Research & Innovation
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Partnerships

Lafarge R&D works in close partnership with the world's leading research institutes, schools and universities, to facilitate progress in research into building materials. The Group is thus able to share its experience and knowledge while benefiting from complementary expertise.

Prestigious international partnerships

Lafarge works in close collaboration with the most respected institutes and universities in the world:

  • in the United States: MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Georgia Tech, the University of California at Berkeley and Princeton, Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, and the University of Austin, Texas;
  • in Canada: the universities of Toronto and Sherbrooke and Laval University in Quebec;
  • in China: the Building Materials Academy and Tsinghua University in Beijing, Tongji university in Shanghai, the University of Hunan and the University of Chongqing;
  • in India: IIT Madras, IIT Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore;
  • in Europe: the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, the Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials in Poland, ETH Zurich;
  • in France: the Ecole Polytechnique, the Ecole des Ponts, Paris VI, the Ecole d'Architecture de Paris Belleville and a number of CNRS laboratories.

 

Research contracts, internships, university exchange programs, seminars and visits are organized within the framework of these partnerships.

A publication policy for international reviews has also been implemented.

Lafarge and MIT

Franz-Josef Ulm, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environment at MIT, United States.

"Within the framework of a partnership with Lafarge, I study the mechanical characteristics of cement at the nano-scale*, that is, at an infinitely small scale. This is a very interesting scientific approach that reveals properties which were unknown before now.

Our work will result in the design of extremely high-performance materials and will allow us to increase their lifespan.

In my opinion, Lafarge is the only player in the building industry which has mastered this nanometric approach to materials."

* Nano-scale : (10-9)

Initiatives to make advances in materials science

Lafarge was behind the creation of the European network Nanocem, founded in 2004 and which today has a membership of around 30 industrial and academic partners. Its mission:

  • to develop knowledge of the microstructure of materials and achieve genuine technological breakthroughs over the long-term,
  • to contribute to university education and prepare the next generation of cement industry researchers.

 

Lafarge is also working closely with the Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH) created by MIT in 2009, in collaboration with the Portland Cement Association and the Ready Mixed Concrete Research & Education Foundation. The CSH aims to address sustainability and environmental issues in the concrete sector and to accelerate emerging breakthroughs in concrete science and engineering, with $10 million of sponsored research funding over a five-year period.

 

Lafarge has signed a partnership agreement with the US start-up Solidia Technologies® to industrialize an innovative technology that could reduce the environmental footprint of pre-cast concrete. The technology allows lower CO2 emissions in the cement production process, and involves the capture of CO2 in precast concrete manufacturing. Overall, CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 70%.

A Research Chair in construction materials

Lafarge signed a new partnership in June 2011 with the prestigious French engineering school Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, covering two areas:

  • Education, with the renewal of the "Materials Science for Sustainable Construction” (SMCD) Chair, founded in 2006,  
  • Research, with the signing of a framework contract with the Navier Laboratory, a combined unit for research into the Mechanics and Physics of Materials and Structures.


The Chair offers a unique teaching and research program: the Master’s in Materials Science for Sustainable Construction (SMCD), the only course in the world to offer an interdisciplinary approach to the engineering of building materials. It combines scientific endeavor and industrial experience in the fields of physics, mechanics and chemistry.

 

The aim is to:

  • create a world center of excellence in the science of construction materials,
  • accelerate the move towards sustainable construction which respects the environment, human beings and the planet.

Viewpoint

The Ecole des Ponts: "Over the last 10 years, we have observed the development of a veritable engineering science in cement materials which is based on expertise in a wide range of different disciplines. We established this research chair to demonstrate that these complex materials can be approached in an interdisciplinary manner. Lafarge brings a new, more pragmatic perspective and its worldwide scope is essential for recruiting high-level international students."

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