Coordinator: Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung
Contact Person: Dr. Dipl.-Ing. Wolfram Schmidt
Address: Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin
Project partners in Germany
- MC Bauchemie Müller GmbH & Co. KG, Bottrop
Project partners in Ghana
- University of Ghana - School of Engineering Sciences, Accra
- GN Construction Chemicals and Technology Limited, Accra
Adaptation of Systemic Concrete Infrastructure Works to Environmental Challenges and Risks
A functioning transport infrastructure is central to a country's economic productivity. In Ghana, high traffic volumes and challenging climatic conditions increase the risk of failure of systemically relevant infrastructure works. The German-Ghanaian project INFRACOST is therefore designing application-oriented decision-making aids for the repair of infrastructure works and testing innovative building material technologies for maintenance materials which, at the same time, strengthen local markets.
Infrastructure as an economic driver
Infrastructure works such as bridges and roads are driving forces for economic development in West Africa. However, high temperatures, high humidity, the coastal climate along the main traffic axes and regular flooding are serious threats to existing infrastructure works. Their failure would have fatal economic consequences in Ghana and neighbouring countries. INFRACOST is evaluating the structural condition of relevant infrastructure works and developing repair concepts that can ensure the functionality of systemic infrastructure works. The goal is to design solutions that are optimised for local conditions and combine innovative construction technology with local value chains.
Since long-term repair of existing infrastructure can only work if the repair project is consistently designed from planning to final execution and post-processing, project results are combined with needs-based user training. In addition to university training for students, industry and authorities, this also includes practical training with users and planners. Beyond that, instructions for consultants and political decision-makers are also to be developed. Based on a large-scale pilot repair of the Saglemi Bridge in Accra, results are immediately being put into practice.
Local solutions to global problems
The project is emphasising the analysis and evaluation of innovative building material solutions for use in the repair of infrastructure works. In particular, concrete as a repair material is the focus. In order to make future concrete technologies more ecologically sustainable, the INFRACOST project consortium is developing alternative building materials that contain as many locally available raw materials as possible or ones that can be replaced by local alternatives. This includes both the consideration of local organic by-products and mineral by-products from local sources. For Ghana, agricultural residues in particular play an important role. For example, these include manioc cups or waste from cocoa production.
Research you can feel
Instructions for policy makers and guidelines for constructors are developed from the analysis and evaluation of innovative building material solutions. These must take into account the local framework conditions so that the solutions can be successfully established in the long term. Strengthening local value chains for high-performance building materials is the focus here.
The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing is evaluating the use of local raw materials together with the University of Ghana. MC Bauchemie Müller GmbH & Co. KG is developing the repair materials used, which will ultimately be put into practice together with Ghanaian partner GN Construction Chemicals and Technology Limited. Local colleges, associations and ministries are also involved.
For effective technology transfer, research results and technologies will be put into practice as part of a pilot repair of the Saglemi Bridge in cooperation with the Ghana Highway Authority. In addition to the large-scale evaluation, this will also allow for real on-site application training for local constructors and will provide an object of study for engineers and students at the colleges. The project consortium, together with local authorities and decision-makers, will thus be better able to estimate the effectiveness of concrete repair and evaluate possible future optimisation potential under real conditions.
The project will thus help to improve the transport infrastructure in Ghana.