„Winding” houses instead of building
Innovative fiber technology could revolutionize building construction
- Unique combination of aesthetics, strength and sustainability
- Significantly lower material use than in steel and concrete construction
- Substantial reduction in CO2 emissions
- Natural fibers such as flax are also suitable
- Polyurethane resin from Covestro provides strength and durability
With the Texoversum, Reutlingen University has put into operation a training and innovation center for the textile industry that is unique in Europe. The almost 2,000 square meter textile-like façade of the new building also causes a sensation architecturally: It charmingly combines the innovative power of this industry with the 160-year tradition of Reutlingen as a textile location. The highlight: The components were wound from fibers that are fixed with a special plastic resin.
The façade of the Texoversum is just one example of a brand new technology that could completely revolutionize the construction industry. The sophisticated structure was designed on the computer and is based on carbon fibers wound by robots. Similar to networks in nature, for example in spider webs, beetle wings or palm leaves, the fiber structures are also very lightweight, but at the same time highly resilient, and require very little material. This not only saves resources, but also facilitates transport and assembly of the components.
The co-inventor of the innovative technology is architect Prof. Moritz Dörstelmann, whose company FibR also realized the façade of the Texoversum: "In contrast to conventional steel and concrete structures, we are able to get by with a minimum of material, because the robots only process as many fibers as are needed for the strength of the respective structure. As a result, we also save large amounts of CO₂ emissions." Dörstelmann also sees advantageous applications for the technology in roof structures, supports and, not least, interior fittings.
The necessary strength and durability of the composite is provided by Covestro's aliphatic polyurethane resin system Desmocomp®, in which the fibers are embedded as if in a matrix. "The resin is highly resistant to weathering and the sun's high-energy UV radiation, making it very suitable for outdoor applications," explains Pejman Norastehfar, architect and specialist for construction applications in Covestro's Coatings and Adhesives segment. “Other plus points in the construction sector are its excellent chemical and flame resistance.”
In the Texoversum, the spun façade performs several important functions at once: it gives the building a unique look and stabilizes the surrounding balconies. It also serves as a railing and provides the necessary shade for the glass front behind it.
The building provides approximately 3,000 square meters of space for workshops, laboratories, a textile collection, think tank space and classrooms. The costs for the construction of the Texoversum amounting to 18.5 million euros were borne by the employers' association Südwesttextil, whose members include FibR GmbH in Kernen, east of Stuttgart.
Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.
The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 18 billion in fiscal 2022. At the end of 2022, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 18,000 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.