BIO-RACE: An alternative construction material for the BIO-economy: RApid-build, Carbon-neutrality and Energy efficiency
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The aim of this project is to develop Irish bio-composites as carbon neutral alternatives to current construction materials, for future development into rapid build modular structural panels. Ireland needs to provide 35,000 homes per annum. This is a significant challenge as construction materials with high embodied carbon, such as steel, concrete and polystyrene, remain the primary choices producing 4.29% of global CO2. Rooted in EU legislation for carbon neutrality by 2050 supported by the bio- and circular- economies, this project will develop an attractive carbon-neutral competitor to current building materials.
The student’s main tasks will include:
1. Identifying residues and low-value materials from Irish forestry and agriculture (horticulture and tillage) for inclusion in bio-composite development for modular panels. This will involve working closely with stakeholders from these industries as well as modular construction companies.
2. performing iterative bio-composite design, testing, and refining using materials identified in 1 and compare their thermal and structural capabilities with imported alternatives and building standard requirements.
3. exploring the potential for enhancing thermal functionality for next generation bio-composites using phase-change materials (PCMs), liaising with Trinity College Dublin.
4. developing validated numerical models to assess the viability for use in complex modular scenarios using Finite Element modelling software.
Minimum 2.1 in Level 8 Degree in Material Science or Civil / Structural / Mechanical Engineering or similar
Masters Level 9 in the above
Very good/excellent English IELTS 6.5 equivalent or above.
Experience doing laboratory work.
Good interpersonal and mathematical skills.
Knowledge of circular materials, the construction industry and finite element analysis or other numerical