Université Paris-Est
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Home page > Research Teams > Architected Materials and Structures (AMS) > Composites for construction

Innovative constructive systems and composites

Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymers (GFRP’s) may be an alternative for structural engineering constructions. Their small weight, their high strength and good thermal properties are quite attractive properties. Nevertheless, they are less rigid than steel and consequently a different design philosophy has to be followed. In order to encourage the use of composite materials in civil structural applications, MSA develops innovative architectural solutions and methodologies that optimize the use of GFRP’s in constructions. MSA participates also at scale:1 realisations

GFRP curtain wall

Given the new and future thermal building rules and standards, composite materials obviously have a major role to play. In 2012, MSA has participated in the design of a prototype curtain wall made of pultruded fiberglass. The COFAHE project was funded by ADEME, piloted by the CSTB, and integrated several industrial partners. A JEC Award was obtained for this innovation.

Elastic composite structures

The flexibility of GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastics) is too often seen as a weakness, the flexibility of GFRP is instead a source of innovation. We work in two directions:

- The flexible material in the service of structural rigidity
- The shape for the optimization of the performance

Several structural principles are proposed for coverage type "grid shell" and footbridges composites.

  • The grid shells, as the name indicates, are structures made of grids generating discrete shells. They offer an important freedom of shape for the designer. MSA is particularly involved in Elastic gridshells generated thanks to elastic deformations. This process is tailor made for the use of composite materials. MSA offers original techniques for the erection of such structures that are subject to high rotations. It also develops numerical tools for their design.
    The target applications are lightweight roofs, but also « skins» for building aiming at improving their surface, for instance to increase their surface for capting renewable energies.

Several prototypes have been studied and achieved since 2007. Among them, the most accomplished has been constructed in 2013 and was called ephemeral cathedral of Creteil. The design and the construction of this cathedral have been supervised by the design company T.E.S.S in collaboration with MSA.
In this field, the research works mainly deal with mechanical analysis and the meshing of complex shapes of this kind of structures.

  • Several concepts of composite footbridge using the ability of composite material to deform are also in development. This research work has lead to the construction of a few prototypes and to publications. In particular the use of pre-stress to stiffen footbridges was investigated (footbridge "Bow String for Real" – bridge 3 supports using initial pre-bending).

Some illustrations and video...

- The Cathédrale éphémère de Créteil (2013) Vidéo du montage
(Production : images d’écoutes, Réalisation : Denis Victot)

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Cathédrale éphémère de Créteil, outdoor view
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Catholic Mass, 19/01/14 (Image, "Le jour du Seigneur")
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Cathédrale éphémère de Créteil
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cathédrale éphémère de Créteil

- The "Forum", Solidays festival juin 2011 (video du montage ici )

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A 500 m2 composite gridshell for Solidays Festival ( june 2011)

- Footbridge concepts

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Bow String for Real, Pre-stressed GFRP footbridge
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Force Density Method and optimisation of the "bowstring for real" geometry.
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Prestressed sandwich footbridge (COBRAE symposium 2011)

- Curtain wall COFAHE

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GFRP curtain wall (COFAHE project) in test.

Some free of copyright documents ...

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A.S. Jülich, J.F. Caron and O. Baverel, 2005. Cable Structure with Load-Adapting Geometry, Composites in Construction 2005 – Third International Conference, Lyon, France, July 11 – 13, 2005.
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C. Douthe, O. Baverel, J.-F. Caron, 2006. Form-Finding of a Grid Shell in Composite Materials, Journal of the International Association for Shell Structures: IASS, 47, n. 150, 53-62.