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InnoRenew CoE researchers in Switzerland

InnoRenew CoE researchers (Dr Andreja Kutnar, Dr Iztok Šušteršič, Dr Anna Sandak, Dr Jakub Sandak, Dr Michael Mrissa, Dr Rok Prislan and Aarne Niemelä) visited Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, 10-11 February 2020.

On the first day, they visited Empa’s NEST (Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies) building, introduced by professor Ingo Burgert. According to Empa’s website, “NEST is the modular research and innovation building of Empa … [where] new technologies, materials and systems are tested, researched, further developed and validated under real conditions.”

During the second day, they spent time at ETH Zurich where Dr Claude Leyder introduced them to the Institute of Structural Engineering and House of Natural Resources (HoNR). According to ETH Zurich’s website, HoNR is a project whose mission is “the development, implementation and in-situ monitoring of innovative structural elements made of wood at original scale, including post-tensioned timber frames and timber-concrete hybrid floors made of beech wood.”

HoNR houses ETH Zurich’s Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Glaciology. The monitoring system has recorded data from the building over a period of several years, and researchers have used this data to quantify the timber structure’s long-term behaviour. Similar research will be performed in the new InnoRenew CoE building, making this visit and exchange of experiences regarding long-term structural health monitoring particularly useful.

The visit ended with a tour of the laboratories of Wood Materials Science, which is a group led by professor Ingo Burgert that focuses on biomimetic and chemical modification of wood and wood-based materials.