The Interdisciplinary Research Center for Construction and Building Materials (IRC-CBM) has been recently established to conduct interdisciplinary research projects in the field of engineering and sciences with the objective to design, analysis, and optimization for the development of construction and building materials for local industry and society for socio-economic development in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The main target is to develop materials that are compatible with the aggressive environmental conditions of the Kingdom, energy-efficient, and environment friendly.
The current building and construction materials consume significant energy and emit tremendous greenhouse gases during production. With the current restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, there is an urgent need to develop energy-efficient and environment-friendly construction and building materials. For efficient and progressive implementation, the Center will work towards the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.
The Center will focus its research on developing sustainable and environment-friendly materials, composite materials, materials, and systems for corrosion prevention, energy-efficient materials, and systems, smart construction materials, non-metallic materials, innovative inspection techniques, health monitoring of structures, modeling the behavior of materials, using machine learning and artificial intelligence and 3D printing of concrete. The Center will also consider developing other construction materials suitable for the local environment, such as asphalt, insulation, coatings, glass, etc.
Some of the issues this Center will tackle include a multidisciplinary approach in the development of a wide variety of specialty areas, including sustainable construction systems/materials for severe conditions; use of advanced techniques for assessment of materials and in-situ inspection (buildings, bridges, highways, airports, etc.); use of machine learning and artificial intelligence; use of innovative digital manufacturing techniques; developing reliable non-destructive techniques for the assessment of structures; CO2-related climate change concerns; eco-friendly recycling of domestic and industrial plastic waste for local asphalt, concrete, and blocks; carbon-negative concrete and blocks; concrete rechargeable batteries; functionally graded materials with nanocomposite structures; predicting carbon emission levels from the existing building industry; and developing a renovation framework to turn them into green buildings using a data mining approach. The Center will utilize the services of multidisciplinary research teams’ talent available in the University to overcome the challenges and achieve the objectives set for the Center.
IRC-CBM is expected to be the Center of research excellence in the area of construction and Building materials. With the establishment of this IRC, the efforts of its affiliates will be channelized to produce high-quality research useful for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is hoped that this interdisciplinary research center will strive to develop new construction and building materials and systems using state-of-the-art technologies to attain energy efficiency and help reduce the carbon footprint while also making a positive economic impact on the Kingdom. It is expected that the affiliates of the Center will offer multidisciplinary academic and short courses on related topics at undergraduate and graduate levels. High-impact publications and citations emanating from the research work will enhance the research and world ranking of the University.