Mélanie Horvath
PhD student
Architect, at UCL (LOCI), in 2019

Main project: Development of a sustainable building composite material with high reuse or recycling potential
Funding: FRIA/FNRS
Supervisor(s): Thomas Pardoen

The construction sector is one of the most energy consuming in terms of resource and energy, waste production and greenhouse gas emissions.  In this field, the waste recycling rate is low and leads to severe environmental impacts, in addition to those caused by the production of materials. New construction technologies are constantly developing, encouraged by the EU and Belgium, such as (i) eco-construction, which is more sustainable and responsible, (ii) new materials derived from bio-based raw materials with less energy-consuming production, and (iii) the integration of the concept of circularity by extending the life cycle of materials to multiple uses rather than just on and using waste in new production cycles.

The project fits into this context to respond to current ecological challenges by developing new circular and sustainable building materials. Research will focus on composite materials made, especially, from recycled fibers. The approach will combine a rational material selection procedure, processing, characterization of microstructures, evaluation of properties and modeling, with the target to reach enhanced environmental performance indices under architectural constraints. The relationship between composition, structure and properties of these new materials involves many scientific questions. A preliminary master thesis work has already shown the energy-efficient nature of the manufacture of these materials and their excellent potential in terms of insulation, fire resistance and mechanical resistance for materials which contain a proportion of paper fibers greater than 50%, it’s a majority of recycled materials in its composition.

IMMC main research direction(s):
Civil and environmental engineering
Processing and characterisation of materials

hybrid and architectured materials
life cycle assessment

Research group(s): IMAP
Collaborations: Sophie Trachte (LOCI)