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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I016821/1
Title: Foams for living architecture
Principal Investigator: Ryan, Professor AJ
Other Investigators:
Phoenix, Professor G Pilakoutas, Professor K Dunnett, Dr N
Cameron, Professor D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2010 Ends: 30 April 2012 Value (£): 202,111
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Civil Engineering Materials
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Environment
Energy Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Aug 2010 Cross-Disciplinary Feasibility Account 2010 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The principal investigator will be Professor AJ Ryan who is currently the Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Science and was until recently the ICI Professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of the Sheffield Polymer Centre. He has published over 250 papers in refereed journals, 1 co-authored book, 2 edited books, 6 book chapters, 6 review articles, 60 conference proceedings and 10 patents. His international standing is recognised by more than 20 invited talks at international conferences and 34 papers that have received more than 50 citations each. He was awarded prizes in 1990 by the Plastics and Rubber Institute, 1999 from the Polymer Processing Society, in 1992, 1999 and 2003 from the Royal Society of Chemistry and in 2008 from the Society of Dyers & Colourists and The Royal Medical Society. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to science . He runs a substantial research group and has been PI on 16 and Co-I on 19 EPSRC grants as well as holding grants from BBSRC, NESTA and the EU. His current EPSRC portfolio includes PI on a Feasibility Account, PI on a Nanotechnology Grant Challenge for Energy, Co-I on a Nanotechnology Grant Challenge for Health and Co-I on two Platform grants. He has received substantial funding from a wide range of industry and currently has 4 PhD students from Akzo-Nobel and Dow Chemicals.The individual group members each possess a long track record of innovative research and commercial development that has yielded outcomes with a high impact value. Although each group member currently enjoys individual success, they all firmly believe that the major challenges that society currently faces can only be addressed through a process of inter-disciplinary working. Herein we describe a multi-disciplinary project that seeks to develop a novel technology that would form the basis of a lightweight, modular green roof or wall. This three layer system will contain a waterproof base that will provide support whilst also preventing root penetration into the underlying building. A lightweight, porous polyurethane polymer will sit atop the base. This will provide a network of channels that will support root growth whilst also retaining the nutrients that are required for plant growth. The final layer will take the form of a vegetative mat that will be seeded with plant species that will be carefully selected to ensure optimal growth either in the wall or roof scenario. The whole system will take the form of a module that could be easily transported and combined with other modules to cover large areas. The weight saving of the polymer foam over traditional substrates will also allow retrofitting of this technology to buildings that cannot support current heavier green roof systems. The proposed system would represent a significant advancement in the area of Green Roof/Wall technology.The project will see contributions from a group of senior academics that are drawn from the Faculties of Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield (as the lead institution) who will work alongside colleagues from Farapack Polymers Limited, Europolymers (GB) Limited and Lindum Seeded Turf Limited. This group has formed during the previous 3 years following a series of highly successful collaborations. The combination of partners means the group possesses both the technical knowledge to perform the fundamental research whilst also being ideally placed to produce a technology that is commercially viable.
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk