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Building and Construction

Introduction

The building and construction sector is facing new challenges represented by the demand for smart and low-cost buildings with a limited impact on the environment.

 

Introduction

The building and construction technology sector in Saudi Arabia has been improving in recent decades, as modern architecture, engineering and reinforced concrete frame structures replaced the traditional construction methods of mud and stone. In addition, the continuous improvement of technical development has helped promote the construction sector, which is considered second only to the oil sector in exploiting the abundant natural resources of the Kingdom for the production of a wide range of building materials including cement, concrete, bricks, ceramics, and glass, as well as composite materials.

This sector also provides a large number of jobs, with 35% of work permits accredited by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, related to building and construction. The building and construction sector is a major drive to productivity and economic growth in many countries around the world including Saudi Arabia. The contribution of the construction sector in the gross domestic product ratio is approximately 13% of all other non-oil sectors, and enhances the competitive ability of the Kingdom towards sustainable development serving the community.

In this important sector, KACST has specified the following strategic goals:

  • The Saudi Human Genome, which is a personalized and preventive medicine that aims to reduce health care costs using genome technology. This project depends on the localization and transfer of the Next Generation Sequencing that detects and determines mutations causing inherited diseases in the Saudi population.
  • Localization and development of a technical platform to detect infectious diseases. This project aims to establish a national database for infectious diseases in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that will contribute to the detection and control of infectious diseases.
  • Localization and development of Nanomedicine that aims to localize the manufacturing of Nano-particles that can contribute to the study of diseases and treatment.
  • Localization and development of stem cell technology that aims to localize modern stem cell technologies to treat and control the common chronic diseases in the Kingdom.

Projects

The increase in the demand for housing in the Kingdom is one of the main obstacles facing the achievement of the goals for the development of the housing sector over the coming years. This is exacerbated by the fact that a large majority of the Kingdom’s population are under the age of 30, which means there is a particularly high rate of new households and thus big increase in the demand for housing.

One of the main obstacles to satisfying this demand is the high cost of building and construction. The Kingdom launched the Saudi Housing Initiative to contribute to the transfer, resettlement and development of the housing industry in the areas of construction, and to address the current and future housing challenges facing the Kingdom in terms of cost, efficiency and quality. Furthermore, sustainability standards will be applied to buildings through the use of energy-saving systems and the longevity of buildings will also be taken into account.

One of the most important features of the transfer, resettlement and development of this project is that it will allow increased opportunities for Saudization in the construction sector, thus reducing the amount of foreign labor used. It will also increase the opportunities of the local private sector, and will produce numerous residential units for future generations. The objectives of this project include:

  • Transfer, localization and development of building automation systems.
  • Design Structural framing techniques and composite materials.
  • Develop Coating and thermal insulation techniques to reduce electricity consumption.

This project aims to conduct applied research, to achieve technical independence, develop experimental models, and enhance the participation of the industrial sector in national enterprises.

3D printers are a modern digital technology using jet ink technology, where 3D elements can be configured to carry out their layers until the final product is reached. 3D printers are capable of integrating workflows into different parts and materials in a single construction process. This project aims to understand the basic concepts of jet ink technology and to develop and discover new and modern manufacturing methods based on this technique.

The project is characterized by new research methods. The mechanical forces applied to the materials during the production process will be used to generate chemical reactions by breaking new bonds and building them, in order to obtain a modified product with specific physical and chemical properties. As a result, chemical and physical properties for every drop or layer created during production can be controlled. The current research team - at KACST and at the University of Cambridge - is studying the appropriate conditions (such as compression, concentration, viscosity) of some polymers to modify and improve their optical and conductivity properties by controlling mechanical stress and fluid flow rate to control the cutting of the selected polymer chain.

The preliminary results showed the possibility of breaking the chemical bonds of polymers, which confirms the ability to use the idea of mechanical chemistry, resulting in new chemical compounds with different physical properties from the raw materials.

The project also includes a research study to simulate certain conditions in laboratory experiments. This is a prospective study to determine the reactions and conditions appropriate to its creation. A number of researchers from KACST were trained at the University of Cambridge to build devices and mechanical chemistry equipment, and to develop some of the models related to the project. This training has led to some preliminary results that will be published by researchers at a conference in Liverpool, and also by the British Royal Society of Chemistry.

This project aims to produce inorganic films that can be applied to glass surfaces to expel dust and dirt.

The technology developed in this project can be used in different applications for easy cleaning of transparent and non-transparent surfaces such as glass facades, glass front, mirrors and other applications. Various bodies can benefit from these applications such as: glass factories; solar cells factories; car factories; lenses manufacturers, and others.

The tools and materials needed for the project were completed, and the tools in the laboratories for making films were started. Six locations were identified in different areas, and the dust-stained glass paint samples were applied on the metal plates that were manufactured locally, to test the coating.

This project can also be used to transfer technology and establish close international cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and developed countries at the scientific and technical levels.

This project aims to develop and improve new coating methods for building glass, using nanotechnology. A microscopic coating of glass is placed that allows for high visibility transparency through the glass, while reflecting a large part of the infrared and ultraviolet rays.

The project also seeks to transfer and localize the technology of the modern and high-quality glass coating industry.

The project began in 2012, and it was successfully completed in 2016. By the end of the project, the optimum method of deposition of the micro-coating of the glass, using chemical vapor deposition technology, was reached, as well as new materials components suitable for the different coating layers. A heat transfer simulation program was also completed to compare new coating materials with traditional ones currently available in the market. The most important work of the project is to design and manufacture an integrated laboratory system for the installation of micro-glass coatings using the methods developed in the project.

This project aims to use kaolin, clay and pozzolan along with nanoparticles, to develop a geopolymer to be used as a protection coating for non-metallic materials like ceramic and concrete pipes. These materials then can be used to produce complex glass fibers and polymeric plastic to create non-metallic materials through the use of extrusion and winding techniques.

Geopolymer samples were produced using natural local materials. Many mechanical tests were made on the produced samples. To date 100% of this project has been completed. One of the most important outputs is the development of nanoparticles based on the use of technology in oil and gas applications, as well as the applications of protecting the roofs of the metallic and plastic products. This project is of benefit to the relevant bodies of the construction sector and pipe companies.

The objective of this project is to establish an R&D industrial laboratory for polymers and their industrial compounds at KACST. The project aims to transform locally available raw materials into environmentally friendly, commercially viable, value-added and competitive products. The applications of these developed products are architectural and engineering applications, solar applications, advanced materials and household appliances.

In addition, the project aims to localize new technologies where KACST has the lead in developing such technologies at a national scale, supplying small and medium factories with the expertise and scientific consultancy to upgrade the specifications and quality of polymeric materials. This project will also address the production and processing problems to improve the quality of the final product of these materials.