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Research Laboratory

The ESITC Research Laboratory is the 'Joint Research Laboratory' of the 3 ESITCs (Caen, Metz and Paris). Its research activity is focused on construction materials with two main axes :

Material efficiency and performance 

The aim is to develop alternative materials from recycled resources (natural fibres, recycled aggregates, shells, earth, etc.) that meet technical specifications. This theme is based on the microstructure-physical-mechanical behaviour 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 physico-mechanical, energetic and geotechnical properties of building materials.

Durability of materials in their environments 

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

These scientific themes serve as a basis for designing, developing, testing and specifying the technical and environmental performance of new materials in four areas:

  • Materials for Environmental Geotechnics
  • Materials for Eco-Construction 
  • Materials for Energy Efficiency in Buildings
  • Materials for Maritime Infrastructures

The human resources of the Joint Research Laboratory consist (as of 09/2019) of : 3 researchers accredited to supervise research, 8 university lecturers and researchers, 1 laboratory technician, a project management unit (1 project manager and 1 R&D Engineer), 2 post-doctoral students and 7 PhD students.

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

  • Study of the mechanical behaviour of materials: manufacture of specimens, compression presses, bending, etc.
  • Study of soil behaviour: shear test, automatic oedometer, tests on aggregates and sawing of specimens, absorption/desorption, soil treatment...
  • Study of the durability of concrete: carbonation, chloride diffusion, colonisation and biodeterioration tests, Cembureau gas permeability meter, concrete grinder, mixer rheology, etc...
  • Construction prototypes: making and handling of construction prototypes, walls, stones, blocks, bricks...
  • Study of materials in controlled environments: Control and conditioning rooms which complement 4 heating and ventilation rooms allowing the test of materials and devices on a real scale.

In addition, chemistry laboratory equipment is also available, namely : Gas chromato system, UV-visible spectro, Polarograph, Water clarification device, Column leaching device and vacuum filtration.

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

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