C: Integrative components

C01 – Sandwich elements with kinematic and building-related physical functionalities

The core topic of project C01 is the maximization of benefits of sandwich application in construction and architecture

To this end, existing but mostly passive structures are converted into multifunctional sandwich elements.

Sandwich structures combine different materials into a new hybrid compound. Because of their advantageous properties they are already an important part in constructive lightweight engineering. They enable the construction of high-performance lightweight shell structures. Sandwich structures currently are divided into two categories: Structural sandwiches primarily fulfill structural tasks, while cover panels are used for design and protective purposes.

In civil engineering and architecture, sandwich panels are widely used as exterior or interior cover elements. Previous and current research shows that sandwich has a much larger potential, which is why C01 looks at two topics of special interest: Active shape change and integration of building-related physical functions. Goal of C01 is the design of innovative sandwich elements with kinematic and physical functionalities.

The following questions are looked at in C01:

  • What potential for shape-change is offered by novel sandwich concepts
  • How can building-related physical functionalities be integrated into sandwich structures?

Shape-changing lightweight sandwich elements can help to reduce the mass of the skin and necessary substructure, and open up new architectural design possibilities. With a micro- to macroscopic shape-change, the building can adapt to changing environmental and structural conditions. Mobile structures with a small number of kinematic degrees of freedom can enable the coordinated and parallel actuation of numerous small surface elements, which in turn influence physical properties like translucence or ventilation.

Kinematically congruent stack of Miura-ori layers (c) IFB
Kinematically congruent stack of Miura-ori layers
Ventilated synclastic sandwich (c) IFB
Ventilated synclastic sandwich
Finite-Element-simulation of a foldcore sandwich structure (c) IFB
Finite-Element-simulation of a foldcore sandwich structure

The integration of building-related physical functionalities represents the second focus in C01. Here, innovative cellular sandwich structures are developed to substitute current passive materials like foams or gypsum fibre board, which are highly problematic with regard to fire resistance, recycling and other ecological and economical aspects uncovered with a life cycle analysis.

The new components are optimized to provide thermal and acoustical insulation, hygric management and lighting functionalities, while avoiding complicated multi-layered constructions that are used in state-of-the-art solutions. A number of concepts to actively influence the thermal and hygric balance of the building are analyzed. Of special interest is the potential of specially designed core structures enabling active fluid transport in structural panels.

The resulting functional sandwich elements will be integrated into the adaptive high-rise building provided by Z01 for demonstration and testing purposes.

HIKE Demonstrator (c) ILEK, Stefan Neuhäuser
HIKE Demonstrator
Inherent channels in a foldcore structure are used for intergration of cabling (c) IFB
Inherent channels in a foldcore structure are used for intergration of cabling

Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Middendorf, Institute of Aircraft Design


Yves  Klett

Yves Klett

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

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