Applied research

The ESITC Caen research laboratory is located at the heart of the school.The main research topics deal with environmentally-friendly building materials and aim to design and enhance technical and environmental behavior of building materials.

Successful and recognized research are based on expertise and skills in the following fields:

  • Building materials engineering: development of eco-materials using agricultural by-products such as vegetables fibres (flax) and marine by-products (shells) or construction wastes (demolition laggregates).
  • Environmental geotechnics: treatment and reuse of soils and sediments, in civil engineering and construction.
  • Energy and environment : developpement of low environment impact and efficient energy building materials
  • Materials for maritime infrastructures

Teaching research methodology is one of the diverse pedagogical methods used at ESITC Caen

In parallel, teaching research methodology and also aims to promote R&D activities to develop new products, materials and techniques that fit today’s needs for sustainable construction. These activities offer the opportunity to discover the professions in the civil engineering and construction sector with essential issues at stake.


Laboratory skills

The research laboratory team currently includes 11 researchers: 1 HDR, 5 teacher-researchers, 4 PhD students, 1 R&D manager ,1 R&D engineer and 1 technician.

The laboratory regularly accepts work placements for Masters students from French or foreign universities and ESITC Caen’s own PhD candidates are also accepted in collaboration with the University of Caen-Normandy and partner laboratories registered with the Doctoral School SIMEM.

  • Characterization (mechanical, geotechnical and microstructural) of construction materials: soils, mortars, concretes, wood, steels…
  • Optimisation of processing methods for soils and sediments: methodology and adaptation of the processing method to its end use.
  • Functional formulation of concretes and hydraulically bound materials.
  • Adaptation of materials' properties to the environment.
  • Re-use and recycling of industrial/agricultural co-products to create eco-materials for construction: eco-materials using vegetable fibres (flax, hemp, wood) or shell by-products, mud or waste from horse riding rings, …
  • Environmental impact study of these construction materials based on Life Cycle Analyses.
  • Permanent scientific and technical watch.

Discover the Laboratory presentation brochure.


A few examples of our projects :

VECOPEXP (2015-2018): Experimental sites of pervious eco-pavers for a sustainable management better use of rainwater and shellfish by-products reuse.
Total global budget: 2.7 M€.
Co-funded by EFRE and Normandy Region
Partners: Point-P, ESITC Caen, TECAM, Marc SA.
COBBAUGE (2017 - 2018): European cross-border project contributing to develop and improve cob, a raw earth construction technique.
Co-funded by the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg Va France (Channel)
Partners : Plymouth University, ESITC Caen, Parc Naturel Régional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin, EBUKI, Université de Caen.
SB&WRC (2017 - 2019): European cross-border project for the creation of thermal insulant made from bio-based and waste-based raw materials.
Co-funded by the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg Va France (Channel)
Total global budget: 1.8 M€
Partners: Nomadéis, Véolia, Bath University, ESITC Caen, Construction 21, ASBP, Brighton University, Unilasalle ESITPA.
FOREVER (2018 - 2020): Development of bio receptive concrete in order to improve the development and the safeguard of flat oysters.
Co-funded by EMFF and the State
Total global budget: 1.2 M€
Partners: Comités Régionaux Conchylicoles de Bretagne Sud et de Bretagne Nord, Ifremer, ESITC Caen.
MARINEFF (2018 – 2022): European cross-border project aiming for testing and deploying biomimetic marine infrastructures in the French Channel England area.
Total global budget: 4.6 M€
Co-funded by the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg Va France (Channel)
Partners: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Ports Normands Associés, Travaux Publics du Cotentin, VCMF, Southampton University, Bournemouth University, University of Exeter, Université de Caen Normandie
3DPARE (2017-2021): European cross-border project for the development of concrete artificial reefs printed in 3D.
Total global budget: 1.9M€
Co-funded by the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg Vb Arc Atlantic
Partners : Université of Cantabrie (ES), ESITC Caen, Bournemouth University (UK), Institut Portugais pour la Mer et l’Atmosphère (PT), Porto University (PT).
BTONLIN: Collaborative project to reuse of flax fibres as into eco-materials in the building industry.
Total global budget 510 K€ Co-funded by the ERDF program and the Normandy Region and accredited by the French Competitiveness Cluster for Metallic Assemblies and Complex  Composite EMC2. A CIFRE (Industrial contracts for Training via Research) PhD thesis is ongoing within the scope of the project.
Partners: ESITC Caen, the companies CMEG and Teillage Vandecandelaère (Groupe Depestel), CNRT (National Centre for Technological Research).

RECIF: European project on shellfish by-products reuse in artificial reefs.
Total global budget: 2,7 M€ Co-funded by the cross-border cooperation programme Intereg IV/A France (Channel) / England and the Lower-Normandy Region.
Partners: ESITC Caen, Univ Caen-BOREA, Univ. Caen-M2C, Univ. Caen-LUSAC, TPC and EMCC ( VINCI Group), Plymouth Marine Laboratory , MNHN, Univ. Southampton, Univ.Exeter.

SETARMS: European project to recycle marine sediments  in road construction technics.      
Total global budget: 5.2 M€ Co-funded by the cross-border cooperation programme Intererg IV/A France (Channel)/ England and the Lower-Normandy Region.
Partners: APLM, ESITC Caen, EMDouai, GPMH, LASEM, Univ. Caen-ABTE, Univ. Exeter, Univ Brighton, CG22, PNA, Eurovia BN (VINCI Group)
VECOP : Collaborative project on shellfish by-products reuse in pervious eco-pavers for urban use and sustainable management of rainwater.
Total global budget: 953 k€ & 927 k€ Co-funded by the ERDFprogramme and the Normandy Region.
Partners: ESITC Caen, Univ. Caen-ABTE, Point P (Groupe St-Gobain), SLP, Granvilmer, Veolia, TECAM, MARC SA.
BRIDGE: European project aiming to create cross-border partnerships between France and England (Channel region) and develop innovative R&D projects on eco-materials (eco-construction) and eco-design.
Total global budget: 2.4 M€ Co-funded by the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg IV/A Lower-Normandy Region.
Partners: Miriade, ESITC Caen, Orne Développement, Normandie Incubation, ESITPA, WSX Enterprise LTD, Univ. Brighton, Medway Council.


Partner laboratories

ESITC Caen also develops collaborative research projects involving European partners (INTERREG, Horizon 2020, …) and national entities (competitiveness clusters, the Brittany-Atlantic Sea cluster) as well as regional partners (research laboratories, local companies and councils).

The ESITC Caen laboratory also develops R&D partnerships with companies and organizations working in the fields of Civil engineering and Construction, collaborating with them on projects related to applied research and innovation.

The members of staff also provide R&D work for companies wanting to work on construction materials and eco-materials.

PhDs and publications

You can consult the themes covered by this research by clicking on the links below:

  • List of recent publications
  • List of theses currently being written
  • List of theses already presented


As well as the equipment used for Civil engineering (RDM, soil mechanics, materials, hydraulics, physical tests), students in the ESITC Caen laboratory also have access to high-performance equipment for working on construction materials.

In view of the multi-disciplined nature of research programs, ESITC Caen works in close collaboration with other laboratories in Caen such as ABTE and CRNT Matériaux (a materials laboratory). These labs provide additional expertise and other technical means besides those possessed by ESITC Caen which allows students to carry out research work on different aspects of formulations, physico-chemical and microstructural work as well as mechanical and thermal behaviour.

The main equipment in the Building Materials Research Laboratory of ESITC Caen enables the following work to be carried out:



Earthworks Road Guide soil classification: particle size distribution, compaction parameters, CBR press, methylene blue value, Los Angeles, Micro-Deval, density, Atterberg limit, carbonate content, lime reactivity. Laboratory and field vane tester, compaction meter, soil permeability. Shearing frame and mixer, cutterhead mixer, 40L and 150L mixers, suitability test equipment, dynamic vapour sorption analysis ...



Mortar mixer, impact compactor, 65L concrete mixer,  concrete rectification grinder, laboratory crusher, Abram’s cone, workability apparatus, splitting test, Cembureau gaz permeability, Blaine permeameter, rheometer, carbonatation chamber, calorimeter, conductivimeter, laser particule analyser, scanning electron microscope, optical microscope ...



Compression machine (Schenck 300T), bending/compression gantry (Controlab 160kN), tensile testing machine (Lloyd LR 30K and Instron 50kN/10N), oedometers, Proctor and CBR compactor, triaxial and CBR presses …



TGA/TDA, GC-MS, UV-visible spectrophotometer, polarographie, centrifuge, leaching and vacuum filtration devices ...



4000kN press, 2x300kN and 9m long bending test bench for beams and slabs, bridge crane and forklift, conical mixer 150L, precision saw, equipments for manufacturing pavers, concrete blocks and earth bricks, ovens, dryers and climate chambers with controlled temperature and humidity ...





Students wishing to obtain a work placement in our research laboratory must be following Master 1 or 2 level Civil engineering studies in order to work on materials, eco-materials, geotechnics, soils, etc.

Contact: M. BOUTOUIL, Dr, HDR., Research Director 

Tel. +33 2 31 46 23 04