Programmable Water-based Biocomposites for Digital Design and Fabrication across Scales by The Mediated Matter Group
Aguahoja is an exploration of Nature’s design space. A collection of natural artifacts were digitally designed and robotically fabricated from the molecular components found in tree branches, insect exoskeletons, and our own bones. Here, we propose a novel water-based design approach and fabrication platform that enable tight integration between material synthesis, digital fabrication, and physical behavior, at scales that approach – and often match – those of natural ecologies.
Nature made us half water. With water, natural ecologies facilitate the customization of an organism’s physical and chemical properties—through growth and biodegradation—as a function of biological and environmental constraints. This cycle of birth, adaptation, and decay allows ecosystems to use materials in perpetuity. In old-growth forests and coral reefs, waste is virtually non-existent. Within this framework, matter produced by one member of an ecosystem, living or nonliving, inevitably fuels the lifecycle of another. The result is a system fueled by water with unparalleled efficiency in the use of energy and resources.
By contrast, the built environment is comprised of artificial, inanimate objects that are designed to perform a finite set of predefined functions. The pace at which we build these structures has required us to extract raw materials from the earth and appropriate them far from their native habitats faster than they can be replenished. When their function is served or outlived, they become permanent waste in our landfills and oceans. Upon malfunctioning or degrading, a majority of plastics, woods, glass, and metals are never recycled.
Aguahoja recapitulates Nature’s material intelligence in the ways we design and fabricate the grown environment. Environmentally responsive biocomposite artifacts are composed of the most abundant materials on our planet – cellulose, chitosan, and pectin. These components are parametrically compounded, functionally graded, and digitally fabricated to create biodegradable composites with functional, mechanical, and optical gradients across length scales ranging from millimeters to meters. In life, these materials modulate their properties in response to heat and humidity; in death, they dissociate in water to fuel new life.
At the local level, these relationships serve as parametric design inputs to algorithms that generate graded geometric patterns based on material properties. These patterns serve to either enhance or countervail mechanical and optical behaviors within environmentally specific areas of the structure. Regionally, these patterns are mapped to structural gradients that take advantage of the variability in mechanical and optical properties enabled by slight alterations to chemical formulae, multi-material interactions, and fabrication parameters.
Derived from organic matter, printed by a robot, and shaped by water, this work points toward a future where the grown and the made unite. Aguahoja embodies the Material Ecology design approach to material formation and decay by design; it is a realization of the ancient biblical verse “From Dust to Dust”―from water to water.
Originally found @ The Mediated Matter Group website (read more)
Biocompuestos programables a base de agua para diseño digital y fabricación a escala
Aguahoja es una exploración del espacio de diseño de la naturaleza. Una colección de artefactos naturales fueron diseñados digitalmente y fabricados robóticamente a partir de los componentes moleculares que se encuentran en las ramas de los árboles, exoesqueletos de insectos y nuestros propios huesos. Aquí, proponemos un novedoso enfoque de diseño basado en agua y una plataforma de fabricación que permite una estrecha integración entre la síntesis de materiales, la fabricación digital y el comportamiento físico, a escalas que se acercan, y a menudo coinciden, con las de las ecologías naturales.
Originalmente encontrado en el sitio web de The Mediated Matter Group (leer más)
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