Image composite construction

Building construction and operation consumes huge amounts of resources and energy – thus making structures more efficient and sustainable is a central issue in civil and construction engineering. New composite constructions from various materials have hence been invented over the last decades. The beneficial mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced or timber beams in structures are often severely restricted by their connecting joints. This project will examine new approaches for better performing joints for composite materials. The research will focus on the development of reversible connection systems for “actively bent” structures.

Questions and content

Fiber composites, such as fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP), carbon fiber, natural fiber reinforced plastics (NFRPs) and wood, can be used to create very slender structural elements. Due to their mechanical properties, they are interesting well beyond known applications in truss systems. Another potential lies in their uses in the new group of the actively bent structural systems (e.g. prestressed grid shells). Across applications, restrictions on structural efficiency and strength of global structures occur due to a lack in effective force transfer within the connections themselves. The reversible joint concepts used thus far have been based mostly on modified applications for structural steel connections, which are hardly suitable for anisotropic and highly nonlinear material behavior.

Developing new ways of connecting these materials especially requires a holistic approach that takes into account not only force transfer, but also the relevant manufacturing and assembly processes, as well as long-term behavior of the structures, materials and joints. The project aims at researching the engineering properties and development of novel and material-friendly jointing concepts for natural-fiber-reinforced plastic profiles in order to foster innovative ways of thinking within construction culture and alternative construction methods with this renewable, highly viable, durable and freely formable material.

Benefits and target group

The project’s aim is to foster the use of fiber-reinforced composites, especially synthetic (FRP) and natural fiber reinforced plastics (NFRPs) for load-bearing structures in the built environment. Actively bent structural elements and systems will provide the thematic context for the development of the connections in this research topic. The main target audience for this project are material engineers, load-structure planners and architects. “FibeCast” will provide them with the basics to work with fiber-reinforced plastic profiles in an economic, sustainable and safe way.

Support from the Hybrid Plattform

The Hybrid Plattform is supporting the team with access to internal university resources and project communications.

Image composite construction © Chair for Conceptual and Structural Design – Composite Structures, TU Berlin