Prefab houses that are glued, not nailed, together

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Posted on June 6, 2013

prefabhouses[1]

The WKI has come up with a way of bonding components of prefabricated houses together with adhesive. This allows greater flexibility in component design. Credit: Fraunhofer WKI

With prefabricated houses, the dream of having one’s own home can quickly become a reality. Until now, nails have been used to hold the individual components together. Now an adhesive tape has been developed to perform this task.

A finished house stands on what just a few days ago was an empty green field. Such a feat is possible thanks to components that are industrially prefabricated in amanufacturing plant for finished parts and then simply need to be assembled on the building site – “prefabricated houses” in other words. The individual wall, ceiling, and roof components are usually made of wood. First, the manufacturers make a frame structure out of squared timber in the plant, onto which they then fit boards made of timber derived materials. Nails and staples hold the structure securely together. However, several considerations must be factored in: the squared timber must not be too narrow, else the nails and staples can break out; also, wherever boards meet, there has to be a rib to which the manufacturer can attach the boards.

If it were possible to stick these boards and the other timber parts together using adhesive, it would give the building planners a lot more flexibility in component design. Although there are some companies currently using liquid adhesives in construction, this manufacturing technique has not yet become widespread. This is because the process has some drawbacks: for the liquid adhesive to set, you either have to heat the entire board including squared timber or else wait several hours – a time-consuming business that does not fit easily into industrial production processes.

Quick-setting adhesive tape

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI in Braunschweig have come up with an alternative together with their colleagues from the Institute of Joining and Welding at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. “We’ve developed an adhesive tape that sets in under a minute to reliably and durably bond together the individual components,” says Dr. Andreas Zillessen, a scientist at the WKI. “The adhesive sets at the push of a button, so to speak. This means that when we apply the adhesive tape when assembling components, we can wait as long as we like without the adhesive drying out, as other kinds of adhesive would.”

Read more at: Phys.org