NextGen TPO - waterproofing membranes

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Developing sustainable, safe and intelligent polymer membrane solutions for waterproofing buildings and infrastructure.

Published: 3. februar 2023 14:05 - Last changed: 24. mai 2023 13:01

Protan and Norner aim to develop sustainable, safe and intelligent polymer membrane solutions for waterproofing buildings and infrastructure, fit for the current and future needs of the construction industry. To achieve this, thermoplastic polyolefin materials (TPO) are at the centre of our attention. Sustainability and circularity are moving higher on the agenda in the construction industry. The expected growth in demand for multifunctional, more advanced roof and building constructions – such as rooftop solar systems, roof gardens contributing to biological diversity, with or without food production, and water retention systems in urban areas – will require the development of new and innovative materials and systems solutions.

In this highly ambitious NextGen TPO project, Protan aims to develop an innovative new product portfolio of advanced, sustainable materials that are easy to install, durable, weather/climate resilient, environmentally friendly, and 100 % recyclable. The project combines demanding interdisciplinary research and development activities in materials technology, manufacturing, construction, and installation, as well as in modeling and simulation of product performance.

In 2021, Protan installed two TPO test roofs to better understand the functionality of this material. The roofs have been instrumented with IoT-sensor technology for monitoring temperature and moisture with associated weather data. The roof coverings have also been recorded with a video camera. The roofing membranes are watertight, resilient, and robust. However, the thermal movements are substantial, and this will be a focus area in our coming work.

Throughout 2021, key members of the Protan staff have, in close collaboration with the Norner team, built and strengthened our fundamental understanding and competence in the materials technology of TPOs. This has been an amazing journey for Protan as a knowledge-based business. Together, we have worked systematically and scientifically within a new growth area of Protan.

We have developed formulation prototypes that have been assessed with respect to both short-term and long-term properties. This has given us invaluable insights, forming a basis for further product design. Processing and test runs of selected designs have been initiated with subsequent analysis and fit-for-purpose assessment.

Norner’s main contributions to the project include the following:

1 Norner is responsible for the characterization and testing of critical short and long-term TPO material and membrane product properties, including relevant accelerated aging methods and generation of data for material durability model development.

2 Norner focuses on critical performance needs of the TPO prototypes: UV and oxidation stability and chemical and mechanical resistance for extended product lifetime, as well as halogen-free formulations for targeted fire ratings. Norner develops formulations for low-temperature flexibility, laboratory tests for welding and weld quality, and solution for tailoring TPO

haptics to improve end-use acceptance. Norner will study, develop and test novel high-performance TPO alloys and support Protan in development on a pilot scale. Norner supports competence development by providing training for Protan.

3 Norner will develop predictive durability models based on multiple simultaneous aging factors and test and verify the models using project data. Protan and Norner will collect relevant input data for Protan’s LCA models.

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Protan is a Norwegian industrial group that is a world leader in membrane technology for waterproofing buildings and infrastructure. We develop and supply membranes, roof- and ventilation systems, and technical textiles. Our head office is in Drammen, Norway, and we have more than 900 employees and a total turnover in excess of € 200 million. Our largest business area is roofing and membranes. We also specialize in tailor-made, flexible ventilation ducts and waterproofing systems for mines and tunnels. In addition, we supply multi-purpose technical textiles for a range of applications. Protan is also one of the largest roofing contractors in the Nordic region. With over 80 years of experience, Protan has developed innovative solutions that are adapted to a global market and demanding climates.

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