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3D Printed Home Is the First Made Entirely of Bio-Based Materials


3D Printed Home

The University of Maine has utilized industrial waste to construct an experimental 3D printed home

Maine lacks sufficient cheap homes and people to construct more, but its considerable forestry sector produces plenty of extra wood fiber. Researchers at the University of Maine have utilized industrial waste to construct an experimental 3D-printed home, BioHome3D, which they claim is totally recyclable and bio-based.

According to Habib Dagher, executive director of the Advanced Structures & Composites Center at the University of Maine, which developed the 600-square-foot prototype, the state’s paper mills were formerly a consistent consumer of wood scraps from the forestry sector. In recent years, however, some of these mills have closed, resulting in an abundance of material.

Dagher informs AD that a great deal of this waste material is being created annually in our state and area. We have access to over a million tons of discarded wood residues every year, which may be used to construct many homes.

3D Printed Home

The durability of the reused materials will be determined by testing the strength of the newly printed materials

The walls, insulation, roof, and flooring of the 3D-printed model house are comprised of wood fibers and plant-based resins and were manufactured on what the university claims are the world’s largest polymer 3D printer. Despite the fact that concrete is utilized for foundational pillars pushed into the ground, Dagher anticipates that future iterations will not require any concrete. “These  might be bio-based in future designs,” he argues. In addition, he mentions that his crew utilized “a fraction” of the concrete required for a conventional construction foundation’s posts.

Given Maine’s windy and icy climate, Dagher’s team intends to employ sensors to monitor the structure’s resilience, as well as recycle it five times, meaning the components will be placed through a grinder, reshaped into a letter shape, and utilized again in 3D printing. The durability of the reused materials will be determined by testing the strength of the newly printed materials.

 Dagher explains that the procedure is performed five times to examine five recycling prospects that may encompass 500 to a thousand years of reuse. Other problems about sustainability, such as whether painted interior walls are still recyclable, would be addressed in upcoming experiments, he added. The team has not yet published any publications or research related to the initiative, although it is in the process of doing so.

3D Printed Home

the first 3D printed dwellings in the world

You are not mistaken if you believe you have heard about other 3D-printed houses composed of natural materials. In the Italian city of Ravenna, Mario Cucinella Architects debuted a 645-square-foot tower built entirely of native clay last year. The house, named Tecla, was among the first 3D-printed dwellings in the world. Bjarke Ingels Group and Icon are also in the midst of constructing the largest 3D-printed community in the world in Texas.

However, according to Dagher, the primary distinction between other 3D-printed homes and the University of Maine’s prototype is the material from which they are constructed. Lavacrete, a cement-based mixture, is being used in the development of the Texas community. And Tecla is composed of clay, which, although natural, is not bio-based (meaning that it comes from something that was once alive). In contrast, wood fibers are bio-based since they are derived from plants.

3D Printed Home

probably does not produce waste if it’s demolished

Benay Gürsoy Toykoc, an assistant professor of architecture and director of the ForMat Lab at the Pennsylvania State University who was not involved in the University of Maine’s project, told that one of the benefits of using bio-based materials is that “it probably does not produce waste if it’s demolished, compared to some of the petrochemical materials that we use in construction.” In addition, as Dagher adds, wood is a renewable resource, which enhances the material’s appeal.

“3D printing is not new,” explains Gürsoy Toykoc, who explores applications for mycelium as a bio-based construction material. Mycelium is the root structure of fungus. “However, the fact that they 3D-printed a bio-based material on that scale — and I want to emphasize that scale — is novel.”

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