Materials/ Construction

March 14, 2013 – Seminar 6

Group Members:
Matt Hagen, Carson Wiebe, Jon Manique, Kevin Celestino, Ryan Lewis, Kyla Crawford, Fernanda Ribeiro de Andrade, Evan Taylor.

Mau, Bruce. “Massive Change.” Phaidon, 2004.

The article discussed and focus’ on super materials which can be defined as super light, hard, small, and smart materials. These materials are focused on the concepts of bio mimicry and how they can be applied in various ways to architecture without intervening or harming the animals themselves. For instance, rhino’s use their horns to dig and spear, and often crack as a result. As the horn has no living cells, it repairs on its own even though its composed of micro-fiber hairs. This concept of hardness, self-healing, and regeneration is being looked at in ways of how it can be applied to materials and architecture. In addition, Spider silk is analyzed as an alternative to various strings as its stronger when woven with five other types of spider silk. Lastly, a new type of electronic skin that is capable of perceiving/ feeling particular sensations is being introduced through ways of electronic current.

Personal Reflection Generated from Group Discussion:
Pertaining not solely to the article, but also what was presented in class, I believe that biomimicry is definitely a viable solution. I have particular interest in what was shown in class, being the material that was made by NASA as well as the genetic combination between spiders and goats. Scientists had strategically placed spider genes in goats so that their milk produced string/ fiber that were stronger then typical string. Although there might be moral issues in the process, the notion was proven not to harm the goats themselves or create any genetic defect. I think that animals and plants alike all have their pros and cons and the notion of cross-connecting particular gentic characteristics is what must be done. To find the proper combinations and distinguish where they are best suited in terms of application will give us the outcome we want. Obviously, it comes down to a time, money and technology, but none the less I believe it to be the right direction.

Sarki, J, S.B. Hassan, V.S. Aigbodiion, J.E. Oghenevweta. “Potentials of using coconut shell particle fillers in eco-composite materials.” Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 2011, Vol.509(5), pp. 2381-2385.

The article looks at the application of coconut shell particles and its composites to microstructures and the benefits and effects that take place when incorporating them into eco-buildings. Eco-composites, such as coconuts, are made from natural materials that are non-toxic and biodegradable. They offer reduced dependence on non-renewable energy/ material sources, lower pollution, and green house gas emissions. They propose an environmentally safe and to a degree, just as strong reinforcement in comparison to typical materials such as glass and carbon.
Coconut shell particle fillers were mixed with epoxy resin and hardener, and applied to eco-composite materials for analysis. The general conclusion showed an increase in tensile strength and hardness but lost impact strength. The application has clearly shown improvements but also deficiencies as well, iterating the notion that the concept is a good start but needs to be developed further to reach a viable alternative/ solution.

Personal Reflection Generated from Group Discussion:
I think that this is an awesome and smart approach/ alternative to start with when creating more sustainable solutions. To use this concept not entirely as a substitution but an application solves one of the biggest catalysts of greenhouse gas emissions, being carbon footprint. It essentially is using natural alternative from ones that are produced in factories and has been proven to have potentials in strengthening certain characteristics as a result. Obviously the article solely focuses on the application of coconuts as they are renown for their strength. With this being said, I think that this is the right direction as we have just started to scratch the surface. Comparing this to concept and ideas of the first article, the notion of using 6 different types of spider fiber has proven to be stronger then factory produced string. The same concept can possibly be applied to particle fillers, not solely applying components of coconut but in combination with other particles can reach higher potentials and greater results.

Photo 1:
Coconut Components – Studied for Material Substitution
SingChan. Coconut Halved). Photograph. Flickr. February 27th, 2009.

Photo 2:
Rhino Horn – Studied for its Regenerative Qualities
Logan R. Horn. Photograph. Flickr. September 28th, 2008.


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