The aim of the Action is
- to standardise the material and structural testing and analysis approaches within Europe, to inform the design of safer and more efficient structures,
- to harmonise the research on membrane and foil structural skins,
- to collate harmonised data and tools on energy performance and Life Cycle Analysis and
- to stimulate and deliver innovation and development of new structural skin products, adaptable systems and durable applications in the urban environment.
Five Strategic Research Clusters are defined that focus on innovation, sustainability, energy efficiency, material analysis and standardisation of novel structural skins.
- Differences in approach and methods can be identified and discussed by bringing together researchers working on the same topics and issues and in related areas. Nowadays, engineers and architects in the academic and industrial field use different analysis tools (sometimes developed by themselves) and interpret the results in different ways. It is the objective to contribute intensively to the creation of uniform directives and design rules (Eurocodes) and provide essential input for CEN TC248 WG4 (Coated fabrics) and CEN TC250 WG5 (Membrane Structures).
- In addition, the current fragmentation of the conducted research impedes innovation. By stimulating networking and collaboration on specific topics between partners with complementary knowledge and expertise and by a more systematic approach to the dissemination of research results, innovative and sustainable developments will emerge. To give an example: by connecting participants working on photovoltaic films with researchers specialised in the manufacturing of membrane material and foils, it is the goal to stimulate and enhance the development of novel membrane / foil materials that can be used to harvest solar energy. It is the goal, whenever possible, to initiate patent applications.
- Another objective is to generate a number of new collaborative research project ideas between participants of the Action: at least one new proposal per Strategic Research Cluster will be submitted.
- Lastly, specific knowledge with regard to the design, analysis, manufacturing and installation of tensioned membrane, foil constructions and structural skins will be communicated and elucidated by the different participants through seminars and workshops. The development of a state-of-the-art guidance/educational pack will facilitate the broad distribution of the knowledge to the designers and engineers of tomorrow. This will not only ensure the development of novel and safe structural skins, but also widen the range of better and sustainable applications, for new as well as for renovated buildings and the (re-)development of urban spaces.