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Materials


Materials

  • 24 Pins

The 3D printing of homes and other buildings definitely has a place in the future of architecture as soon as the technology is scaled up to be able to produce large structures. We might be one step closer to that with the powder-based cement method of 3D printing, which was developed by researchers at UC Berkeley, headed by Associate Professor of Architecture Ronald Rael.

Powder-based 3D Printing Method Developed

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Building better and more sustainable batteries is certainly one of the goals for the future. And now, those packing peanuts used to protect fragile things from breaking during transport could play a major role in achieving this goal. A team of researchers at Perdue University has discovered that these packing peanuts could actually be used…

Integrating passive cooling into sustainable housing has been a must for most designers for a while now. And with the creation of the so-called Cool Bricks by the design firm Emerging Objects this feat just got a little simpler. Cool Bricks are 3D printed bricks that can be filled with water to bring the temperature in homes.

Bricks to Aid Passive Cooling

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Researchers at the University of Toronto have come up with a new kind of spray-on colloidal quantum dots (CQD), which is a breakthrough in the field as it doesn’t bind with oxygen atoms. The later is a problem with CQD as it causes some dots to forgo their electrons and become useless.

Printing homes rather than building them still seems like something out of a science fiction novel, but it might soon become reality. Earlier this year, a Chinese company successfully printed 10 houses in a single day, and now the UK-based Loughborough University signed a deal with the construction company Skanska and architecture firm Foster + Partners, agreeing to help develop and commercialize 3D concrete printing.

For towns and cities in coastal areas, harvesting wave energy makes a lot of sense. The company Albatern from Scotland recently came out with a unique solution for easy and affordable way to do just that. The so-called WaveNET is a modular and scalable array of floating generator units.

Being one of the most common construction materials, concrete makes up a large percentage of the world’s carbon emissions. In a time when all must be done to cut these emissions, it is imperative that this percentage is brought down.

MIT’s New Concrete Formula Could Cut Carbon Emissions by Half

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he efficiency of photovoltaic or concentrated solar power (CSP) plants depends on how much light can be captured and turned into electricity or heat. A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have made a breakthrough in this area by developing a nanoparticle material that could allow CSP plants to absorb and convert more than 90 percent of the captured sunlight into heat.

Breakthrough News for Improving Concentrated Solar Power Plants

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Discarded rubber tires may soon find a new use. A team of researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have come up with a method of harvesting the carbon black from them, which can then be used to create anodes for lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in electric vehicles and store energy produced by solar panels and wind turbines.

Car Tires Recycled into More Efficient Anodes for Batteries

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Dr. Jon Major, a researcher at Liverpool University has recently made the discovery that the chemical used to make tofu, and bath salts, could also be used to replace one of the most toxic substances, namely cadmium chloride, that are used to manufacture solar cells.

Could Tofu be the Answer to Greener Solar Cells?

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PostGreen Homes are using cork as cladding in their newest project in Fishtown, Philadelphia. They are working in collaboration with Orange Concept on this project, and the finished home will be simple and minimalistic, which will make it fit right in with the other buildings in the area.

PostGreen Homes Are Using Cork as Cladding and Insulation

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A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) has developed a new graphene-based supercapacitator, which is based on a nanoscale architecture

New High-performance Supercapacitator Developed in California

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A group of researchers at Stanford University have developed a new type of coating, which will allow solar cells to cool themselves. This breakthrough would eliminate the need for water and energy intensive coolants and ventilation, which is currently used to cool solar cells. It would also extend the life span of the solar cells considerably.

Using concrete as the primary construction material leaves a huge carbon footprint, which is why building green should focus on minimizing the use of it. Hempitecture is a firm, which is striving to create more awareness for one such green alternative, namely hempcrete, which is concrete made of hemp.

A Natural Concrete Made of Hemp

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The photovoltaic technology is frequently used to obtain energy these days. Since it was discovered in the 19th century that it is possible to get energy from sunlight, the ways of harnessing solar energy went through many different stages. The first prototype of solar cells was, for example, used to provide the satellite Vanguard I with energy in 1958 and the technology has been used in this area ever since.

A team of researchers at UC Berkeley is developing a hydraulic seafloor ‘carpet’ that could be used to harvest the energy of ocean waves and convert it to usable clean energy. Since waves are constant, as opposed to sun and wind, this could prove a viable source of carbon-free energy for coastal regions. Wave energy is considered a huge potential source of renewable energy, but the systems for harnessing it are still very underdeveloped.

Take Your Family Cargo Container Camping

Earth Bag House

Netherlands-based designer grinds up old building materials to make something new. Very similar to terrazzo and various countertops on the market.

Junk wood from pallet, refinished as herringbone floors.—A.T.

  • Deb Koerner
    Deb Koerner

    Love this floor, Pete!

balancing elements in landscape design

Beautiful wool felt and LED embedded rug.

For tile and stone applications, KERDI-BOARD. Sells at something like $2.60 per square foot.

Cosentino integrated sink and countertop with Silestone eliminates that edge b/w sink and surface.

Best New Home Products 2010

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