ARCHIVED - Canada-Taiwan Workshop on Construction Technologies
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March 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario
A delegation from the NRC Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) will soon be heading to Taiwan as part of an upcoming workshop on construction technologies. NRC has an ongoing collaboration with Taiwan's National Science Council (NSC) and the workshop is the latest in a series of partnership activities between the two organizations. Since 1997, over 20 such workshops have been held, and there are over 20 active joint research projects.
|NRC Fire Research Facility.|
The delegation will include a number of NRC-IRC researchers active in a wide array of construction technologies. These technologies address topics such as: construction building materials (the use of nanotechnology in concrete): the living environment of buildings (sound insulation against aircraft, road and train noise); and, fire risk management in buildings. The team will also include a representative from Carleton University specialized in the study of construction technologies and earthquakes.
|Propane burner fire.|
Team members will be giving detailed presentations at the meeting, which will be matched with presentations from their Taiwanese counterparts in similar or complementary fields of research. NRC-IRC researcher and workshop coordinator Mike Swinton points out that research is always leading in new directions. The purpose of the workshop is to identify mutual areas of interest where both sides can pool their expertise and resources to move promising technologies forward. "Papers presented as part of the workshop proceedings will differ somewhat from traditional scientific papers, which typically offer a set of conclusions about experiments conducted. In this case, researchers will describe their findings but also identify and suggest future opportunities for research," Swinton said such a format gives researchers a shared understanding of each other's research but, more importantly, opens doors to further discussion and collaboration.
As an example, Swinton will present findings about the use of small-scale combined heat and power generation systems, a topic of some interest given the widespread 2003 power blackout in Eastern North America. Testing has identified the need for improved storage and control systems. New information in this area would help manufacturers increase the effectiveness of their technology, making it easier to commercialize.
Dr. Gary Lougheed from NRC-IRC will present findings concerning smoke control in large-volume spaces such as stadiums, conference centres and atria, high-ceiling structures popular in many new office building designs and shopping malls. The open design of these structures provides unique challenges for the control and movement of smoke, which is the deadliest threat in a fire. According to Dr. Lougheed, the workshop will be useful for identifying "overlap" in research expertise and he noted a number of areas where collaborations would be useful. For example, he pointed out that when exhaust fans remove smoke from open spaces, "make-up air" has to be supplied to the buildings to compensate. Due to air-speed restrictions inside buildings, it is not a matter of simply using existing systems to introduce more air. Instead, builders and designers are being challenged to accommodate significantly larger and extensive air intake vents on building exteriors.
In 2002-2003, NRC organized over 100 international workshops and conferences. "The workshop format is an excellent way to bring researchers together," Swinton said. The long-term benefits of these workshops can be significant. Workshops help stimulate collaborative research, meaning Canadian researchers get to benefit from international sources of expertise and are able to share research costs. NRC-IRC works closely with the Canadian construction industry and research collaborations can help open new networking opportunities for Canadian firms. Workshops also represent a unique opportunity to learn about other markets for Canadian construction technology, in this case the Pacific Rim.
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