Exploring Building Materials Test Engineering

This program served as an introduction and primer to the applied science of green engineering. Students from Cottage Grove High School’s Enigineering Technology Class worked directly with Aprovecho and other industry professionals to implement hands-on projects and testing both in the classroom and in their community. This program was made possible by a partnership between Aprovecho, South Lane School District, and the Lane Workforce Partnership.

Generated testing data on a wood/clay/fiber composite wall systems for use in commercial and residential buildings. This data stands as scientific evidence on various standard test protocols when such materials are included into current and future building codes.

Students built mock-ups of 8 varied types of wall systems (clay plasters, wood paneling, sheetrock, slip straw insulation, recycled cellulose insulation, fiberglass insulation, straw bale insulation) and subjected them to the various tests outlined in the testing protocol (moisture resistance, fire resistance, load and sheer, etc). The students designed the testing apperatus, performed the tests, and summarized the data. They presented their reports including all data, photos, and videos of the testing procedures to an audience of teachers, district administrators, county officials, scientists, engineers, state officials, and their peers.

Project Journal

Hammer Time
First day of work went great. Our hammer and nail symphony/cacophony rung through the hallowed halls of the E-Tech building for a sustained 30 minutes. End result = 8 test wall frames destined for greatness in conduction, and destruction.

Building Continued
Everyone one rocked today. Walls were flying together and the NASA Rover
team worked with Ash (Pictured Below) to get up to speed on the quality control and testing methods. Tomorrow we break out the mud and get dirty. Did we forget to mention that we would be getting dirty?

Today the mud was flying everywhere. Within 5 minutes of arriving at class I had a big glob of mud on my nose. I think Mr. Kaiser got the worst of it (I also think he was asking for it). Some folks jumped right in, other squirmed away, but in the end everyone got muddy. This was a great week of getting to know each other, the tools, and the project.

The Testing Apparatus
After a long weekend, we resumed on tuesday with the finish plaster coat. Today was spent preparing the various testing apparatus. Pipe threads were prepped, taped, and sealed for the six nozzled flame thrower; the bowling ball of destruction received a threaded hole; and the test door (to replace an existing exterior door) was set up for the thermal conductance test. Tomorrow we dive into the tests.

Fire it Up!
The picture explains it all. The question is, how long (if ever) does it take to set a wall on fire. Answer, a lot longer than you think. Especially ones with a lot of clay in them. Details to follow as we crunch our data. Stay Tuned…

Presentation Day
The presentation on tuesday was a great success! Everyone did a wonderful job of presenting the data, the videos turned out great, and we had an engaged and attentive audience filling the room. Congrats to everyone that was involved!

This project was a collaboration between Aprovecho and the South Lane School District. Funding was provided through the Lane Workforce Partnership

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