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Research Laboratory

Efficiency and performance of materials

The objective is to develop alternative materials from recycled resources (natural fibres, recycled aggregates, shells, earth, etc.) that meet specific technical specifications. This theme is based on the microstructure-physical-mechanical and energy correlations of cementitious materials and composites. In particular, the study of the influence of the microstructure (porous, crystalline and chemical composition) on the physical-mechanical, energetic and geotechnical properties of construction materials.

Sustainability of materials in their environments

This theme focuses on the behaviour of cementitious materials and alternative materials in the marine environment. The objective is to understand the mechanisms involved in the durability and deterioration of cementitious materials in the presence of biofilms and marine micro-organisms.

The research team's competences are focused on the following areas

  • Physical, mechanical, geotechnical, chemical and hygrothermal behaviour of new materials: bio-based materials and low-carbon materials and binders (bauge (earth-fibre), concrete based on plant fibres (flax, coconut fibres), recycled aggregates, draining pavement based on marine shells...)
  • Optimisation of formulations and microstructure-behaviour correlation
  • Multifunctional materials: bio-receptive concrete, porous concrete, etc.
  • Bio-deterioration and durability of concrete in a marine environment in the presence of micro-organisms.

Human resources

The human resources of the Research Laboratory are composed (as of 06/2021) of 10 lecturers, including 3 HDRs, 1 laboratory technician, a collaborative project management unit (1 project manager and 1 R&D engineer), 4 post-doctoral students and 10 doctoral students.

The technical means

The technical resources consist of several pieces of scientific and technical equipment acquired as part of the extension of ESITC Caen, for a total of approximately €1.5 million. This equipment concerns the following fields

  • Study of the mechanical behaviour of materials: preparation of specimens, compression and flexion presses, etc.
  • Study of the behaviour of soils: 50kN CBR press, 10kN triaxial press, shear test, automatic oedometer, tests on aggregates and sawing of specimens, absorption/desorption, soil treatment, etc.
  • Study of the durability of concrete: carbonation, chloride diffusion, colonisation and biodeterioration tests, Cembureau gas permeability meter, concrete grinding machine, mixer rheology, etc.
  • Construction prototypes: making and handling of construction prototypes, walls, paving stones, breeze blocks, bricks, etc.
  • Study of materials in controlled environments: environmental control and conditioning chambers in addition to 4 climatic rooms (RH and T°) for testing materials and construction devices on a scale of 1.

All the equipment is spread over several rooms (1500 m²): Environmental Geotechnics Room, Concrete/Cementitious Materials Room, Chemistry/Environment Laboratory, Test Hall and Climatic Rooms.