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Ultra-lightweight structures with integrated photovoltaic solar cells: design, analysis, testing and application to an emergency shelter prototype (ULITES)
Start date: Jan 7, 2013, End date: Jan 6, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The introduction of new technologies in the fabrication of light-weight high-performance materials for civil-engineering applications opens many new possibilities for the design of extremely lightweight structures. In particular, the inclusion of photo-voltaic cells together with the use of carbon-fiber cables will allow new design concepts combining an extreme lightness with an excellent structural performance while preserving the sustanability. Even if the new technology constitutes a potential breakthrough, in order to allow a successful impact on the market the properties of the novel materials need to be investigaded in detail so to understand their behaviour with respect to fatigue, aging, or other long-term effects. The wide adoption of such new solutions, will on the other hand imply the definition of an improved computer-based design approach. New tools will be needed to allow modeling to structural behaviour of ultra-lightweight structures and to realize them in conceptual designs.
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