The development of new materials with extremely good fire-resistant qualities is very important and should help to prevent fire disasters. The project “Fire safety of innovative geopolymer-based building materials” under supervision of Professor Jos Brouwers and assistant professor Qingliang Yu from TU/e, aims at developing an eco-friendly inorganic geopolymeric binder for concretes and coatings, based on an alternative silica source, and with an excellent fire resistance. The research will also examine the extent to which industrial waste, such as fly ash as a raw material, can be used for the production of concrete elements.

An important feature of geopolymers is that they have an unprecedentedly high fire resistance. Concrete from normal cement weakens steadily above 500 degrees, geopolymer by contrast keeps its strength much longer, partly because it spalls much less. In addition, more CO2 is released during the production of ordinary cement than during the production of geopolymers. For comparable applications, total CO2 emissions are 20 to 70 percent lower for geopolymer based products.

The project will provide the material producers with information on the products performance under different fire exposure conditions, which is now lacking. Moreover, the research will provide the fire brigades with missing information on the fire behaviour in modern buildings equipped with various composite materials, and will enable them to further introduce new fire safety doctrines and the choice of appropriate intervention strategies.

The research will be conducted at the Eindhoven University of Technology, in collaboration with the Dutch Fire Department and the companies Rockwool, Mineralz, Kijlstra Beton and Nieman. The project is funded by NWO Applied and Engineering Sciences (TTW).