Environmental impact of materials

Studying the environmental impact of materials at our open-air test site
© Fraunhofer IBP
Studying the environmental impact of materials at our open-air test site

Many materials can release substances into the environment, either through outgassing or through leaching on contact with rainwater. Weather influences (e.g. UV light) can also chemically alter the constituents of materials. If and how constituents and their transformation products interact with the environment, and whether they have a negative impact on the ecosystem, is increasingly the subject of public discussion.

The environmental properties of materials can be determined in two ways: either by chemically analyzing the substances that can be released or by using ecotoxicological test methods to investigate the effects of a material sample on living organisms. Trace analysis identifies known substances and determines their concentrations, while ecotoxicological test methods document the impact of all released substances.

We only use eluates obtained under laboratory conditions (mixture of solvents and dissolved substances) when carrying out standardized testing and assessment procedures. The properties of building materials can also be studied under real climatic conditions at our field test site.  By combining the results of laboratory and field studies, we are able to test and further develop existing assessment concepts with regard to their practical relevance.


  • DIN EN 16637-2
  • DIN EN 16105
  • DIN 19529
  • DIN EN 12457-4
  • DIN 38407-35
  • DIN 38407-36
  • DIN EN 1484
  • DIN EN ISO 10304
  • DIN EN ISO14911
  • DIN EN ISO 17294-2
  • ISO 6341
  • ISO 8692
  • DIN EN ISO 11348

Industrial projects

  • Development of a model to assess the environmentally-relevant properties of common plasters and mortars for outdoor use
  • Elution of pot preservatives from building products
  • Environmental properties of inorganic mortar and products in paste form
  • Release of biocides from façade coatings
  • Environmental properties of inorganic mortar

Research projects

  • Validation of the laboratory test according to DIN CEN/TS 16637-2 for assessing the release of radicides from bitumen roofing membranes
  • Behavior of biocides leached from building materials as they pass through soil
  • Release of Mecoprop from polymer bitumen roofing membranes - modeling the transport pattern of Mecoprop as it passes through soil
  • Release of aromatic amines from waterproofing - development of a method for analyzing Quantification
  • Release of root penetration inhibitors from roof waterproofing
  • Investigation of the substances leaching out from building elements made of wood, plastic, metal and glass to assess the impact on soil and groundwater.
  • Energy-efficient building methods: Development...