Natural Composite Pillar

The Natural Composite Pillar is one of the largest 3D printed biological artifacts today. It was created using a novel sustainable manufacturing technology we developed, deploying exclusively natural bio-materials. Those include Cellulose, which is the most abundant bio-material on earth, commonly associated with plant matter; and Chitin, a biomolecule extracted from the exoskeleton of insects and arthropods. Its physical and mechanical properties are in the range of high-density synthetic foams and low-density timbers. It is based on renewable resources, widely available in nearly every ecosystem on Earth and it is naturally biodegradable.

The pillar measures between 0.6 and 1.0 m in diameter, 5m vertically and weights approximately 100kg. It was 3D printed in 50 vertical segments, requiring in total 60 hours, and fused with the same material into larger blocks. Its organic form was designed using computation tools we created, aiming to minimize material use and production time. Geometrically and topologically it is a highly complex object that could have never been efficiently fabricated without our 3D printing technology.

The design represents one of the first large-scale demonstrations in sustainable additive manufacturing. It aims to pave the way towards more sustainable society by empowering a bioinspired approach to design and manufacturing.

Credits

  • Javier G. Fernandez, Material Science
  • Stylianos Dritsas, Digital Fabrication
  • Naresh Sanandiya, Research Post-doc
  • Yadunund Vijay, Graduate Researcher
  • Samuel Halim, Undergraduate Researcher
  • Ryan Teo, Undergraduate Researcher

References

  • Dritsas, S., Vijay, Y., Halim, E.P.S., Teo, R., Sanandya, N. and Fernandez, J. (2019) Additive Manufacturing with Natural Composites, Proceedings of the Association for Computer Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia, Intelligent and Informed, Wellington, New Zealand. http://papers.cumincad.org/data/works/att/caadria2019_106.pdf
  • Vijay, Y., Sanadiya, G.N., Dritsas, S. and Fernandez, J. (2019) Control of Process Settings for Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing with Sustainable Natural Composites, Journal of Mechanical Design, American Society of Mechanical Engineers. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4042624
  • Dritsas, S., Halim, E.P.S., Vijay, Y., Sanandya, G.N. and Fernandez, G. J. (2018) Digital Fabrication with Natural Composites, Journal of Construction Robotics, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41693-018-0011-0
  • Dritsas, S., Vijay, Y., Dimopoulou, M., Sanandiya, N. and Fernandez, J. (2018) An Additive and Subtractive Process for Manufacturing with Natural Composites, Proceedings of Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-92294-2_14
  • Sanadiya, N., Dimopoulou, M., Vijay, Y., Dritsas, S. and Fernandez, J. (2018)Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing with Bioinspired Cellulosic Materials, Scientific Reports, Springer Nature Limited. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-26985-2
  • Vijay, Y., Sanadiya, G.N., Dritsas, S. and Fernandez, J. (2018) Control of Process Settings for Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing with Sustainable Natural Composites, International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Quebec, Canada. https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2018-85994