipated that the final panel system will utilize little to no fasteners to connect the sheathing and drywall to the stud frame and provide increased durability at significant cost savings.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Whole House Design Through the Application of Multi-functional Precast Panels
Multi-functional Precast Panel (MPP) systems for residential construction promise to advance the goals of whole house design by providing homes that are more durable, more resistant to natural disasters, more energy efficient, and more affordable than homes constructed with current practices.

2001 NSF-PATH Awards

Georgia Tech Research Corporation - Georgia Institute of Technology
An Integrated Program to Examine the Moisture-Related Performance of Fiber-Cement Composites
The research objective is to link changes that occur on a microstructural level as a result of cyclical moisture changes to the changes in macroscale mechanical properties of the fiber-cement composite.

Michigan State University
Biocomposites from Engineered Natural Fibers for Housing Panel Applications
The development of natural fiber (bio-based) composites for housing panel applications as an environmentally-friendly alternative to contemporary synthetic glass fiber-polyester composite materials is the goal. Research will investigate the utility of combining surface treated bast fibers with leaf fibers in order to synergistically obtain the desired mechanical properties of strength, stiffness and toughness.

Northwestern University
Extruded Fiber-Reinforced Cement Composites for Residential Construction
This research will develop extruded, high-performance composites suitable for residential construction, particularly advanced panel systems. Different cross-sections, with a focus on cellular construction, will be developed for the production of lightweight elements and advanced panel systems.

Oklahoma State University
Engineered Wood Frame Wall Panel System Integrating Prefabricated Truss Technology
The team will investigate an engineered wood frame wall panel system that integrates prefabricated metal plate connected truss technology with conventional wood frame wall construction. The wall panel system will appear and handle like conventional walls and be readily adaptable to current construction techniques and applications. However, it will be more affordable, durable, safer, and have less environmental impact than conventional site built wood frame construction.

Pennsylvania State University
Moisture Control: Convective Drying in Residential Wall Systems
This project is directed at understanding, modeling, and evaluating the potential for ventilation and convective drying within various wall systems. Practical concerns are: sizing the flow chamber; assessing the contribution of sheathing membranes; and venting strategies and how best to transfer the technology to the various target audiences.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rigidified Pneumatic Composites: Use of Space Technologies to Build the Next Generation of American Homes
The objective is to investigate the application of rigidified pneumatic composite technology specifically for residential construction. The project proposes to develop and demonstrate a design methodology that allows for rational comparison of Rigidified Pneumatic Composite (RPC) systems with alternate RPC designs and building systems.

University of Delaware
An Advanced All Natural Composite Roof for Residential Construction
The specific objectives are to design and optimize the soy-based resin, all-natural composite material for roof applications; develop and test a weather protection layer that is integral to the composite roof; and design, analyze, and test the roof structural system.

University of Kansas
Numerical Analysis of Transient Slab-on-Grade Heat Transfer
This research will model heat transfer between modern slabs-on-grade and the ground, evaluate their dynamic behavior, prepare enhanced simplified equations that describe that behavior, and evaluate coefficients for these equations.

University of Washington
Microcellular Polymers Processing for Lightweight and Energy Efficient Advanced Panel Systems
The research project will explore the manufacture of thick sheets of microcellular polymers for load-bearing applications such as advanced panel systems for house construction. The microcellular polymers offer a number of unique advantages for house construction applications, such as reducing density.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Advanced Replacements for Mechanical Fasteners in Housing Construction for High Wind Zones
Virginia Tech proposes to implement an innovative assembly process in the construction industry through the development of materials, design, and application databases. The assembly process will be based on generic acrylic foam tapes, and the test bed will be shear walls and diaphragms in light-frame construction for wind-critical areas, a very large market segment.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Designing Panelized Systems to Minimize Impact on Indoor Air Quality in Tightly-Sealed Buildings
This research will characterize emissions from the individual layers used in the fabrication of SIPs; independently measure the model parameters for the different material layers; validate the single-layer model by comparing predicted emissions to observations obtained in experimental chamber studies; extend the single-layer model to a composite multi-layer model with boundary conditions appropriate for SIPs construction; validate the multi-layer emissions model for SIPs, with and without the presence of an installed barrier material; and use the multi-layer model to optimize the position and properties of barrier materials that can be used to significantly reduce emissions from other advanced panel systems.

2000 NSF-PATH Awards

Arizona State University
Skill-Driven Optimization of Construction Operations
The objective of this research is to develop a model of the human skills required in construction operations. To accomplish this research objective, a methodology will be developed for collecting and representing construction activities. The representation will draw on movement representation schemes devised in dance, biomechanics, and ergonomics.

Clemson University
Fragility Methodology for Performance-Based Engineering of Light-Frame Residential Construction
The project seeks to provide a general methodology for assessing probable response of light-frame residential construction exposed to various levels of natural and man-made hazards. This methodology will support enhancements in durability and reduction in maintenance costs, facilitate reductions in risk of death, injury and property damage from extreme natural hazards, and provide a technical basis for the new paradigm of performance-based engineering of residential construction.

Louisiana State University's Agricultural Center
Durability Analysis of Structural Oriented Strandboard Made with Borate-Modified Wood Flakes
The goal of this project is to pursue an overall understanding of the influence of borate addition on OSB's strength and long-term durability. The work will lead to the development of processing technology and fundamental durability information information for the manufacture of durable OSB with sound biological performance.

Michigan State University
Modeling of Manufactured Housing Production and Material Utilization
The project seeks to develop a production process model for multisection manufactured housing production; develop a process model for the material flow and its utilization on the assembly line; integrate the two process models produced in objectives 1 and 2; implement the integrated process model in a computer simulation system; and develop a dissemination and continuing education strategy for the industry and offer a pilot workshop in conjunction with industry partners.

North Carolina State University
Adaptive Shading Technologies for Future Housing
The four objectives of the study are to gain an understanding of the home designs that accommodate adaptive shading; to gain an understanding of the methods by which energy consumption is reduced with adaptive shading; to develop integrated control algorithms for housing; and to foster commercialization of low-cost adaptive shading technology.

North Carolina State University
Experimental Assessment of Site-Integrated Planning and Information Technologies in Residential Construction
The proposed research will evaluate the effect of a new method of tracking construction waste in order to improve the reuse at residential construction sites. Additionally, we will measure the effects of improved sites through managed site layouts. The organization of the worksite will also provide a more "ergonomically correct" material delivery and transportation paths which should lead to fewer injuries including the reduction of back injuries.

North Carolina State University
Precast Post-Tensioned Clay Masonry Walls for High-Performance Modular Housing
The objective of this research is to investigate the behavior of post-tensioned clay masonry walls under in-plane lateral loads. It is envisioned that such walls could then be utilized to construct efficient, high performance housing.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Eave Icing of Residential Buildings
The goal of the project is to develop a fundamental understanding of eave icing and create an analytical model which predicts the size of a ice dam at the eave of one and two family dwelling units.

University of Maine
Optimized FRP-Reinforced OSB Panels for Disaster Resistant Construction
This project will focus on the development of optimized synthetic fiber-reinforced OSB panels to improve the disaster resistance of conventional wood-frame construction. The research will employ response simulation, small-scale connection and durability testing, and full-scale shear wall testing.

University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Interdependency of the Fire Protection Membrane and the Structural Response of Light-Frame Engineered Wood Floors and Ceilings
Identifying the factors associated with maintaining the attachment of the gypsum wallboard to the supporting wood structural assembly is the focus of this research; this holds the potential for improving the fire safety of wood assemblies. The effect of deflections and stresses in the supporting members on the longevity of the gypsum board will be quantified.

University of Wyoming
Prediction of Manufactured Home Durability Using Field Experiments in Hazardous Winds
The project seeks to better understand structural response and to predict behavior under loads from hazardous winds, the key to providing homeowners higher quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

Other University Projects Supported by PATH

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Industrialization of the Construction Process
Funded research provides an opportunity for attracting top students who explore the cutting edge of technological and managerial issues facing the construction industry.

Content updated on 7/29/2004

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