22.5 Million for fire protection research in braunschweig, germany

22.5 Million for fire protection research in braunschweig, germany

The fact that Braunschweig, through the Technical University, not only plays in the upper league in German and European fire protection research, but is even a leader in many areas, is hardly anchored in the public's consciousness. The building was once used for research into the joint behavior of concrete and steel in the event of a fire. Reinforced concrete is currently an indispensable composite material in the construction industry.

The fact that internationally respected fire protection research is being carried out in Braunschweig could, however, become more of a focus in the future. The federal government (8 million euros) and, above all, the state of Lower Saxony, with a cost share of around two-thirds, are now investing a total of 22.49 million euros in a center for fire research on the TU East Campus on Beethovenstrasse.

On Tuesday, in the presence of Science and Culture Minister Bjorn Thumler and Lord Mayor Ulrich Markurth, the groundbreaking ceremony at the site on the northeastern Ringgleis took place. In 2022, the building should be ready for operation and then "hopefully with a big celebration" be handed over to its intended purpose – as minister, OB and the president of the TU, Prof. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, emphasized. Corona police officers kept the required distance during the inspection of the construction site.

"I am convinced. that this investment will be worthwhile in the long term," Thumler. With the new research building and its technical equipment, the TU will be a leader in Europe. Among other things, this will be ensured by two particularly powerful calorimeters, which will enable fire tests to be carried out in an experimental hall on a scale that was previously only feasible in the USA or East Asia. Calorimeters are measuring devices for determining the heat and identifying the fire gases and particles that are generated or released during a fire.

In the future, researchers in Braunschweig will be able to set fire to an up to four-story house facade with insulation made of old or new building materials, a 100-square-meter apartment, and also mobile test objects such as e-cars, buses or streetcars on a trial basis in the hall. It is to be explored how fire develops under certain conditions and how materials behave and change.

Research will focus on the fire behavior of modern building materials, innovative composites made from renewable raw materials, and energy storage systems that will be used in electric vehicles and, in the future, increasingly in households. "We still know very little about the fire behavior of new products for the energy transition," said Professor Jochen Zehfub, head of the fire protection department at the TU Institute for Building Materials, Solid Construction and Fire Protection (iBMB).

"Hazards in extinguishing modern building materials and, for example, electric batteries are also important topics," he added, referring to very good cooperation with the Braunschweig and other fire departments.

At the same time, the smoke hood alone of the largest of a total of four calorimeters is 144 square meters in size. Until now, the iBMB scientists and students have had to make do with an eight-square-meter exhaust hood in their test hall. "The old laboratories will remain and continue to be used, even when the new building is finished," Zehfub explained.

In addition to the experimental hall, the new research building also consists of a two-story measuring room and office wing, including small test rigs for fire research, and a separate hall for a flue gas cleaning system. A flue gas measuring station will be installed on the roof. The North Campus is located in the immediate vicinity of residential areas.

Interdisciplinary research will be the basis of the new center, which, in addition to the iBMB, will also be used regularly by the TU Institute for Particle Research and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research (WKI). The WKI currently reaches with the Center for Light and Environmentally Friendly Buildings (Zeluba) in addition to its headquarters at Bienroder Weg a second location directly next to the now emerging Center for Fire Research. The Fraunhofer Institute will move into its building in the fall of this year.

Other institutions will also cooperate with the three main users, so that in the course of the next two years, the "Center for Fire Protection," with the easy-to-remember abbreviation "ZeBra," will be established as a research cooperation under the direction of the TU. As Zehfub also confirmed, a master's degree course in "Fire Protection" is planned that is unique in Germany to date.

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