Civil Engineering and Pipeline Construction

  • Pipeline Construction
  • Heatliner
  • Backfill Material
  • Quality Control

Utility Networks are Lifelines

Civil engineering and pipeline construction are crucial for a functioning urban infrastructure. This includes water supply and disposal, gas supply and district heating, but also the installation of new power grids and communications networks. Besides installing new infrastructure, existing networks must be upgraded and adapted to demographic, technical and economic needs. IAB researchers are developing new and improved solutions in the fields of civil engineering and pipeline construction to increase the effectiveness of network expansion and gap closure and to extend the remaining life of pipelines by rehabilitating them.


About 20 percent of sewer systems are in need of short to medium-term rehabilitation. The situatuation is similar for other utilities and transport infrastructure. The IAB is thus working on various related topics and primarily develops solutions for pipeline rehabilitation, including textured liners or ready-to-use manhole liners for sewer networks as well as liners for gas and water supply lines.

WBM-Weimarer Bodenmörtel®

Furthermore, natural fibres and mineral materials are used to make rehabilitation more sustainable. In another area of activity, the IAB is conducting research on self-compacting backfill materials. Earth-moving operations incur significant costs; their quality standard essentially determines the service life of the pipelines. Research previously conducted on the WBM-Weimarer Bodenmörtel® (Weimar soil mortar) continues to result in significant savings in the construction phase and also enables a high quality standard in pipe-laying and the long-term stability of the paved surface.

Quality control in civil engineering

Quality control in civil engineering is crucial to ensure long service lives of networks. Joining techniques and new compaction methods are being investigated. Self-regulating and self-learning fittings and control systems are needed for the expansion of existing pipelines and the installation of new networks in order to achieve the required performance and degree of flexibility.


  • Recovery of Heat
  • Monitoring Systems
  • Sinter Free
  • Control Systems

Innovations for our Infrastructure

Future research activities will be dedicated to replacing, rehabilitating and complementing infrastructural networks. These activities aim to

  • increase network effi ciency and fl exibility
  • increase economic effi ciency to achieve
resource savings Projects are thus being implemented in the field of liner technology that involve the use of domestic regenerative raw materials and subsequent upgrades, such as cathodic corrosion protection using a plastic liner. Further research activities are facing a huge challenge due to the continuous reduction in water consumption in Germany and the associated increase in the concentration of pollutants in the wastewater. In future, greater emphasis should be put on assessing and limiting the amount of certain materials or substances contained in wastewater. Research activities thus focus on automated systems to continuously measure BOD5 values in wastewater that has been purified in small treatment systems and subsequent remote transfer of the gathered data to plant operators, maintenance providers or the relevant authorities. Furthermore, test methods are being developed to monitor the disintegration capability of nonwoven materials in wastewater.

Recovery of heat from wastewater

Another key area of interest relates to the recovery of heat from wastewater, which particularly applies to pipelines inaccessible to people. This research concentrates on systems that derive the heat potential directly from the wastewater or the soil/sewer system. Buried systems and solutions for utilising wastewater heat in buildings are currently being developed.

Control Systems

Our long-term experience in wastewater heat recovery using heat pumps has also driven research and development with respect to control systems that use the physical characteristics of the heat carrier fluid to influence the heat output of individual collectors or probes.


  • Developing Surfaces
  • Pipe Rehabilitation
  • Pipe Analysis
  • Pipe-Laying

Bionics-Based Research

The field of bionics systematically investigates structures, processes and evolutionary principles of biological systems and develops engineered solutions to enable their transfer to commercial use. Related research aims to replicate principles tried and tested in nature rather than just trying to copy a shape or form.

Structural concepts

Starting from research into the wing veins of insects, we develop structural concepts for the inside walling of pipes to prevent sedimentation and to specifically influence the transport of solids and liquids within pipelines. For this purpose, solutions are being conceived to create artificial eddy currents in zones close to the pipe wall with the aim of removing solids or preventing resedimentation.

Flow monitors or transport and inspection equipment

Another area of IAB research relates to the analysis and performance assessment of structures created by nature to optimise and put into practice technical systems such as flow monitors or transport and inspection equipment in an exceedingly efficient, cost-effective manner. Research activities also cover the following topics:

  • Utilisation of innovation potentials provided by nature to optimise pipelines and pipeline systems
  • Reduction in losses due to diversion and friction in pipe components
  • Optimisation of the functioning of closure elements
  • Development of sensors to register the condition of pipe materials
  • Optimisation of load-bearing and surface structures
  • Increase in the pollutant disintegration potential
  • Self-cleaning of surfaces
  • Use of regenerative energy sources
  • Regulation of the indoor climate in building
Particular emphasis is placed on energy minimisation, which is one of the most fundamental evolutionary strategies. Implementation of this principle opens up a huge research and development potential for ground-breaking sustainable solutions.