Materials Development Group

The Materials Development Group is engaged in the development of innovative materials based on the principles of the circular economy, the green transition and the preservation of Cypriot architectural heritage. Our goal is to find solutions to modern industry challenges through research and development.


THYRSUS: A Ferula communis scrimber composite as a renewable alternative material for wooden pallets

Ferula communis is a herbaceous perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region and a characteristic plant of the Cypriot flora with a robust, stiff, and long fibrous stalk that can get up to 3 m, and it can grow on gravelly soil with minimal water needs. THYRSUS project aims to create a new composite material using Ferula communis plant fibrous stalk with eco-friendly adhesives, which will be tested as a sustainable alternative to wood pallets and do not contain any formaldehyde or any harmful substances. The proposed methodology to manufacture the bio-composite board from Ferula communis will be a modification of the production of bamboo scrimber. The goal is to develop a prototype pallet from Ferula communis composite that will comply with ISO, ISPM 15, and European standards. THYRSUS project will investigate the plant’s agronomic characteristics to optimize cultivation and harvesting, ensuring that the stalks acquire the desired properties for creating the final biocomposite product.THYRSUS project will introduce in the Cyprus market a green and renewable product that has the potential to replace a large portion of wood-sourced products. Initially, to test the product’s suitability as a Euro pallet, it can be used as furniture, flooring, and packaging material.


GEOSHELL: Development of an innovative artificial sandstone for restoration and energy retrofit of heritage buildings based on quarry and industrial waste materials.

Many historic buildings in Cyprus and other Mediterranean areas have been left to deteriorate over time, there is a growing demand for effective solutions. Extensively utilized in historical structures throughout Cyprus, natural calcarenite sandstone functioned as a fundamental construction material. The loss of the main source of the natural material (quarries of Gerolakkos) due to the Turkish invasion and occupation led to serious shortages in the construction industry. The shortage of natural calcarenite sandstone, a key material in heritage buildings in Cyprus, poses significant challenges for the renovation of old structures. This scarcity not only drives up costs but also makes the restoration of heritage buildings extremely difficult. The GEOSHELL project will provide an innovative solution for both restoration and energy retrofitting of local architectural heritage. The main goal is the development of geopolymer synthetic calcarenite sandstone material. These synthetic sandstones will serve as masonry load bearing units in heritage buildings. The renovation/restoration process of heritage buildings can be economic, environmental friendlier since no quarry of natural stone will be needed, and low-disruptive and modular restoration practices can be adopted by using prefabricated synthetic load bearing sandstones. Locally available raw materials and industry biproducts, including bentonite, waste tiles and sanitary waste and calcarenite sandy mud (quarry waste) will be used, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, and contributing to the circular economy. GEOSHELL project will also explore the development of a synthetic sandstone with thermal insulation properties by incorporating lightweight aggregates, expanded perlite, and foaming techniques. This synthetic stone can be adopted for energy retrofitting of existing facades. Furthermore, 3D printing techniques of detailed architectural elements for heritage buildings will be explored.