Page 1

Volume 3 2021


Select key words and find relevant materials scientists or research groups within 4TU.

High-Tech Materials form the key to innovative and sustainable technology @4TU_HTM

4TU.HTM Research Programme New Horizons in Designer Materials | Visibility and accessibility of Materials Science & Engineering | Annual symposium Dutch Materials | 4TU.Joint Materials Science Activities | web application


Innovatieve Materialen (Innovative Materials) is a digital, independent magazine about material innovation in the fields of engineering, construction (buildings, infrastructure and industrial) and industrial design. A digital subscribtion in 2021 (6 editions) costs € 40,70 (excl. VAT) Members of KIVI and students: € 25,- (excl. VAT)

SJP Uitgevers

Postbus 861 4200 AW Gorinchem tel. +31 183 66 08 08


Gerard van Nifterik

Advertizing & sponsoring

Drs. Petra Schoonebeek

Innovative Materials platform: Dr. ir. Fred Veer, prof. ir. Rob Nijsse (Glass & Transparency Research Group, TU Delft), dr. Bert van Haastrecht (M2I), prof. Wim Poelman, dr. Ton Hurkmans (MaterialDesign), Jos Brouwers, (Department of the Built Environment, Section Building Physics and Services TU Eindhoven), Jilt Sietsma, (4TU.HTM/ Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE), Kris Binon (Flam3D), Guido Verhoeven (Bond voor Materialenkennis/SIM Flanders, Prof. dr. ir. Christian Louter (Institut für Baukonstruktion Technische Universität Dresden).

2 CO2 capture with cellulose fibres

The CORA project (an acronym for CO2 Raw Material from Air) aims to develop a technology with which CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere, stored or used as a raw material. Air is therefore a renewable and virtually inexhaustible raw material, with which the current fossil carbon sources (crude oil, natural gas and coal) could be replaced. Recently, a number of German institutes and companies have joined forces to develop a technology in which CO2 is removed from the air using a modified cellulose fabric.

4 Digital Bamboo Pavilion

Students from ETH Zurich developed an extremely lightweight and filigree bamboo pavilion using innovative digital fabrication technology: the Digital Bamboo Pavilion. The aim was to investigate the combination of a natural material with digital fabrication.

20 First road made of 100 % Dutch lignin

Infrastructure company Roelofs started on June 11th the construction of the world’s first test road made from bio-asphalt with Dutch lignin. This lignin is produced by Avantium, a technology company specialized in renewable chemistry. The fully plant-based lignin is used as a substitute for bitumen in asphalt, which is derived from crude oil. In collaboration with the province of Groningen, the 250-metre-long lignin-based test section will be constructed in the north of the Netherlands, on the N987 between Siddeburen and Wagenborgen. This test road is part of the CHAPLIN XL project, a collaboration of industrial and academic parties aiming to demonstrate that lignin as bitumen replacement works effectively at scale and leads to a significant CO2 reduction of road construction.

23 First 3D printed Milestone house

April 30, the first tenant of the first ever Dutch 3D-printed concrete home has received the key. The 3D printed house in Eindhoven - the first of five within ‘Project Milestone’ - fully complies with all of the strict building requirements of The Netherlands. Project Milestone is a joint construction and innovation project of Eindhoven University of Technology, Van Wijnen, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, Vesteda, the Municipality of Eindhoven and Witteveen+Bos. The group of TU/e professor Theo Salet is one of the driving forces of the project.

28 Circular electronics

It is expected that the amount of electronics - batteries, sensors, microprocessors, etc. - will increase sharply in the coming years. Ultimately, this leads to a growing mountain of electronic waste, and an imminent lack of raw materials, such as rare metals. Researchers all over the world are looking for solutions for this. For example, the Swiss EMPA developed a biodegradable mini capacitor; Texas A&M University (TAMU) came up with a metal-free battery, and Duke University engineers claim to have developed the world’s first fully recyclable printed electronics.

32 Digory: 3D printed ivory

In 1989, the trade in ivory was banned internationally. Since then, to restore ivory parts of ancient artifacts, substitute materials - such as bones, shells or plastic - must be used. However, there is not yet a really satisfactory solution. Researchers from TU Wien and the spin-off 3D printing company Cubicure GmbH have now developed a high-quality alternative material: ‘Digory’ (digital ivory), manufactured from synthetic resin and calcium phosphate particles.

Cover: Digital Bamboo Pavilion (pag 4) ETH Zürich



DITF cellulose fibers as filter material (Photo: DITF)

CO2 capture with cellulose fibres It will not be possible to achieve the climate targets simply by limiting global emissions, by saving CO2. This is because there will continue to be unavoidable CO2 emissions that will nevertheless have to be compensated. The CORA project (an acronym for CO2 Raw Material from Air) should do something about this. The aim of CORA is to develop a technology with which CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere, stored or used as a raw material. Air is therefore a renewable and virtually inexhaustible raw material, with which the current fossil carbon sources (crude oil, natural gas and coal) could be replaced. Recently, a number of German institutes and companies1 have joined forces to develop the technology.


So-called ‘direct air capture technologies’, are already being tested world­ wide. While several companies are already competing internationally to find the best technology for extracting CO2 from the air in large quantities and profitably, the economics still stand in the way of the really big breakthrough: The small proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere requires enormous amounts of air to be pumped through the filters in order to filter out a significant proportion of CO2. Separating the absorbed carbon dioxide from the filters in turn requires larger amounts of thermal energy. Economic operation is not possible under current conditions. In the further development of CO2 separation from air, it will therefore be necessary to turn several screws to increase the techno-

logical efficiency of the process while minimizing energy consumption. Cellulose-based fiber materials were chosen for the current research project. The fibers for the filters are spun out in the Biopolymer Materials Competence Center and chemically modified so that they couple amines to their surface. The amines ensure the temporary binding of the CO2 to the filter material. The advantage of using fiber-based cellulose lies in the open, air-permeable structure of fiber-based materials. Not only do they allow a high air throughput, but they also have a large specific surface area, which is advantageous for binding the largest possible volumes of CO2. The aim of the chemical modification of cellulose will be to optimize both the fiber itself

NEWS and the binding of the amines in such a way that the adsorption capacity for CO2 is exploited to the full. A completely new process will be developed as part of the research project.

Laboratory work on the promising CORA research project has started (Photo: ZSW)

CO2-absorption from air and desoption in the oller conveyors installation (ZSW)

For example, no static filter is used, as is usually the case. Instead, the filtration process is integrated into a continuous, energy-efficient process. If the system is connected to existing air streams such as building air conditioning systems or

exhaust air, no energy-intensive fans are required. The filter is designed as a special belt apparatus in which the cellulose fibers are processed into endless belts in the form of nonwovens. These belts, like a conveyor belt, run on roller conveyors through the incoming air stream and bind the CO2 there. The belts are then heated in three temperature zones in a spatially separated desorption area. There, water and CO2 separate from the amino groups. The continuous process made possible by the circulating nonwoven belts allows cost-saving and low-maintenance process control. The joint research project CORA receives

around 1.8 million euro in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). 1

Zentrum für Sonnenenergieund Wasserstoff-Forschung (ZSW, Baden-Württemberg), DITF Denkendorf, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg and Mercedes-Benz AG Sindelfingen. The consortium leader is the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW), Stuttgart.

Deutsche Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung Denkendorf (DITF)> More at ‘Themendesk Energie’ of ZSW (German)>

WE KUNNEN NIET ZONDER NATUUR Word nu lid op en ontvang 4 x per jaar het magazine Puur Natuur



Digital Bamboo Pavilion Students at ETH Zurich developed an extremely lightweight and filigree pavilion from bamboo, using innovative digital fabrication technology. The Digital Bamboo Pavilion explores the innovative combination of a naturally grown material with digital fabrication. Bamboo is an excellent sustainable building material, because of its rapid growth and very low weight-to-strength ratio. Customized computational tools were developed to design the ultra-lightweight structure, whose bespoke connections were manufactured using 3D printing technology. The structure covers more than 40 sqm with a total weight of only 200 kgs. The pavilion’s solar shading panels are designed with a specially developed computer process and manufactured from a 3D-printed recyclable, UV-re-


NEWS disassembled. The premounted parts of the pavilion were assembled on site in just 48 hours. According to the developers of Digital Bamboo, the project is a good example of how digital fabrication can lead to a sustainable future in construction. New architectural concepts could be developed by combining locally produced materials with 3D printed parts. The Digital Bamboo Pavilion is designed by students of the Master in Advanced Studies in Architecture and Digital Fabrication 2019-2020 at the ETH Zurich and is based on research at the chair of Digital Building Technologies. The connection at the center of the pavilion has a unique connecting system and is fabricated in stainless steel to meet the necessary mechanical requirements (Dinorah Martinez Schulte, dbt)

sistant thermoplastic on a lightweight Lycra textile. 3D printing strengthens and shapes the fabric into flexible custom panels. The composite elements are locally reinforced, so that less material is needed. The final construction is five meters high and made from more than 900 bamboo poles connected via digitally designed connections and manufactured in nylon and stainless steel to an accuracy of less than a millimetre. A total of 379 connections and a large number of small parts were used.

The construction system developed for the Digital Bamboo Pavilion aims to reduce construction logistics efforts while harnessing the benefits of digital fabrication for a more sustainable building culture. Under the principle of distributed prefabrication, the complexity of the structure is encapsulated in small parts that can be made all over the world with a 3D printer. These custom parts can be used to build high quality structures together with local materials. Thanks to the modular design, the construction can be quickly assembled and

ETHZ> Photography: ETH Zürich




Liquid metal reactor walls

Extreme conditions exist in a fusion reactor and the reactor vessel wall must be able to withstand extreme heat. Many promising wall materials have been tested already and found to be inadequate. A wall made of liquid metals now seems to be the solution. DIFFER and Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have received a NWO Investment Grant Large of 2,5 million euros to build a laboratory where the new technology can be investigated: the LiMeS lab. In the future, nuclear fusion could be a sustainable and safe source of energy, but before we reach that stage, we still need to overcome several obstacles. Inside a fusion reactor, an immense amount of energy is generated in the form of heat. Ultimately, that energy needs to leave by passing through the wall. Tungsten is a heat-resistant metal that often serves as the wall material. However, even that material is not good enough despite a melting point of 3422 °C. What is the point of a fusion reactor if the wall regularly fails? So, for several years, fusion research has been working on a new category of heat shield for the wall combining tungsten with liquid metal. After all, you cannot make a dent in a liquid, and neither can you fracture, break, or rupture it. Liquid wall materials are therefore seen as a solution to the ‘wall problem’. The reactor’s wall would then consist of a sponge-like structure made from tungsten containing the liquid metal. DIFFER and TU/e have worked together for several years on this research, and they lead the way in this field. They are jointly developing a plan to construct a laboratory for this research in which materials and designs can be developed and

TU/e researcher Peter Rindt. Foto: Bart van Overbeeke

tested: the LiMeS-Lab. This plan has now received financial support from NWO. The laboratory consists of two main components. A 3D printer will be constructed for the printing of tungsten and other materials. This a highly promising production method for the sponge-like structures required. It is a new technology. In addition, a large plasma setup will be constructed in which a prototype can be tested. Plasma will be fired at the prototype, and it will experience almost the same conditions as it would in an actual fusion reactor. Meanwhile, researchers will be able to observe how the components withstand the test. The 3D printer will be located in the Additive Manufacturing Lab of TU/e, and the plasma setup will be constructed at DIFFER. The equipment can also be used for other disciplines in which high temperatures play a role, such as for other energy sources, EUV lithography, and neutron sources. The construction of the LiMeS laboratory is expected to be completed in 2024. The project will strengthen the intensive collaboration between TU/e and DIFFER in the area of fusion research. Text: TU/e>


NEWS Wij leveren complete installaties voor ontstoffing, luchtreiniging en pneumatisch transport Technieken voor o.a.: - Ontstoffing van productieruimtes (MAC) - Reduceren van geuremissies (NER) - Reduceren van stofemissies (NER) Componenten die wij o.a. kunnen leveren: - Natfilters & Droogfilters - Cyclonen - Gaswassers - Topsteen- / Frogreinigers - Naverbranders

Natfilter met slibtransporteur

Projecten kunnen turn-key worden uitgevoerd Wij garanderen de emissie & grenswaarden Engineering, bouw en onderhoud in eigen beheer

Hoog vacuüm stofzuiginstallatie


Mesys Industrial Air Systems BV Molenstraat 27, 6914AC Herwen

+31 (0) 316 248744

Hét expertisecentrum voor materiaalkarakterisering. Integer, onafhankelijk, objectief onderzoek en advies. ISO 17025 geaccrediteerd. Wij helpen u graag verder met onderzoek en analyse van uw innovatieve materialen. Bel ons op 026 3845600 of mail




Exhibition Kunst & Kunststof

Designing for a better world Plastic is a rewarding subject for artists to criticize our consumer society. More and more artists and designers are showing that plastic should not be thrown away as a useless material. On the contrary, it should be used sparingly, reusing it, and making beautiful things out of it. At the same time, creative designers are looking for sustainable alternatives to plastic, such as materials based on natural raw materials, plants or micro-organisms. The Kunst & Kunststof exhibition (art & plastic) allows visitors to look at plastic differently, the material that is in the genes of Zuid Limburg and certainly also of Sittard-Geleen. The exhibition can be visited in Museum Contemporary Art De Domijnen in Sittard until September 19, 2021. The exhibition shows that young designers are increasingly looking for alternative materials. Like Polina Baikina, who made a set of household items from nettles. The Swiss Sarah Harbarth developed a biodegradable material


Lilian van Daal: Radiolaria (Foto: Lonneke van der Palen)

NEWS from banana peels. Mona Abusamra, industrial design student in Vienna and Belgrade, used bacteria and fermented liquids to arrive at the new plastic-like material New Culture. The Dutch Emma van der Leest is on the same track with a kind of bio leather made by bacteria. Together with Radboudumc in Nijmegen, she is developing a coating based on fungi to make this bio-leather water-repellent and to provide it with scent and colour. She already has a brand name for it: Fungkee. In addition to these experimental projects, Kunst & Kunststof shows examples of sustainable products from the Dutch plastics industry. Projects will be shown from the Chill LAB, the learning, working and research environment on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, where companies and institutions work together on innovations. Some of these presentations are interactive.

Kodai Iwamoto: plasticblowing

Kunst & Kunststof was composed by Leonne Cuppen (Yksi Connect) in collaboration with Marcel Sloots, Marlon van Schellebeek and Walter van Hulst.>


Gundega Strauberga

Waar ren jij mee? Ga naar



Hybrid sandwich element Earlier this year, the Finnish company Metsä Wood presented a hybrid sandwich wall element, specially designed for prefab construction.

According to Metsä Wood, the material - a combination of concrete and Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) - is an easy way to replace standard concrete

sandwich elements. According to Metsä, there is an urgent need for such more sustainable solutions, because the construction sector is responsible for 30 % of all CO2 emissions. The hybrid sandwich wall element combines innovation and guarantees an efficient construction. Metsä Wood collaborated with Finnish building and construction companies to design the optimal hybrid sandwich wall element, including precast element manufacturer Lipa-Betoni. According to Metsä Wood, almost one million square meters of concrete wall elements are produced in Finland every year, resulting in 45,000 tons of CO2 emissions. If all concrete walls were replaced by hybrid sandwich wall elements, CO2 emissions would decrease by 30,000 tons per year and 95,000 tons of carbon would be stored. Metsä Fiber’s new sawmill in Rauma is the first construction project to apply the hybrid sandwich wall elements. The elements are produced at the Lipa-



Left to right: concrete, insulation, Kerto

Video: the hybrid city

Betoni factory in Pieksämäki, Finland and were installed in June. Starting point for the new element design was a common residential sevenstorey building with a concrete structure including hollow-core slabs and party walls made from concrete as well. In the hybrid sandwich wall panel, the load-bearing internal panel is replaced with a Kerto LVL Q-panel. Otherwise, the structure of the element remains the same; the façade is made from concrete and the element has an insulation layer. As a material, Kerto LVL is very comparable with concrete. The compressive strength of the Kerto LVL panel is as high as that of C25 concrete, 26 MPa. Also, the tensile strength of the

panel is at the same level, whereas in concrete it is 10 % of the compressive strength without steel reinforcement. In a hybrid sandwich element, the

reinforcement is needed only in the façade.



‘Incremental Equilibrium’, Team: Raluca Bratfae-Igna, Ingo Aelbers, Lucas Mézière, Adrian Beijaard, Teacher: Henri van Bennekom (Bron: TUDelft)

Students design pavilion for Soestdijk Palace Complex Projects students have submitted eleven different designs for sustainable, circular and modular pavilions to the design contest set out by Soestdijk Palace. The winning design will be developed, built and installed at the estate when ‘Soestdijk Palace | Made by Holland’ opens. The assignment was to design a pavilion to house exhibitions and presentations on innovations concerning nature, health and a sustainable future. As well as sustainable and circular, the pavilion had to be modular so that it could be installed at various locations. The assignment was based on the AREA


Framework, an analysis and design tool developed in a Complex Projects graduation studio. This tool is used to approach sustainable design in a holistic and integrated way. It takes account of social and economic aspects as well as energy, the environment and raw materials. The AREA Framework takes a holistic approach, as a range of social and ecological issues require urgent action. Billions of people across the globe lack decent housing, have no access to healthcare and live below the poverty line. At the same time, our planet faces environmental threats, dwindling resources and climate change. To address these problems effectively, the UN has identified

a number of Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). In addition, more and more quality marks are being introduced to promote sustainability. However, current design and certification methods often lack an integrated approach. Purportedly sustainable designs do not always have a truly sustainable impact, for instance, because they fail to contribute sufficiently to the overall achievement of the UNSDGs. Using the AREA Framework ensures that these aspects are approached in an integral manner. Forty-eight students signed up for the Complex Projects studio. They were divided into 11 groups that worked on the

NEWS assignment for 10 weeks, the first three of which were devoted to research into the AREA Framework. This provided the basis for the integrated and comprehensive programme of requirements. The jury was impressed by the quality of all 11 of the designs presented. After a lengthy appraisal, the decision was taken to nominate two finalists: ‘Incremental Equilibrium’ and ‘Routes over Roots’. Both projects will require additional research and refinement of the design. In the coming months, the management of ‘Soestdijk Palace | Made by Holland’ will discuss how to take the process further. For more information, visit (Dutch)> Text: TU Delft Bouwkunde>

‘Routes over Roots’. Team: Jelmer Eising, Jaap Koopman, Agata Mila, Dino Vojvodic; Teacher: Aleksander Staničić

De Bond voor Materialenkennis (BvM) is een netwerk van experts op het gebied van materiaaltechnologie. Leden zijn onderzoekers en technici bij universiteiten, hogescholen, onderzoeksinstituten en de industrie. Het doel van de BvM is om kennis van de verwerking en toepassing van materialen te verspreiden, binnen en buiten het materialenveld. De BvM initieert symposia, cursussen, technisch-wetenschappelijke publicaties, onderzoeksactiviteiten en bevordert de educatie in materialen. De totale aangeboden technologische kennis van ieder deelgebied metalen, kunststoffen, keramiek, biogebaseerde materialen, lasertechnologie, verbindingen, verftechnologie, reologie, tribologie, corrosie, warmtebehandelingstechniek, duurzaamheid en betrouwbaarheid - maakt de BvM een krachtige beroepsorganisatie in Nederland en België. Voordelen van het lidmaatschap van de BvM:  Gratis studentenlidmaatschap: Vertel het verder!  BvM-leden genieten van het FEMS- en het EFC-lidmaatschap van de BvM FEMS is de Federation of European Materials Societies EFC is de European Federation of Corrosion  Korting op activiteiten van de BvM  Toegang tot een groot materialennetwerk

Kijk voor meer informatie en contact op de nieuwe website van de Bond voor Materialenkennis:



Photo: Poly Products/Gijs Proost Fotografie

Largest plastic 3D printed statues are along the Belgian coast Poly Products from Werkendam, The Netherlands, has been commissioned by Beaufort to 3D print a special work of art by artist Goshka Macuga. Beaufort is a three-yearly art event that has been taking place since 2003 along the seawalls, beaches and dunes of the entire Belgian coastline. Along this coast you will find thirty special works of art. Together they form the Beaufort Sculpture Park. It is the largest open-air exhibition in Belgium, set against the backdrop of the coast. The artwork, entitled ‘Family Module’, concerns a group of statues forming a small family scene. Its dimensions, with a total height of six meters, make it a striking appearance on the promenade of Nieuwpoort (Belgium).


Despite the size of Goshka Macuga’s artwork, the statues are extremely light in weight and can be placed without a heavy foundation. The XXL 3D printing device at Poly Products was installed in 2019 and has played a key role in the realization of this project. The basis of the work of art were clay models of approximately 40 cm high. The challenge was to magnify it ten times without making the objects heavy. A digital process with high-resolution scans, CAD post-processing and the XXL 3D printer offered the solution. Every detail from the models was copied and was eventually incorporated into this huge work of art. The 3D printing process did not imme-

diately lead to the final solution. The printer works with plastics, but part of the idea was to create a concrete look and not a ‘plastic look’. That is why the basic structure was printed with recycled rPETG with glass filling. It is the second time that Poly Products has supplied a work of art for the Beaufort open air exhibition in Belgium. In 2018, Poly Products delivered the so-called ‘De Drie Wijsneuzen Van De Panne’: three pillars in the middle of the beach, 15 meters high and with large heads. According to Poly Products, by using recycled materials with a very long lifespan and low environmental impact in production, the project is a good

NEWS example of a new way of production, using waste as a valuable raw material for new use for applications that have a positive impact on the environment. The materials of this artwork can be recycled after their use. Beaufort> About 3D printing at Poly Products>


Photo: Poly Products/Gijs Proost Fotografie


Cement free surface After seven years of intensive research and development, the German company METTEN Stein+Design has launched a new technology that makes it possible to produce concrete bricks, in which the cement in the top layer of the bricks has been replaced by cementless binders. According to METTEN, the new technology also makes the stone more resistant to external influences. The production of cement requires a vast amount of energy and a lot of CO2 is released. The use of a concrete block with EcoTerra technology reduces the CO2 load by 15 percent per m2. The use of recycled raw materials and climate-neutral production make the carbon footprint even better. In addition, the bricks have also been made ‘greener’ in terms of applicability by ensuring that they are available in permeable and water-passable variants with an air-purifying BlueAir top layer, if desired. Using a titanium dioxide catalyst, harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx)

from the air are converted into small amounts of water-soluble nitrate under the influence of daylight. This substance, which is harmless to people and the environment, mineralizes on the surface of the concrete block and is discharged to the sewer during the next rain shower. In addition to the nomination for the

‘German Design Award 2021’, the EcoTerra technology was awarded with the ‘Red Dot Innovative Product 2020’. The EcoTerra technology has been patented. More at METTEN>



Sustainable sloops from recycled material Sloepmakerij B.V., a new company in Woudsend, has started an initiative called ‘’. It is an electric sloop with a 3D printed hull made of waste plastic, which will be completed in a 100 % sustainable way. The choice of material ultimately determines the degree of durability. But what is ‘ durability ‘? In order to be able to answer that question, the sustainability of the sloops is now being mapped in cooperation with TU Delft. Sustainable sloops is an initiative of two Frisian entrepreneurs Marieke de Boer and Jörgen de Jong. A sustainable sloop is a 3D-printed sloop made of recycled material. The first ship is made of polypropylene (PP), which comes from household waste. The sloop is also equipped with an electric inboard motor and the outfitting is completely sustainable. The floors are made of bamboo, cork or flexiteek (ship decking); tube caps from PET bottles;


The Woudsend marina, where the production facilities will be located in 2022

NEWS cushion sets of used sails or denim and a durable filling. Even the flag is made from PET bottles. According to the company, customers can put together their own sustainable sloop as desired. Various studies are currently underway for all sustainable options, which should, among other things, clarify which materials are eligible and how sustainable they actually are. With this, the company wants to make a demonstrable distinction between a ‘good sales story’ and real sustainability. To demonstrate that the sustainable sloops from Woudsend are really sustainable, the company approached Delft University of Technology. Five students are currently working together with Prof. Jilt Sietsma, professor of Materials Science at the TUD, on a life cycle assessment, which looks at the environmental impact of the sustainable sloop in comparison with traditional sloops. The aim is to develop a model that can demonstrate the durability of the sloops. For example, it should become possible to make a sloop that is already 70 percent sustainable, even more sustainable through different material choices; by choosing a bamboo or cork floor for instance. In this way, the vessel can be supplied sustainably in gradations. TU Delft calculates which component contributes what percentage

The team of TU Delft and Duurzame Sloepen

to sustainability. The new sloop is now extensively tested according to the CE mark. This is necessary, because the material from which the hull is made did not exist initially, and strength calculations have to be made. The inspections are important, because they determine whether you are allowed to sail on the Wadden Sea or

the IJsselmeer, for example. The company has now purchased a marina, also in Woudsend, where the production facilities will be located in 2022. Duurzame sloepen>

A week of immersion in the world of 3D manufacturing! December 6 to 10 2021, International multi-event – Benelux region

The International multi-event - 3D Delta Week - will be orga­ nized from 6 - 10 December 2021. The 3D Delta Week will create value for users and providers along the 3D Manufacturing Value Chain. It will be the 3D manufacturing meeting point for expert and layman, inside or outside the Benelux region. The 3D Delta week is already gathering a dozen of renown events and will continue growing as the place-to-be, with activities aimed at specific sectors, at R&D and industry, at users and suppliers. The scheduling of events will allow participants to easily move from one activity to another. The Benelux area (the Delta) is a top region in terms of 3D

production, with a myriad of academic and applied research centres, a particularly high number of 3D-printers and numerous promising start-ups and established enterprises. On the user side, the region boasts a multitude of application areas - all in all, an extremely versatile and high-quality ecosystem. Now, the appropriate podium has been created to bring this leading 3D production region to the fore. The 3D Delta Week is an initiative initially set up by Brainport Eindhoven, Flam3D, Jakajima and Mikrocentrum.



MAKE IT MATTER MAKE IT MATTER is compiled in collaboration with MaterialDistrict ( In this section new, and/or interesting developments and innovative materials are highlighted.

3D printed wood US-based start-up Forust developed a method to 3D print sawdust into objects which look and feel as if they were cut from wood. The material can be sanded and refinished like real wood without the loss of realism. The strength of the material is also comparable to real wood. The technology allows the imitation of nearly any wood grain. It also allows for new design opportunities in wood. Since the parts are formed layer by layer without the need for supports, parts can be created that are complex or even impossible to make with traditional woodworking methods. More at MaterialDistrict>

Fenix Fenix NTA is a material produced by simultaneous application of heat and pressure, in order to obtain a homogeneous nonporous high density product. The core structure is composed of paper, impregnated with thermosetting resins. The outer surface is made of a real metal structure substrate treated with acrylic resins applied to the substrate as a multilayer coating. The result: an empowered metal surface: extremely matt, soft touch, anti-fingerprint and with a resistance to superficial micro scratches. More at MaterialDistrict>

Reveneer Pieces of veneer - left overs from industry - are pressed together to form a sturdy whole. By pressing the different layers of veneer together, combined with solid wooden parts, the material is shaped and gains its strength. Studio Jeroen Wand uses a simple vacuum technique which implies they don’t need to make difficult moulds, which also means they don’t need to use extra energy or materials. The manual process allows for freedom in arranging the different parts of veneer, where each object can have an individual, unique structure. More at MaterialDistrict>


MAKE IT MATTER Cork spray Decoproyec spray cork is an elastic and maintenance-free coating based on natural cork that protects buildings against wind and weather. The material is breathable, water-resistant and resistant to salty air, making it the ideal coating for buildings located by the sea. Decoproyec adheres particularly well to concrete, plaster and stone, but just as much to plastic, metal and wood.

More at MaterialDistrict>

Design solar panels Studio Solarix works on innovative developments for the colouring of energy-generating facade panels, paying a lot of attention to the correct structure and materialization of the colours in combination with high energy yields. Due to a matt appearance in the high-quality ceramic colouring technique in Solarix Colours, they ensure that the colours of their facade panels combine well with other materials in the construction, such as stone, composite wood or aluminium due to the matt appearance. More at MaterialDistrict>

Parabeam 3D Glass Fabrics Parabeam 3D Glass Fabrics are a 100 % woven fibre glass material consisting of two deck layers bonded by vertical glass piles. During impregnation with a thermoset resin, the fabric is compressed but then immediately rebounds to its original height. The resulting laminate is strong, stiff, lightweight, and durable. Main applications: Sandwich structures in the marine, construction and transport industries, storage tanks in corrosive environments. More at MaterialDistrict>

Doluflex Doluflex is a corrugated aluminium sheeting machined by a cold forming system. The corrugated sheet is glued between two plain layers, resulting an extremely stiff lightweight sandwich panel which can be bent and shaped into components.

More at MaterialDistrict>



First road made of 100 % Dutch lignin Infrastructure company Roelofs started on June 11th the construction of the world’s first test road made from bio-asphalt with Dutch lignin. This lignin is produced by Avantium, a technology company specialized in renewable chemistry. The fully plant-based lignin is used as a substitute for bitumen in asphalt, which is derived from crude oil. In collaboration with the province of Groningen, the 250-metre-long lignin-based test section will be constructed in the north of the Netherlands, on the N987 between Siddeburen and Wagenborgen. This test road is part of the CHAPLIN XL project, a collaboration of industrial and academic parties aiming to demonstrate that lignin as bitumen replacement works effectively at scale and leads to a significant CO2 reduction of road construction. In previous experiments with lignin ash, so-called Kraft lignin from a Finnish paper mill was used. In this case, a different type of lignin is applied, which is made entirely from wood waste from the Netherlands, and is also produced in the Netherlands.


Avantium develops and commercialises innovative technologies for the production of plant-based chemicals and materials. In its DAWN pilot biorefinery in Delfzijl (the Netherlands), the company converts woody feedstock into industrial sugars and lignin. Lignin can be used for energy generation, but is also suitable

for many higher value applications such as forbio-asphalt. In total, about 1,000 kg of Avantium lignin was added to the asphalt to replace a portion of the bitumen used in the production of the top layer of the test section on the N987. The DAWN biorefinery has been made


Foto: Avantium

CHAPLIN XL CHAPLIN (Collaboration in aspHalt Applications with LIgniN) is a consortium that wants to contribute to the greening of road construction. CHAPLIN-XL’s asphalt-producing partners intend to improve processes in their asphalt plants, enabling the technology of lignin-based asphalt to be scaled up to the level of system prototype demonstration in an operational environment. The CHAPLIN XL (Collaboration in aspHalt Applications with LIgniN) project members comprise academic and industrial organisations. Projectmembers are Avantium, Roelofs Groep, Utrecht University, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, Asfalt Kennis Centrum, H4A Infratechniek and Stichting Biobased Delta. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland -RVO) awarded the CHAPLIN XL project with a €1.5 million grant in 2020. More at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research>


INNOVATIVE MATERIALS possible with a financial contribution from the province of Groningen. The asphalt producing partners of CHAPLIN XL have improved the process to produce bio-asphalt at conventional asphalt plants, allowing for the scale-up of the lignin-based asphalt technology. Avantium closely collaborates with Roelofs, who has the ambition to transition to bio-asphalt. Roelofs will also construct a second test section on the N987 with conventional Kraft lignin from a Finnish paper mill. The CHAPLIN XL partners will extensively analyze the new lignin test road for performance, for techno-economic feasibility and for environmental benefits through a life cycle analysis. Preliminary results indicate that lignin-based asphalt allows a significant reduction in carbon footprint compared to current fossil fuel-based asphalt. More at Avantium> Roelofs>

Video: how it works

Avantium Avantium develops novel technologies based on renewable carbon sources as an alternative to fossilbased chemicals and plastics. The company currently has three technologies at pilot and demonstration phase. The most advanced technology is the YXY plant-to-plastics– technology that catalytically converts plant-based sugars into a wide range of chemicals and plastics, such as PEF


(polyethylene furanoate). The second technology is the Dawn Technology (see video) that converts non-food biomass into industrial sugars and lignin in order to transition the chemicals and materials industries to non-fossil resources. In 2018, Avantium opened the Dawn Technology pilot biorefinery in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. The third technology is called Ray Technology and catalytically converts industrial sugars to plant-based MEG

(mono-ethylene glycol). Avantium is scaling up its Ray Technology and the demonstration plant in Delfzijl, the Netherlands opened on November 7, 2019. Next to developing and commercialising renewable chemistry technologies, the company also provides advanced catalysis R&D services and systems to customers in the refinery and chemical industries.


Photographie: Milestone/Houben/Van Mierlo architecten (A.I: YuconVR)

First 3D-printed Milestone house April 30, the first tenant of the first ever Dutch 3D-printed concrete home has received the key. The 3D printed house in Eindhoven - the first of five within ‘Project Milestone’ - fully complies with all of the strict building requirements of The Netherlands. Project Milestone is a joint construction and innovation project of Eindhoven University of Technology, Van Wijnen, Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, Vesteda, the Municipality of Eindhoven and Witteveen+Bos. The group of TU/e professor Theo Salet is one of the driving forces of the project. Eindhoven University of Technology started the 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) research program in 2015. The goal of the program was to establish concrete printing as a viable new method to manufacture concrete elements and buildings, and to fundamentally understand

its processes. The research group operates and develops its own 3D Concrete Printer at the Department of the Built Environment. The printer consists of a four axis gantry robot with a print bed of approximately 9.0x4.5x3 m3, coupled with a concrete mixing pump, both con-

trolled by a numerical controller. The TU/e has found a group of contractors, building materials suppliers and engineering firms to finance and support the 3DCP program. However, he ambitions turned out to be higher. Fundamental research and



experimentation must lead to predictability of the behaviour of materials and equipment, in changing circumstances. With the ultimate goal that constructive elements and constructions are made in a responsible manner. This eventually led to the Milestone project, which will be used to build five 3D-printed concrete houses in the city of Eindhoven.

No experiment

Project Milestone can rightly be seen as a milestone for many reasons. Not only when it comes to the technology and the builders, but also with respect to design, the municipality, the future occupant and the landlord. Ultimately, the project will complete five houses, with both printing technology and home design becoming increasingly complex, as one is build after the other. If the ground floor is still being printed off-site, the two-storey fifth home will be manufactured entirely on-site. The development of the 3D concrete printing technique will therefore be beautifully visible. The project partners don’t con-


sider it as an experiment, but as an extensive innovation that can be essential for the (residential) construction sector. After all, concrete is the most widely used building material in the world.


According to the initiators, the advan-

tages of 3D-printed houses are evident. For instance, the concrete printer has the option of laying concrete only where it is structurally needed. Traditional poured concrete is solid and contains much more concrete than is necessary structurally. More is used, which is bad for CO2 emissions, because a lot of this


greenhouse gas is released during the production of cement. Furthermore, an important advantage is the freedom of design. Very detailed concrete constructions are possible with 3D concrete printing. In the traditional pouring of concrete, the formwork determines the shape of concrete. With concrete prints, builders will soon be able to make concrete details as small as a pea and round, concave or convex shapes. This makes concrete buildings and constructions with completely new shapes possible. A new option is the printing of different types, qualities and colours of concrete, all in one integrated product. This means that a complete wall can be printed with all the necessary functionalities. Such a wall must be reinforced with insulating wire fibres and kept dirt-repellent on the outside, and a layer on the inside that ensures pleasant acoustics. Additionally, it includes the required recesses and internal drainage pipes made of water­ proof concrete. That makes the construction process much faster. The 3D printing of concrete makes it possible to place sensors directly in the right place of the construction. Examples include wireless sensors that measure temperature, sensor-controlled lighting

or those used for security. These can be processed directly in the printing process, instead of afterwards, which saves time and money. Finally, concrete printing also has important advantages in terms of working conditions. Traditional concrete processing is heavy and demanding work. The vibrations of poured concrete and the braiding of the steel reinforcement meshes are heavy. These activities are not required with 3D-printed concrete.

TU Eindhoven/Milestone project> Photography: Milestone/Houben/Van Mierlo architecten (A.I: YuconVR)


3DPC 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) provides the potential to increase the productivity and reduce the environmental impact of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. The 3DCP research group adresses the scientific challenges to develop the technology towards structural applications of 3D printed concrete. The program is run by the chair of Concrete Structures of the Unit Structural Design, in close collaboration with the chair of Innovative Structural Design and chair of Architectural Design and Engineering. Within the 3DCP program, numerous PhD, MSc and other research projects is being conducted. The research activities are supported by industrial partners, a number private enterprises covering the whole production chain of concrete for construction. Their contribution and involvement is gratefully acknowledged: Ballast Nedam, BAM, Bekaert, Concrete Valley, CRH, CyBe, M-Tec, SGS Intron, Siemens, Verhoeven Timmerfabriek Nederland, Weber Beamix, Van Wijnen, Witteveen+Bos and stichting SKKB.



World first rechargeable cement-based batteries Suppose the construction of an entire building could be used to store electricity. Researchers from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently published an article outlining a new concept for rechargeable batteries, made of cement. The concept involves first a cement-based mixture, with small amounts of short carbon fibres added to increase the conductivity and flexural toughness. Then, embedded within the mixture is a metal-coated carbon fibre mesh - iron for the anode, and nickel for the cathode. Based on this concept, the researchers built a rechargeable cement-based battery with an average energy density of 7 Watthours per square metre (or 0.8 Watthours per litre). The energy density is low in comparison to commercial batteries, but this limitation could be overcome thanks to the huge volume at

Illustration: Yen Strandqvist


which the battery could be constructed when used in buildings. The researchers tested several combinations for the electrodes, and found that an iron anode, and a nickel-based oxide cathode yielded the best results. The conductivity of the cement mixture was increased by adding short carbon fibers. Experiments showed that 0.5 percent carbon was optimal. The possibilities seem to be limitless. The researchers see applications that could range from powering LEDs, providing 4G connections in remote areas, or cathodic protection against corrosion in concrete infrastructure. The system could also be used to supply electricity to monitoring systems on highways or bridges, where sensors operated by a concrete battery could detect cracking or corrosion.

However, the idea of the cement battery is still at an early stage. Important technical issues need to be solved, such as extending battery life and developing recycling techniques. Since concrete infrastructure is usually built to last fifty or even a hundred years, the batteries would need to be refined to match this, or to be easier to exchange and recycle when their service life is over. For now, this offers a major challenge from a technical point of view. More at Chalmers> This work was done by Doctor Emma Zhang and professor Luping Tang, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The results were published earlier this year in ‘Buildings’ titled ‘Rechargeable Concrete Battery’>


Recycled plastic in concrete Plastic waste is a global problem. In a recent study, researchers in MSU’s Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering found that plastic treated with bacteria could be added to concrete in significant quantities without compromising the structural material’s strength. The study was published in the journal Materials in April. Typically, adding plastic or other filler material disrupts the mix of sand, aggregate and cement that gives concrete its ability to bind together and support heavy loads. The MSU team discovered that certain bacteria can create a mineral coating around plastic particles, which makes plastic bond much better to cement. Concrete samples containing up to 5 % of the bacteria-treated plastic had virtually the same strength as traditional concrete, according to the study.

harmless bacteria Sporosarcina pasteurii, which grows on surfaces to form what’s called biofilm. The microbes, left in the solution for 24 - 48 hours, consumed added calcium and urea to give the plastic a thin, white coating of calcite, the hard mineral that constitutes limestone. The plastic was then mixed into small concrete cylinders that were crushed with specialized equipment to measure their strength. Although the researchers started with shredded plastic from disposable bottles,

they achieved similar results with a mixture of packaging plastics, which is used in a variety of containers but isn’t accepted at most recycling facilities. The next step is to study the material’s long-term durability as well as how the process could be scaled up. More at MSU> The paper ‘Biomineralization of Plastic Waste to Improve the Strength of Plastic-Reinforced Cement Mortar‘ is online>

Because concrete is used so widely and in such high volumes, replacing even 5 % of it could result in massive reuse of plastic. And because concrete is so energy-intensive to make, the plastic filler could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, concrete production is one of the country’s largest industrial sources of the climate-altering gas. In MSU’s Center for Biofilm Engineering, the researchers immersed the plastic in a water-based solution containing the

From left, engineering faculty Adrienne Phillips, Cecily Ryan and Chelsea Heveran, along with doctorate student Seth Kane and senior Michael Espinal show samples in their lab related to a recent study about recycling microbe-treated plastic into concrete (Foto: Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/MSU)



After two months buried in the soil, the capacitor has disintegrated, leaving only a few visible carbon particles (Image: Gian Vaitl/Empa)

Circular electronics (1)

The biodegradable battery The number of data-transmitting microdevices, for instance in packaging and transport logistics, will increase sharply in the coming years. All these devices need energy, but the amount of batteries would have a major impact on the environment. Empa researchers have developed a biodegradable mini-capacitor that can solve the problem. It consists of carbon, cellulose, glycerin and table salt. They used a conventional, modified, commercially available 3D printer. The real innovation is therefore not the device, but lies within the recipe for the gelatinous inks this printer can dispense onto a surface. The mixture consists of cellulose nanofibers and cellulose


nanocrystallites, plus carbon in the form of carbon black, graphite and activated carbon. To liquefy all this, the researchers use glycerin, water, two different types of alcohol and a pinch of table salt for ionic conductivity. To build a functioning supercapacitor from these ingredients, four layers are needed, all made by the 3D printer one after the other: a flexible substrate, a conductive layer, the electrode and finally the electrolyte. These layers then are arranged in a sandwich structure, with the electrolyte in the center. This creates a kind of mini capacitor that can store electricity for hours and is now capable

of supplying power to a small digital clock. It can withstand thousands of charge and discharge cycles and years of storage, even in freezing temperatures, and is resistant to pressure and shock. And last but not least, at the end of lifetime it is easily compostable. After two months, the capacitor will have disintegrated, leaving only a few visible carbon particles. According to EMPA, the bio-capacitor could soon become a key component for the Internet of Things. Such capacitors could be briefly charged using an electromagnetic field, for example, then they could provide power for a sensor

RESEARCH or a microtransmitter for hours. This could be used, for instance, to check the contents of individual packages during shipping. Powering sensors in environmental monitoring or agriculture is also conceivable - there’s no need to collect these batteries again, as they could be left in nature to degrade. More at EMPA>


The biodegradable battery consists of four layers, all made by a 3D printer. Its folded like a sandwich, with the electrolyte in the center (Image: Gian Vaitl/Empa)

Select key words and find relevant materials scientists or research groups within 4TU.

High-Tech Materials form the key to innovative and sustainable technology @4TU_HTM

4TU.HTM Research Programme New Horizons in Designer Materials | Visibility and accessibility of Materials Science & Engineering | Annual symposium Dutch Materials | 4TU.Joint Materials Science Activities | web application



Circular electronics (2)

A battery that degrades on demand The introduction of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries has revolutionized technology as a whole, leading to major advances in consumer goods across nearly all sectors. But the popularity of the batteries also creates problems in terms of sustainability and environmental impact. Current Li-ion batteries use significant amounts of metals loke cobalt and are responsible for a substantial environmental impact. Only a very small percentage of Li-ion batteries are recycled, increasing the demand for cobalt and other strategic elements. A multidisciplinary team of Texas A&M University (TAMU)-researchers developed a new metal-free battery platform that could lead to more sustainable, recyclable batteries. In an article published in the May issue of Nature, they outline their research into a new battery technology platform that is completely metal-free, by using a polypeptide organic radical construction. According to the researchers, these polypeptide batteries are degradable, they are recyclable, they are non-toxic and they are safer across the board. The all-polypeptide organic radical batte-


Metal-free, recyclable, polypeptide battery (Source: Texas A&M Engineering)

ry composed of redox-active amino-acid macromolecules also solves the problem of recyclability. The components of the new device can be degraded on demand in acidic conditions to generate amino acids, other building blocks and degradation products. The development of a metal-free, allpolypeptide organic radical battery that

degrade on demand, marks significant progress toward sustainable, recyclable batteries that minimize dependence on strategic metals. Much more at TAMU> The article is online>


Circular electronics (3)

Fully recyclable printed transistor

A 3D rendering of the first fully recyclable, printed transistor (Duke)

Engineers at Duke University have developed the world’s first fully recyclable printed electronics. By demonstrating a carbon based transistor, the researchers hope to inspire a new generation of recyclable electronics to help fight the growing global problem of electronic waste. The work was published on April 26 in the journal Nature Electronics, titled ‘Printable and recyclable carbon electronics using crystalline nanocellulose dielectrics.’ Part of the E waste problem is that electronic devices are difficult to recycle.

While pieces of copper, aluminum and steel can be recycled, the silicon chips at the heart of the devices cannot. A team led by Aaron Franklin, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke, now has demonstrated a completely recyclable, fully functional transistor made out of three carbonbased inks that can be easily printed onto paper or other flexible, environmentally friendly surfaces. The trick is in the use of a wood-derived nanocellulose ink. The researchers developed a method for suspending

crystals of nanocellulose that were extracted from wood fibers that yields an ink that performs admirably as an insulator in their printed transistors. Using the three inks in an aerosol jet printer at room temperature, the team shows that their all-carbon transistors perform well enough for use in a wide variety of applications. The team then demonstrates just how recyclable their design is. By submerging their devices in a series of baths, gently vibrating them with sound waves and centrifuging the resulting solution, the carbon nanotubes and graphene are sequentially recovered with an average yield of nearly 100 %. Both materials can then be reused in the same printing process while losing very little of their performance viability. And because the nanocellulose is made from wood, it can simply be recycled along with the paper it was printed on. According to Franklin, the research is primarily intended as a source of inspiration. He thinks recyclable electronics like this aren’t going replace an entire half-trillion-dollar industry, but hopefully demonstrate these types of new materials and their functionality as a stepping stone in the direction for a new type of electronics lifecycle. More at Duke University> ‘Fully printed all-carbon recyclable electronics’ at researchgate>

Video: Insulating cellulose is printed onto other carbon-based components to produce the first fully recyclable printed transistor Researchers test a biosensor made out of fully recyclable, printed electronics (Duke)



3D-printed ivory In 1989, the trade in ivory was banned internationally. Since then, to restore ivory parts of ancient artifacts, substitute materials - such as bones, shells or plastic - must be used. However, there has not been a really satisfactory solution so far. TU Wien (Vienna) and the 3D printing company Cubicure GmbH, created as a spin-off of TU Wien, have now developed a high-tech substitute in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Vienna’s Department for the Care of Art and Monuments and Addison Restoration: the novel material ‘Digory’ (digital ivory) consists of synthetic resin and calcium phosphate particles. It is processed in a hot, liquid state and hardened in the 3D printer with UV rays, exactly in the desired shape. It can then be polished and colour-matched to create a deceptively authentic-looking ivory substitute. The research project began with the res-


RESEARCH tauration of a 17th-century state casket in the parish church of Mauerbach by team prof. Jürgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology at TU Wien. The valuable casket was decorated with small ivory ornaments, some of which have been lost over time. The question was whether they could be replaced with 3D printing technology. Through numerous experiments, the team from TU Wien and Cubicure succeeded in finding the right mixture: tiny calcium phosphate particles with an average diameter of about 7 µm were embedded in a special resin, together with extremely fine silicon oxide powder. The mixture is then processed at high heat in Cubicure’s 3D printers using the hot lithography process. Layer by layer, the material is cured with a UV laser until the complete object is finished. By adding the right amount of calcium phosphate the material has the same translucent properties as ivory. The material contained 55 wt.% (30 vol.%) of TCP (tricalcium phosphate) particles to match the translucency of natural ivory. Measurements revealed that the density and hardness of Digory (1.78 ± 0.02 g cm−3; 35.7 ± 1.3 HV at a load of 200 g) is comparable to the density and hardness of ivory found in literature (1.7 - 1.9 g cm−3; ~35 HV). Afterwards, the colour of the object can

be touched up - the team achieved good results with black tea. According to theTU Wien, the new material ‘Digory’, not only is a better, more beautiful and easier to work with substitute for ivory available than before, the 3D technology also makes it possible to reproduce the finest details automatically. Instead of painstakingly carving them

out of ivory substitute material, objects can now be printed in a matter of hours. The paper ‘Developing an ivory-like material for stereolithography-based additive manufacturing,’ was published in Applied Materials Today, June 2021. TU Wien>

Kom in actie voor kankeronderzoek



New bio-inspired, light-capturing nanomaterials Inspired by nature, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), along with collaborators from Washington State University, created a novel material capable of capturing light energy making it suitable for photovoltaic applications. The results of this study were published May 14, 2021, in Science Advances. Nature provides beautiful examples of hierarchically structured hybrid materials such as bones and teeth. These materials typically showcase a precise atomic arrangement that allows them to achieve many exceptional properties, such as increased strength and toughness. Materials scientist Chun-Long Chen and his collaborators created a new material that reflects the structural and functional complexity of natural hybrid materials. This material combines the programmability of a protein-like synthetic molecule with the complexity of a silicate-based nanocluster to create a new class of highly robust nanocrystals. They then programmed this 2D hybrid material to create a highly efficient artificial light-harvesting system. Though these types of hierarchically structured materials are exceptionally difficult to create, the team managed to synthesize a sequence-defined molecule capable of forming such an arrangement. The researchers created an altered protein-like structure (peptoid) and attached a precise silicate-based cage-like structure (polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane, abbreviated POSS)


to one end of it. They then found that, under the right conditions, they could induce these molecules to self-assemble into perfectly shaped crystals of 2D nanosheets. This eventually resulted in a cell-membrane-like composition similar to that in natural hierarchical structures, while retaining the high stability and enhanced mechanical properties of the individual molecules. Subsequently they programmed the material to include special functional groups at specific locations and intermolecular distances. Because these nanocrystals combine the strength and stability of POSS with the variability of the peptoid building block, the programming possibilities were endless.

Once again looking to nature for inspiration, the scientists created a system that could capture light energy much in the way pigments found in plants do. The scientists eventually succeeded in constructing a system that could capture light energy. The system exhibited an energy transfer efficiency of over 96 %, making it one of the most efficient aqueous light harvesting systems of its kind reported so far. More at PNNL> The paper ‘Programmable two-dimensional nanocrystals assembled from POSS-containing peptoids as efficient artificial light-harvesting systems’ is online>

POSS-peptoid molecules self-assemble into rhomboid-shaped nanocrystals (Illustration by Stephanie King, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)


How to solve the autogenous shrinkage problem of geopolymers/alkali-activated concrete? Geopolymers or alkali-activated materials (AAMs), as eco­ friendly alternatives to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), have attracted increasing attention of researchers in the past decades. Unlike cement, which requires calcination of lime­ stone, AAMs can be made from industrial by-products, or even wastes, with the use of alkali-activator. The production of AAMs consumes 40% less energy and emits 25 - 50% less CO2 compared to the production of OPC. Despite the eco-friendly nature of AAMs, doubts about these materials as an essential ingredient of concrete exist, regarding, for example, their volume stability. Autogenous shrinkage is the reduction in volume caused by the material itself without substance or heat exchange with the environment. If the autogenous shrinkage of a binder material is too large, cracking might happen, which will seriously impair the durability of concrete. The aim of the study of Dr. Zhenming Li (TU Delft) was, therefore, set to understand and mitigate the autogenous shrinkage and the cracking tendency of AAMs. At first, the autogenous shrinkage of AAMs is studied experimentally. It is shown that self-desiccation is not the exclusive mechanism of autogenous shrinkage of AAMs. Other driving forces, such as the steric-hydration force between colloids associated with the change in ion concentrations in the pore solution, also play a role, especially in the very early age. Besides, AAMs show pronounced viscoelasticity, which means a large time-dependent deformation or creep. Based on the clarified mechanisms, two strategies are proposed aiming at mitigating the driving forces of autogenous shrinkage: internal

curing with superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) and the incorporation of metakaolin (MK). Experiments in this study prove that the strategies proposed above are very effective to reduce the cracking tendency of alkali-activated slag and fly ash concrete. This result indicates that SAPs and MK can be promising ingredients for large-scale use in AAMs mixtures. The numerical approaches developed in this study are also useful in future studies or applications to estimate the creep and relaxation in AAMs.

Figure 2. A schematic diagram of the stress development and the resultant cracking of concrete due to restrained shrinkage

The PhD research of dr. Zhenming Li was carried out in the Department of Materials, Mechanics, Management & Design, Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology. He was supervised by dr. Guang Ye and Klaas van Breugel. He successfully defended his thesis on the 15th of March 2021. The title of his dissertation is: ‘Autogenous shrinkage of alkali-activated slag and fly ash materials: From mechanism to mitigating strategies.’ The thesis can be found here> Figure 1. Schematic representation of cracking induced by restrained shrinkage



Orange peel makes transparent wood 100 percent renewable

Five years ago, scientists at the Swedish KTH Royal Institute of Technology developed transparent wood; a remarkable material that allows light to pass through and also was able to store heat. (Innovative Materials 2016, volume 3.) Recently, they have taken it to another level by making their composite 100 percent renewable and even more translucent. The key to making wood into a transparent composite material is to strip out its lignin, the major light-absorbing component in wood. However, lignin also gives wood its strength. So the empty pores left behind by the absence of lignin need to be filled with something that restores the wood’s strength and allows light to permeate.

Unlike other transparent wood composites developed during the past five years, the material developed at KTH is intended for structural use. It shows heavy-duty mechanical performance: with a strength of 174 MPa (25.2 ksi) and elasticity of 17 GPa (or about 2.5 Mpsi). According to the researchers, this new technology could enable a yet unexplored range of applications, such as smart windows, wood for heat-storage, wood that has built-in lighting function - even a wooden laser.

Swedish KTH Royal Institute of Technology> The results were recently published in Advanced Science, titled ‘High performance, fully bio-based, and optically transparent wood biocomposites,’ Advanced Science, DOI: 10.1002/ advs.202100559. The article is online>

In early versions of the composite, researchers at KTH’s Wallenberg Wood Science Center used fossil-based polymers. Now, the researchers have successfully tested an eco-friendly alternative: limonene acrylate, a monomer made from limonene. Limonene acrylate is made from renewable citrus, such as peel waste that can be recycled from the orange juice industry. The new composite offers optical transmittance of 90 percent at 1.2 mm thickness and remarkably low haze of 30 percent, the researchers report.


The latest version of transparent wood developed at KTH is more translucent, and it is made with renewable polymer (Photo: Céline Montanari)


From CO2 to SiC Plants are unparalleled in their ability to capture CO2 from the air, but this benefit is temporary, as leftover crops release carbon back into the atmosphere, mostly through decomposition. Researchers of Salk Institute for Biological Studies (California) have proposed a more permanent, and even useful, fate for this captured carbon by turning plants into a valuable industrial material silicon carbide (SiC), offering a strategy to turn an atmospheric greenhouse gas into an economically and industrially valuable material. SiC is an ultrahard material used in ceramics, sandpaper, semiconductors and LEDs. In a new study, published in the journal RSC Advances on April 27, 2021, scientists at Salk transformed tobacco and corn husks into SiC and quantified the process with more detail than ever before. The Salk team transformed plant material into SiC in three stages. First, the researchers grew tobacco,

chosen for its short growing season, from seed. They then froze and ground the harvested plants into a powder and treated it with several chemicals including a silicon-containing compound. In the third and final stage, the powdered plants were petrified (turned into a stony substance) to make SiC, a process that involves heating the material up to 1600 °C. Through elemental analysis of the plant powders, the authors measured a 50,000-fold increase in sequestered carbon from seed to lab-grown plant, demonstrating plants’ efficiency at pulling down atmospheric carbon. Upon heating to high temperatures for petrification, the plant material loses some carbon as a variety of decomposition products but ultimately retains about 14 percent of the plant-captured carbon. The researchers calculated that the process to make 1.8 g of SiC required about 177 kW/h of energy, with the majority of that energy (70 percent) being used for the furnace in the petrification step. The authors note that current manufacturing processes for SiC carry comparable energy costs. So while the production energy required means that the plant-to-SiC process isn’t carbon neutral, the team suggests that new technologies created by renewable energy companies could bring down energy costs. Next, the team hopes to explore this process with a wider variety of plants, in particular plants like horsetail or bamboo, that naturally contain large amounts of silicon. More at Salk> The paper ‘Plant-based CO2 drawdown and storage as SiC’ (DOI: 10.1039/d1ra00954k) is online>

Scanning electron microscopy image of SiC petrified corn husks (Credit: UC San Diego)



Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) supports companies with international ambitions The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is an initiative of the European Commission that supports entrepreneurs in seeking partners to innovate and do business abroad. The Network is active in more than 60 countries worldwide. It brings together 3,000 experts from more than 600 member organisations – all renowned for their excellence in business support.


Every company can participate by adjusting its profile to the database. This company will be brought to the attention in the country in which it wants to become active. At the same time it is possible to search for partners. EEN advisers actively assist in compiling the profile, which is drawn up in a certain format. The EEN websites also contain foreign companies that are looking for Dutch companies and organizations for commercial or technological cooperation. The EEN advisers support the search for a cooperation partner by actively deploying contacts within the network. In addition, Company Missions

and Match Making Events are regularly organized. All these services are free of charge. There are five types of profiles:

• Business Offer:

the company offers a product

Video: How Enterprise Europe Network works

• Business Request:

the company is looking for a product

• Technology Offer:

the company offers a technology

• Technology Request:

the company is looking for a technology

• Research & Development Request:

the organization seeks cooperation for research

When a company has both a Business Offer and a Business Request (or another combination), two (or even more if applicable) profiles are created. The profile includes the most essential

information about the nature of the supply or demand, the ‘type of partner’ that is intended and the expected cooperation structure. Get in touch with your local network contact point by selecting the country and city closest to where your business is based. They can help you with advice, support and opportunities for international partnerships. For sustainable building and the creative industry, contact ir. drs. Hans Kamphuis: T: +31 (0) 88 042 1124 M: 06 25 70 82 76 E: For Materials contact Nils Haarmans: T: +31 (0) 88 062 5843 M: 06 21 83 94 57 More information websites can be found at the Europe Network websites:


ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK The Enterprise Europe Network Materials Database: Request for partnership: July 2021. Intrested? contact>

British provider of sustainable packaging solutions seeks a manufacturer of compostable packaging A UK supplier of biodegradable and fully compostable packaging products seeks partners that are able to produce air cushion and air quilt packaging, shrink wrap, and shipping bags from compostable materials under the framework of a manufacturing agreement.

German company seeks manufacturer for wooden brush handles and source for raw materials The German company became one of the European leading manufacturers of fine brushes. The company’s products are used for hair and body, the household and for pets. The company is looking for a manufacturer in the framework of a manufacturing agreement to cover its additional material needs.

Spanish architecture, interior design and furniture design company is looking for manufacturers and suppliers of sustainable, technological and singular products/services A Spanish architecture, interior design, branding and furniture design company is looking for manufacturing and supplying agreements to acquire innovative products/services for its projects. The SME carries out disruptive sustainable projects in the tourism and residential sector, applying technological innovation when possible. The company is committed to take part in projects that contribute to energy saving and are beneficial to the environment.

Danish supply agencies seeks innovative and high-quality supplier of roofing shingles

A Danish company operating as local sales representative/sales platform for international suppliers addressing the building and construction industry is looking for new suppliers of high quality and CE-marked roofing felt/composite shingles for building and construction. The company offers access to the Danish and possibly also Scandinavian markets through a solid network of contractors as well as key resellers in the market(s), via a supplier agreement.

A German online food delivery service is looking for a porcelain manufacturer to produce custom food to-go packaging according to design requirements A German sustainable online food delivery service is looking for a supplier/manufacturer of porcelain that can produce porcelain to-go packaging according to the design requirements set by the German company. The company is interested in partnerships in the frame of a manufacturing agreements.


15 -16 22




9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.





sc o b


og ert

L N ( h

‘s-H , n lle

ha t n ba

Free entrance


Partners of the Kunststoffenbeurs: NRK PVT verwerkers, PlasticsEurope, Quip - Plast, K&R, Kunststofmagazine, Rethink

Register directly via

Knowledge and networking event

Materials+Eurofinish+Surface 2021 The central meeting place in the Benelux with all the aspects for a good and durable final product

This you can discover: 15 and 16 September 2021 09.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Brabanthallen, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL)

Free entrance Register directly via www.materials-eurofini More info:


• Inspiring exhibition floor with over 100 exhibitors • Focus on materials, analysis, bonding and surface techniques • Extensive and high-quality conference program • International Meet & Match • Demonstrations and innovations • VIP Meeting Areas • Presentation of the Borghardt Award • Simultaneously with Kunststoffenbeurs • Simultaneously with Nederlandse Metaaldagen Organization:

EVENTS The corona crisis makes it uncertain whether events will actually take place on the scheduled date. Many events are postponed or online. The Agenda below shows the state of affairs as of July 2021. For recent updates: Additive Manufacturing Forum 2021 21 - 22 July 2021, Berlin

Architect@Work 2021 Belgium 21 - 22 October 2021, Kortrijk

Machineering 8 - 10 september 2021, Brussels Expo

iENA Nuremberg 4 - 7 November 2021, Nuremberg

Kunststoffen 2021 15 - 16 September 2021, Den Bosch

BOUWXPO 12 - 14 November 2021, Kortrijk

Materials+Eurofinish+Surface 15 - 16 September 2021, Den Bosch

Fastener Fair Stuttgart 2021 9 - 11 November 2021, Stuttgart

Nederlandse Metaaldagen 15 - 17 September 2021, Den Bosch

3D Delta week 6 - 10 December 2021

Plastics Recycling World Exhibition 2021 29 - 30 September 2021, Essen

Digital BAU 15 - 17 February 2022, Keulen

Vitrum 2021 5 - 8 October 2021, Milano

Solids 2022 16 - 17 February 2022, Dortmund

Deburring EXPO 12 - 14 October 2021, Karlsruhe

Ulmer Betontage 2022 22 - 24 February 2022, Ulm

Fakuma 12 - 16 October 2021, Friederichshafen

ESEF 2022 15 - 18 March 2022, Utrecht

Euro PM2021 Congress and Exhibition 17 - 20 October 2021, Lissabon

JEC World 2022 8 - 10 March 2022, Paris-Nord

Glazing Summit 2021 21 October 2021, Birmingham

BLE.CH 2022 8 - 10 March 2022, Bern


Innovative Materials, the international version of the Dutch magazine Innovatieve Materialen, is now available in English. Innovative Materials is an interactive, digital magazine about new and/or innovatively applied materials. Innovative Materials provides information on material innovations, or innovative use of materials. The idea is that the ever increasing demands lead to a constant search for better and safer products as well as material and energy savings. Enabling these innovations is crucial, not only to be competitive but also to meet the challenges of enhancing and protecting the environment, like durability, C2C and carbon footprint. By opting for smart, sustainable and innovative materials constructors, engineers and designers obtain more opportunities to distinguish themselves. As a platform Innovative Materials wants to help to achieve this by connecting supply and demand. Innovative Materials is distributed among its own subscribers/network, but also through the networks of the partners. In 2021 this includes organisations like M2i, MaterialDesign, 4TU (a cooperation between the four Technical Universities in the Netherlands), the Bond voor Materialenkennis (material sciences), SIM Flanders, FLAM3D, RVO and Material District.