STM/UNIPG is part of the consortium of the European project HIFIVENT. The project is supported by the European commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7, SME-2013, GA: 605891) and started in October 2013 and is scheduled to finalize in March 2016. The project emerged as a business opportunity for the development of a new ventilated façade system (outdoor building envelop) based on high durability wood polymer composites (WPC) that improve the performance and solve the problems associated with the currently used materials (aluminum, stone, ceramic and wood).The consortium shows a correct balance covering the entire value chain of the product from the manufacturers of raw materials to the end user:
- 5 complementary SMEs. BAVE (DE), Wood fibers and agricultural residues. PROLABIN (IT) Flame retardant nanoparticles manufacturer. BEOLOGIC (BE) WPC compounder. ESCANERO (SP) plastic manufacturer. UXAMA (SP) façade manufacturer,
- 3 RTDs experts in: TECNALIA (SP) cellulosic fibers modification, processing and testing of WPCs and ventilated façade design. WKI-FRAUNHOFER (DE), WPCs based on long fibers. UNIV. PERUGIA (IT) biocomposites and nanoparticles modification.
Main focus of the project
Nowadays major activity in the construction sector in Europe is retrofitting, representing the 42% of existing buildings and making up about 75% of the building stock in 2050. Most of these activities are linked to ageing of the façades and solving of insulation problems, where the Ventilated façades are considered as one of the most efficient systems. Current systems present disadvantages related to corrosion, environmental impact (aluminum), recyclability, size and weight (ceramic, stone…).
An environmental-friendly solution, overcoming all the mentioned drawbacks and with natural aesthetic appeal is wood, but the material lacks the necessary durability for outdoor exposition. This drawback can be addressed by new technological materials which incorporate wood in a high per cent, combining it with polymers (Wood Polymer Composites/WPCs). WPCs offer better thermal and acoustic isolation than aluminum, and better durability than wood. However it can be stated that although durability is highly increased, it continues being the main problem. When using WPCs as building components another problem arising is their poor fire performance. HIFIVENT aims the development of a WPC based ventilated façade addressing the following issues:
- Improve weathering properties by fiber hydrophobation.
- Use of nanotechnology to improve mechanical and fire properties. Goal of Euroclass B-s3,d0 fire performance (halogen free systems).
- Improve mechanical performance by using long fibers for structural parts