Civil Construction is one of the areas addressed at the Construction Research Center (NPC), which was created in 1991 to meet the new demands of modernization and the search for greater competitiveness in response to industrial development. The research center was created with the objective of providing support in the technological development of the construction industry, with an emphasis on product and process quality, maximization of performance and minimization of costs and environmental impact. The NPC acts at the interface between the construction industry and the technological research and development (R&D) activities at UFSC. It works together with other graduate programs offered by the School of Technology at UFSC, including: Civil, Production, Chemical, Materials and Environmental Engineering, along with Knowledge Management and Architecture & Urbanism, bringing together the interdisciplinary skills required for technological innovation in this sector.
The integration of these diverse areas of specialization (Construction, Materials, Production, Processes, Management and Environment) occurred based on changes in the way research in Civil Construction is approached,with the introduction of modern instrumental and methodological techniques in R&D, originating from the area of advanced materials, together with new administrative systems and appropriate management styles.
These research areas have in common the search for materials and processes of higher quality and the development of new perspectives in relation to evaluation, performance and the provision ofsupport for the normalization of materials and components.
Since its creation, the NPC has been working on R&D projects adhering to the above-described vision and in recent years it has been awarded R$ 12,000,000 in funding for investment and human resources development.
The NPC also has a solid tradition in relation to the development of products or processes and the transfer of results and provision of services to the production sector, with financial resources of R$ 6,000,000 being approved in recent years.
The main achievements resulting from our activities are hundreds of papers published in national and international journals, books and national and international conference proceedings,which demonstrate the quality of the work carried out at the NPC. In the past three years alone, twenty-seven A1, A2 and B1 along withforty-eight B2 to B5 papers (based on CAPES’ quality strata) have been published by professors at the center. In addition, fifty master’s thesesand twenty-four doctoral dissertations have been produced, reflecting the high productivity of the group.
The center has fourteen permanent professors, nine of which receive research productivity fellowships from the Brazilian governmental agency CNPq (seven of level 1 and two of level 2). Currently, the Civil Construction area offered by the NPC is considered one of the best three in this area nationwide.
The area of Civil Construction is divided into two main lines of research:
- Environmental Comfort and Energy; and
- Materials and Construction Processes, subdivided into two major themes:
- Construction Management; and
- Construction Materials and Components.
The Environmental Comfort and Energy group is comprised of four permanent researchers (all CNPq researchers) and one collaborator. The group works together with the laboratories of Energy Efficiency in Buildings (Civil Engineering), Environmental Comfort (Architecture) and Porous Media and Thermo-Physical Properties (Mechanical Engineering). The activities of the research group are dedicated to the study of comfort and thermal, acoustic and visual performance, along with energy efficiency in buildings, rational use of water and renewable energy sources. The researchers in the areas of Environmental Comfort and Energy maintain partnerships with several Brazilian universities (USP, UFRGS, UNICAMP, UFAL) as well as universities abroad, including the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory at the University of Berkeley, USA (several researchers), University of Nottingham, UK (Prof. Brian Ford), London Architectural Association, UK (Prof. Simos Yannas), University of Athens, Greece (Prof. Mat Santamouris), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA (Dr. Bolkovon Roedern), Arizona State University, USA (Prof. G. Mani), Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE), Freiburg/Germany (Prof. Joachim Luther), and University of Western Australia, Perth/Australia.
The Construction Management group (GestCon) is comprised of two permanent researchers and they work together with companies acting in the area of Civil Construction. The group activities are dedicated to the study of construction management, ecodesign, planning, design and control of production systems, construction quality and the training of skilled labor. The researchers in Construction Management maintain partnerships with several Brazilian universities (UFRGS, UFAL, UEM, UEL, UFPA, UFPR, UNIOESTE, UNOCHAPECÓ) as well as universities abroad, including Teesside University, UK (Prof. Nashwan Dawood) and University of Alberta, Canada (Prof. Simaan AbouRizk).
The Construction Materials and Components group is comprised of six permanent researchers and one visiting researcher (all CNPq researchers), who carry out their work in association with the Civil Construction Materials Laboratory. Their activities are dedicated to the study of agglomerates which offer an alternative to Portland cement, the recycling of wastes, mortars and special concretes (including sprayed concrete, fiber-reinforced concrete, high-performance concrete, self-compacting concrete and low shrinkage concrete), the technology of chemical additives for concrete and mortar, cement-polymer composites, the development of components and systems for masonry construction, building durability, and nanoscience and nanotechnology of cement and its compounds. In general, the research approach has been based on materials science.
The researchers in the Construction Materials and Components group maintain partnerships with the Structural Experimentation Laboratory, the Materials Laboratory – LabMat (thermal analyses), the Microstructural Characterization Laboratory (scanning electronic microscopy and X-ray diffractometry), the Porous Media and Thermophysical Properties Laboratory (mercury intrusion porosimetry and specific surface area measurements), the Department of Physics (atomic force microscopy) and the Chemical Analysis Center (infrared and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry), all at UFSC, along with the Microstructure Laboratory at the Polytechnic School of the Universidade de São Paulo – USP (squeeze-flow rheometer) and the Nanomechanical Properties of Surfaces and Thin Films Laboratory of the Universidade Federal do Paraná – UFPR (nanoindentation). The team also maintains partnerships with research laboratories at the University of Berkeley, USA (Prof. Paulo Monteiro), University of Edinburgh, UK (Prof. Braj Sinha), Loughborough University, UK (Prof. Simon Austin), University of Minho, Portugal (Prof. Paulo Lourenço), National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), Lyon/France (Prof. Jean Pera), National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), Toulouse/France (Prof. Gilles Escadeillas and Prof. Martin Cyr) and the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris (ESPCI Paris), Paris/France (Prof. Henri van Damme).
In addition to the PPGEC infrastructure, the master’s and doctoral degree students in the area of Civil Constructioncarry out their research at the Construction Research Center (NPC), which currently has 912 m² of space distributed among the following laboratories associated with the lines of research addressed in the area:
Energy Efficiency Laboratory – LabEEE (72 m²)
Center of Reference and Information on Housing – INFOHAB (20 m²)
Laboratory of Waste Valorization – ValoRes (35 m²)
Masonry Systems Development Group – GDA (35 m²)
Technology in Portland Cement-based Materials and Components Group – GTEC (35 m²)
Construction Management Laboratory – GestCon (45 m²)
Civil Construction Materials Laboratory (340 m²)
Nanotechnology Applications in Civil Construction Laboratory – NANOTEC-Lab (35 m²)
Environmental Comfort Laboratory – Architecture and Urbanism (30 m²)
Vibrations and Acoustics Laboratory – Mechanical Engineering (300 m²)