ISMR May 2023 | Page 18


Steel Hub completes thermal bridging project

The Steel Research Hub has completed its first research project . The project entitled ‘ Thermal Bridging by Ceiling Frame Members ,’ brought together the National Association of Steel-Framed Housing Inc . ( NASH ) and the University of Wollongong ( UOW ) team from the Sustainable Building Research Centre ( SBRC ) in Australia . The aim was to investigate heat transfer and fluid dynamics processes in residential roofs , to determine the extent of ‘ thermal bridging ’ caused by frame members ( cold formed steel versus timber ) in the ceilings of residential buildings .
NASH represents the interests of steel frame fabricators for housing and lowrise framed construction as well as their customers and suppliers . Their members include specialist steel frame fabricators , builders and suppliers of products and services to the industry .
The primary aim of this project was to demonstrate how typical ceiling batt insulation products interface with , and fit
Western University building at University of Wollongong , Australia .
around , steel and timber frame members . Computational fluid dynamics ( CFD ) simulations were used to produce highfidelity , physics-based models of heat transfer and air flow in roof spaces . Laboratory tests were undertaken to demonstrate how typical ceiling insulation batts interact with steel and timber ceiling frame members .
The impact of partial and complete ‘ encapsulation ’ of frame members by insulation batts on the overall thermal resistance of ceilings was investigated , together with the impacts of steel frame base metal thickness , insulation batt thickness and ceiling battens .
“ Findings from the project have implications for how new buildings are designed in Australia . Calculations used to determine the quantity of insulation needed in ceilings and roofs of new buildings were evaluated , and improved calculation methods were proposed . The findings from the project have also been utilised by technical committees working on the 2022 update to the Australian National Construction Code , which specifies the minimum standard of new buildings in Australia ,” commented the UOW team .
The UOW research team included project leader and Research Fellow Alan Green ; Senior Professor Paul Cooper ; Associate Research Fellow Steven Beltrame and NASH ’ s Associate Researchers , Mike Kelly and Ken Watson .
The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre ( SBRC ) is a living laboratory . n
. uow . edu . au / sbrc /

Emission-free steel research

The University of Oulu in Finland has received 1.6 million euros to “ expedite the emissionfree steel industry ”. The Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation ’ s significant four-year funding will be allocated to steel research and the promotion of carbon neutrality in the steel industry . The objective is to create a completely emission-free steel mill .
The Advanced Steels for a Green Planet ( AS4G ) project funded by the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation began in January 2023 . The project will focus on processing the end results of an emission-free steel mill and , in particular , the utilisation of side streams and the manufacturing of ultra high-strength steels .
“ It ’ s important to focus research on the themes where emissions can be decreased the most and where the strengthening of expertise creates the most benefits ,” said Jukka Kömi , Professor at the University of Oulu . “ The aim is to enable expertise for a completely emission-free steel mill in 2050 .”
“ In terms of carbon dioxide , achieving an emission-free steel mill in the Nordics will be realistic as early as 2035 . It ’ s also important that future steel mills will not generate waste , but that all created side streams will be utilised as raw material in different sectors ,” added Mirja Illikainen , Dean of the Faculty of Technology and Professor of Inorganic Materials in the Circular Economy at the University of Oulu . “ Slag from current steel production is utilised well , but we still need development for the slag that will be created in carbon-free steel production .”
The carbon dioxide emissions of steel applications can be cut by decreasing and strengthening the steel used in them . Ultra high-strength steel makes structures lighter , which means that moving , for example , trucks , ships and trains requires less fuel . For instance , according to the university , the carbon dioxide emissions of Finland could be cut by up to eight per cent if high-tensile steel was used in trucks .
“ We study and review , on an atomic level , how high-strength steel works ,” Kömi explained . “ We have to know how atoms interact and what makes steel high-tensile . Steel has a lot of impurities , which is why [ we must understand ] exactly what can be alloyed into it to make the end result even stronger .”
The northern research and engineering hub is forging future steel , circular economy and hydrogen – and promoting several sectors from construction to traffic .
“ With basic research , we focus on steel development so that efficient supply chains can be designed for steel mills . Operational excellence must be continuously developed to understand how different grades of steel behave , as the same steel won ’ t work in a wind power plant , a ship and a bridge ,” Kömi described .
The AS4G project is committed to the development of sustainable solutions and
Professor Jukka Kömi , University of Oulu , Finland .
principles of circular economy , which will create new business opportunities for many sectors connected to the steel industry .
“ Slag from steel production often contains plenty of chemical elements that make them interesting alternatives for cement , for example ,” Illikainen explained . After water , concrete is the most used material in the world and the production of its key raw material , cement , is the single largest source of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions . The production of construction materials that preserve the environment offers new competitive advantages for companies .
The development of lightweight steel structures is expedited by the automotive industry , because lighter cars must be strengthened in different ways while ensuring their safety . High-tensile steel is necessary for protecting the heavy batteries of electric cars , and is also needed for the chassis .
In addition , emission-free steel production is being developed with the help of hydrogen innovations . The use of hydrogen as a reductant in steel production could cut Finland ’ s emissions by up to seven per cent . n
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