Programming heterogenous performance in monolithic form.
Exploration of an additive manufacturing of functionally graded biopolymers.
The objective of this thesis project was an investigation of an additive manufacturing of fungi- and algae- based bio-composites and its functionally graded properties application in a building construction, which was based on physical tests and digital simulations of the material properties linked to the structural and optical performance of an architectural object.
The research aim was to create a sustainable manufacturing process, where the material design and organization is informed by the structural performance, creating homogenous and complex architectural elements for temporary architecture of agricultural shading system, which degrade in soil and in water after the seasonal use and improves the quality of the soil.
Driven by novel biodegradable bio-materials, this research offers a new structural design perspective, combining mushroom-derived protein-based bio-polymers, which create a sustainable manufacturing process from the material selection to the fabrication and post-fabrication use.
The investigation included a study of the bio-polymers behavior depending on proportions of the ingredients in the mixture and follow-up a possibility of programming a post-fabrication performance of the material using time and changes in the environment.
This proposal supports the design of temporary and highly sustainable architectural-scale parts that can interact with the environment by contibuting to soil nutrient levels or to nourishing marine life.
The investigation is based on parallel trajectories of : material exploration made out of renewable and biodegradable resources available and abundant in every habitat on earth; advancement in tools and methods for in-situ robotic additive manufacturing of bio-polymers; development of the strategy for functionality grading of the material properties to optimize the material distribution and reduce the building material waste.
Material organization is informed by the structural performance, creating homogenous and complex body.
The resulting architectural proposition is an alternative for agricultural films- plastic membranes used to cover the soil for purposes of weed suppression, temperature enhancement, fertilizer and more. Proposed shading system for farming uses a biodegradable material, which is not only not harmful for the soil as the traditional plastic, but also works as a soil conditioner, which plants can grow on – when the shading structure is no longer needed – might be disassembled and used as a compost and eliminate the toxins and accumulation of the pesticides in the soil used for farming caused by the polyethene films.
No proverty. Materials investigated in the project, namely mushrooms and algae are cheap raw materials - in-situ resources, available and abundant in every habitat on earth. The process of making bio-polymers out of this materials is easy and affordable to everybody – also based on the open source principle. The building process itself would take a place under conditions that protect the environment as well as poor and marginalized stakeholders.
Zero hunger. The resulting architectural proposition is an alternative for agricultural films - plastic membranes used to cover the soil for purposes of weed suppression, temperature enhancement, fertilizer and more. Proposed shading system for farming uses a biodegradable material, which is not only not harmful for the soil as the traditional plastic, but also works as a soil conditioner, which plants can grow on – when the shading structure is no longer needed – might be disassembled and used as a compost and eliminate the toxins and accumulation of the pesticides in the soil used for farming caused by the polyethene films.
Industry, innovation and infrastructure. Rethinking materials and the construction methods of the temporary architecture, aims to reduce the problem of pollution produced by the building sector. Driven by novel bio-polymers, this research offers a new structural design perspective, creating a sustainable manufacturing process from the material selection which is not dependent on fossil fuel to the ins-situ fabrication and post-fabrication use. The project presents a study of the material performance and the process of programming a post-fabrication performance of the bio-polymers. Research creates a sustainable manufacturing process integrating materials, hardware, software and fabrication logics from the ground up.
Responsible consumption. The project proposes a schema of a new temporary architecture, which aim is to degrade after a seasonal use. Traditional temporary architecture is currently associated with an easy disassemble and transportation. The novel proposal reduces the material use and the pollution connected with the fabrication and transportation of the architectural elements. The life cycle of the product after the seasonal use returns to nature and enriches the soil, to grow the raw resources and use them again as a building material, when the structure is again needed.
The project also investigates a strategy of functionally graded material distribution, which reduces the amount of the material resources by grading the material properties.
Climate action. Building construction and manufacturing are responsible for 67% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. By the selection of local materials, available globally as well as use of in-situ additive manufacturing process, the ambition is to eliminate the transport of the building components and reduce the pollution caused by the transportation sector. Furthermore, the properties of the bio-polymers used in the project are programmed based on the solar radiation simulation taking into account the local climate.
Life below water. Through the use of the material which I derived degradable in water and can be easily broken down into CO2, water, energy and cell mass with the aid of microbes, the project would reduce also the marine plastic pollution.
Life on land. Recent research shows that microplastic contamination in soils is between 4 and 32 times larger than in the sea and that more than 80 per cent of marine plastic pollution originates from the land. This proposal protects, restores and supports ecosystems and biodiversity creating a sustainable shelter for plants, which improves the soil condition.
Methods taken in this project integrate materials, hardware, software and fabrication logic from the ground up. The key challenge of this investigation was to control material behavior and performance, which changes with every modification of the composition and conditions of its location. Hence the methodology of this projects was based on the circular design workflow with the ambition to integrate the material behavior hardware, software and fabrication logic from the ground up.
Bio-plastic materials are completely ecologically sustainable as no organic solvents or synthetic plastics were used to manufacture it. It can be reproduced anywhere without special facilities. The material is fully biodegradable in natural conditions and outise composting facilities.
Bio-polymers are plastics derived from renewable biomass sourcess. Due to their biological origin, they are inherently bio-degradable, which means they are easily broken down into CO2, water, energy and cell mass with the aid of microbes.
If the circle of the products begins with biodegradable materials, we don’t need to concern about potential recycling – moreover, the matter of the objects could be recycled – not by saving the materials, but by commanding the object to decompose into programmable particles or components that then can be reused to form new objects and perform new functions. The long-term potential of programing materials thus could be a more environmentally sustainable world in which fewer resources are necessary to provide products and services to a growing world population.
Chitin is a fibrous substance, a ubiquitous biopolymer which occurs naturally as a major component of the structural support in the skeletal or exoskeletal structures of lower animals, arthropods, fungi as the principal fibrillar polymer of the cell wall. It has structure similar to, cellulose. However, chitin in comparison to cellulose – has higher strength of the polymer matrix due to the increased hydrogen bonding capacity. Therefore, chitin provides more rigidity to the structures. Itself is hard, inelastic, and white.
For this project chitosan was extracted through deacetlylation reaction from mushrooms.
The results of this experiment are extremely diverse as well as the ways to obtain them. Chitosan bounds give the most satisfying results through the variety of the material properties i.a. strength, transparency, color and its self-shape forming ability . Increasing the amount of the plasticizer (glycerin) increases the flexibility of the material. If no plasticizer is added the substrates produce brittle material. Sodium alginate used to make the material more viscous for the 3d printing makes the samples less stress resistant.
FUNCTIONALLY DISTRIBUTED MATERIAL
Gradient materials are those whose properties can be adjusted accurately and continously and tailored to their particular use. The aim of the project was to create a system that gradually varies its functionality by varying the properties i.e. elasticity, stiffness, mechanical strength, flection, tension, transparency, density, for the real-world applications.
The gradation of the material properties – rigid and pliable, transparent and solid or colorful, heavy and lightweight - is possible by combining the components with a particular properties in various proportions.
The system is made of elements with various structural behaviour, which is informed by the simulation of the loads into the whole structure. In this way project investigates a multiscalar modeling, connecting empirical material design with a formal architectural aproach.
The functionality of the materials implemented in the structure is investigated in two directions: structure and light. The variability of the material distribution aims to create a complex, multifunctional body. Thus the material distribution grades from membranes to load-bearing areas and from transparent to solid.
The project employs an additive manufacturing (3D printing) as a method of fabrication, by extruding the paste of the material composition via robotically controlled system. 3D printing technology allows to produce geometrically sophisticated objects and structures.
The intermolecular attractions of the particles in the wet water-base material allow to create a continous graded system of heterogenous performance, which would not be able to achive using other fabrication methods. The viscosity of the materials allows also for total self-bonding and self-repair of layers in the print. The wet depositions of the bio-polymers are layerd flat and constructs find dry 3D shape by responding to internal directional evaporation stresses. Those stresses can be defined by geometrically designed heterogenous patterns and computer-contolled material distribution along the extrusion process.
Through the synthetisation of structural design patterns and the material variations it is possible to obtain functional and mechanical gradients. Mechanical gradients are obtained by modulating stiffness, pressure, and layering strategies. The size of the local diameter of load bearing members with respect to the global size of the structure is key to guarant self-support and bending stability for canilevered performance of the constructs.
To determine differentiated material distribution following strategies can investigated :
- pressure variation - which can be implemented along selected lines resulting in continuously varying material accumulation
- material concentration - can be assigned to each trajectory resulting in stiffness gradients from lower to higher concentrations
- layering - onto dry deposited material provides higher degree of reinforcement
The project explored the deposition logics of bio-composite materials for different geometrical approaches - the relationship between paths orientation, extrusion size and the material properties.
Once the chitosan-based polymer is extruded and dries, it changes its form by shrinking and bending, thus a strategy of the deposition needed to be defined. The study of the material performance after the deposition shows, that the shape changing is depending on several conditions: extrusion thickness, pattern, density, distance, curvature, angle, direction, material composition, as well as evaporation conditions i.e. humidity, temperature. The artefacts tend to shrink and deform into anticlastic shapes. The deformation of the extruded samples, which change their form from 2- till 3-dimensional surface upon the evaporation on the open air, was eliminated by using an air pressure box
Main parameters of functionally graded material fabrication in this project are based on: material strategies, pattern design and layering approach.
Design and making a hardware - extrusion tool for the liquid bio-composite printing, was an integral part of the thesis project. Controlling the state of the material before the deposition is a very important objective for the manufacturing process. A viscous-like materials involve the deposition of material in a viscous liquid form via a printing nozzle. Solidification of the material is achieved by curing following extrusion.
Before the material deposition, the material properties need to be considered i.e. flow control, due to viscosity changes, dimensional stability, due to shrinkage under evaporative hardening, phase separation, due to grain size distribution and even mold growth, due to contamination. Thus, the fabrication system must be informed by the material analyses. Working with the multiple material properties for functionally graded structures, requires adjustable deposition setups and an increased knowledge in the used materials and how they are applied into engineering solutions through proper control of the additive manufacturing in terms of production.
Fabrication method, which was used in this project for material deposition is the direct ink writing method. In this method the object is printed layer by layer, once a design of the object is given and the material is fed to the software and the material deploys a viscous colloid transported hydraulically.