Behaviour and Design of High Performance Low Density Aircrete Products

Project Partners: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Kingston University, Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Products Association Ltd. (AACP), Catnic, Corus UK Ltd. National House-Building Council. (NHBC)

Project Brief: This research project picks up on the need to adjust UK design procedures to reflect developments in the structural Eurocode 6 and the supporting CEN TC 125 standards. There is a particular opportunity to achieve a significant improvement in productivity by exploiting the use of wider low-density aircrete masonry walls. The practice of using such walls has been developed in Europe but it must be recognised that there are some important differences in construction practice (e.g. the inner leaf is very much thicker or solid walls are used). There are clearly opportunities for improvements in productivity by using such low strength walls but these will only occur if the overall structural approach is approved for UK conditions.

The efficiency of construction is improved by providing units that are easily manhandled and readily cut, shaped and chased. There is also the potential for simplified external wall constructions, which address several of the key aspects of “Rethinking Construction”

As well as addressing the key economic aim of making dwelling and building construction more profitable, low strength units provide a high level of thermal insulation. This, in turn, will assist in meeting the proposed changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, thereby addressing the key environmental need to reduce the consumption of carbon based energy. The fact that these units have a very low density (typically 350kg/m3), have a high air content and often contain industrial by-products such as pulverised fuel ash, also addresses the environmental need to preserve natural resources which would otherwise be consumed by denser products.

The principal objective of the proposed work is to create further value-added outlets for exploiting the environmentally friendly and beneficial properties of high performance low-density aircrete in dwellings in the UK.

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