The COST ACTION TU1303 meeting on “Novel Structural Skins” was organized in Milan, Italy on 16 and 17th March’ 2016. The meeting took place at the Politecnico di Milano. The main aim of this particular COST Action is to harmonize the research and development activities on architectural membranes and foils, to standardize testing and analysis techniques within Europe and to promote developments towards new and energy efficient structural membrane products for application in the urban environment. These objectives are achieved through networking between partners and mobility of the researchers. Therefore, COST Action provides supports and funds for networking activities, such as meetings, training schools, short term scientific missions, conferences, etc., although it does not provide funds for research and development.

To respond to the several essential factors related to climate change, energy, and workplace health and well-being, the application of light-weight textile membranes in the urban built environment is growing rapidly. Development of new multi-functional building skins is being possible through advances in multi- multi-disciplinary technologies led by European organizations, universities, companies, and SMEs, with skills on advanced materials, analysis tools and building skin designing. COST Action establishes a platform to bring together the skills of the researchers, academics, architects, engineers, contractors, asset owners, and policy makers to come up with new concepts, products and applications.

COST ACTION TU1303’s activities are managed by five working groups, namely WG1 (New applications, coordinated by Lars De Laet & Tim Ibell), WG 2 (Sustainability and Life Cycle Analysis, coordinated by Alessandra Zanelli & Jan Cremers), WG 3 (Building Physics and Energy Performance, coordinated by Monika Rychtarikova & John Chilton), WG4 (Materials and Analysis, coordinated by Natalie Stranghöner & Peter Gosling) and WG 5 (Marijke Mollaert & Jean-Christophe Thomas). Fibrenamics is participating in WG 4 related to innovations in materials for structural skins. In this recent COST Action meeting held in Milan, Prof. Maurizio Gaudagnini from University of Sheffield, UK delivered a lecture on the “Progress of composites in construction”, which is under the COST Action TU1207 and Prof. Marco Perino from University of Turin, Italy presented about the progress of COST Action TU1403 on “Component performance and characterization methods of adaptive facades”. The aim of these keynote lectures was to exchange ideas between the members of different COST Actions related to light-weight construction. In addition, advancement in “ETFE technology for the indoor comfort” was discussed by Dr. Carl Maywald (Vector Foiltec, Germany) and Prof. Christoph Gengnagel from UdK Berlin, Germany delivered a lecture on “Hybrid Skins – New Structural Concepts for Architectural Membranes”. Apart from these keynote lectures, each work group discussed the progress of the tasks, which were defined in the previous meeting. In WG 4, the progress of the work being carried out at Newcastle University, UK on the bi-axial testing of textile fabrics and their modelling were presented. Prof. Peter Gosling from Newcastle University discussed about the “The Key”, which is a revolutionary ‘building as a lab’, and is the first fabric structure to be used as a heated work space in the UK. “The Key” is a large-scale research facility with detailed environmental and structural monitoring and is the outcome of 15 years’ world-leading research on fabric structures at Newcastle University. He also presented the results of round robin exercises on bi-axial testing of fabrics. A new concept of solar energy, zero emission and material saving buildings through the use of water was presented by Renee Wansdronk from Delft University. One important part of this meeting was to discuss about the next project proposal to be prepared for submission to European Training Networks (ETN) call of H2020 in the beginning of 2017. The status of the coming TensiNet/COST TU1303 Symposium to be held on 26 – 28 October 2016 at Newcastle University was also discussed.

The involvement of Fibrenamics was very important in this COST meeting due to its expertise on fibrous materials and composites. The exchange of its knowledge and ideas on advanced fibrous structures and multi-functional coatings (for sensing, energy harvesting, and so on) with other partners can be highly useful to achieve the target of this particular COST Action. On the other hand, this meeting was a great opportunity for Fibrenamics to know about the progress on design and analysis of structural skins and the current demands of the architectural sector. This will help Fibrenamics to better understand the requirements of this sector in terms of materials and properties of textile membranes, in order to orient its research and development activities to address these demands.

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Ação COST TU1303