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On 16 February 2012 in Tunis, the Rivesud company organised its first forum dedicated to composite materials in the building industry, where it presented the UN.CO² (UNlimited COmposites) project, for houses made of composite materials.
In the presence of Mr Mohamed Lamine Chakhari, the Tunisian Minister for Trade and Industry, and before an international audience of investors, real estate developers and stakeholders in the composite materials sector, the technical and economic prospects for these new building materials, currently being deployed in Tunisia, were explained.
"The purpose of the UN.CO² project is to develop a self-supporting sandwich composite material incorporating a polyurethane core, and a glass fibre-reinforced epoxy resin matrix, that can be used on an industrial scale in the building industry, whatever the environmental conditions," declared Mr Patrick Fajolles, General Manager of Rivesud, and initiator of the UN.CO² project.
The key benefits of these new materials include:- Self-supporting panels requiring no metallic structure or heavy foundation- Good thermal, acoustic, chemical and FST properties- High mechanical strength (1,300kg/m² for an 80mm core)- Low weight: 10kg/m²- Fast construction: 1 house can be built in 3 days- Portability: 1 container can carry three 90m² houses
After two years of research and development in partnership with the German Group, Krauss Maffei, the first industrial production site is set to be built in June, on the Enfidha site, where 6 hectares have already been set aside by the Rivesud Group. The first panels will be produced in September, at a production rate of over 750,000 m² per year.
Rivesud plans to organise a visit to this first production site in order to present the prototypes of these 21st-century buildings. These new materials meet the architectural and cost imperatives, as well as those arising from the physical constraints, availability of technical skills or speed of execution, that are associated with emergency reconstruction projects, or building projects for fragile States, for social housing, for housing in at-risk environments, or for floating homes.
"In these times of multiple crises – social, housing, energy, or linked to recurrent natural catastrophes – the objective is to propose a technological alternative that is suited to the needs and building resources of populations, in line with their geographic or cultural specificities," concluded Mr Fajolles.
Picture: Project of floating home using Rivesud composite materials