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HAMSTER: a test facility for studying the hygrothermal behaviour and energy performance of full-scale building elements
The HAMSTER project aims to design, construct and approve a test facility that can be used to study the hygrothermal behaviour and energy performance of full-scale building elements.
The facility consists of two chambers: a cold and a hot section which are used to respectively simulate the external climate and the internal climate inside buildings. The external climate simulated is more comprehensive than climates simulated by comparable test facilities. In the cold section, it is possible to control the temperature and relative humidity, the pressure difference with the hot section, the spraying of water and the effect of the sun. Measuring up to 3 metres by 3 metres, the sizeable building elements studied are placed between the two test chambers.
The equipment’s versatility is innovative since it focuses on the study of certain performances, such as thermal insulation and the transfer of air and moisture, and assesses the combined performances of the tested elements as well as their durability. This test facility offers direct opportunities for industry to develop and optimise products. It is also made available to research stakeholders in the Brussels Region through structural partnerships set up for research projects.
Installed in the “Greenbizz” centre of excellence for sustainable construction in Brussels, the equipment owes its uniqueness to its functionalities and the research and development opportunities it offers. Tests carried out may be for new products, building elements, systems or construction details used in particular for the renovation of existing buildings to improve their energy performance.
The equipment’s users:
Many different companies and organisations use the HAMSTER facility for anything from innovative industrial developments to research activities.
The equipment is intended to be used by universities, research centres and professional schools for research projects, as well as by various industries to develop innovative products and new construction technologies, for example.
Supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the 2014-2020 programming period as part of its Research and Innovation priority, this project received €1.5 million in funding, 50% of which came from the Brussels Region and 50% from the EU. The project was sponsored by the Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) in partnership with Belgian universities ULB/VUB and UCL and ECAM, a professional school for industrial engineers.