RL5 – Civil Engineering

The Building Materials and Constructions group – Civil Engineering Department –  aims to generate advanced knowledge through fundamental and application-oriented research on durable and sustainable building materials, structural components and construction, contributing to new, existing and heritage structures with low environmental impact, structural resilience and improved service life. 4D-XCT is invaluable to study internal degradation processes, such as corrosion of reinforcement steel in concrete, crack formation in sandstone, brick-mortar interaction in masonry, and progressive micro-fracture under fatigue and creep loading. 4D visualized information on the micro-structural material level is applied to validate damage monitoring techniques, such as Acoustic Emission (AE) source detection and clustering, and upscaled towards the structural level.


XCT @ Transport in Porous Materials research group (Department of Civil Engineering, KU Leuven)

XCT provides 3D information on the pore structure of building materials, which can subsequently be used to determine thermal and/or hygric properties of these materials.  The characterisations shown below concern a mineral insulation material consisting of fused porous particles (a), characterized by a bimodal pore structure (b).  XCT with two different resolutions is hence applied to visualize the inter- and intragranular structures (slices in c and d, renders in e and f).  These form the foundations for our pore-scale-based predic­tions of thermal and hygric properties of building materials.

For the thermal conductivity, the solid and pore fractions in the pore structures are discretized via the finite-element method, to finally allow the calculation of the thermal conduction through the bi-phasic structure.  For the hygric properties, a pore network model is extracted from the pore structure image, and the macroscopic moisture storage and transport properties are derived from the hygric phenome­na occurring at the pore scale.


RL5 Team