CONTENT Nummer 5 2021
LARGE-SCALE PRODUCTION OF BIOPLASTICS FROM RESIDUAL FLOWS THE LONGEST 3D-PRINTED CONCRETE BICYCLE BRIDGE IN THE WORLD HILO OPENED BUILDING OUT OF CONCRETE WITHOUT POURING CONCRETE STACKABLE CERAMIC FACADE PROTOTYPE WOOD THAT CAN CUT LIKE STEEL
INNOVATIVE MATERIALS 5 2021
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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)
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12 Large-scale production of bioplastics from residual flows one step closer Towards a sustainable production of bioplastics from residual flows, PHA2USE and the Interreg NWE project WoW! recently took another important step. In the first extraction campaign on a pilot scale, more than 18 kg of PHBV from sewage sludge was produced. This PHBV, a fully biodegradable bioplastic, is now being tested by companies on various commercial applications.
16 The longest 3D-printed concrete bicycle bridge in the world
With a length of 29 metres, the Dutch city of Nijmegen owns the longest 3D printed concrete bicycle bridge in the world. The project is unique because the bicycle bridge has been designed with complete freedom of form, thanks to research at Eindhoven University of Technology and the further development of 3D concrete printing technology. The new appearance in De Geologenstrook park is characterised by its round and wavy shapes.
18 HiLo opened
HiLo, the latest addition to Empa and Eawag’s NEST research building in Duebendorf, Switzerland officially opened on October 6. The innovative unit illustrates nearly a decade of formative ETH Zurich research in architecture and sustainable technologies.
22 Building out of concrete without pouring concrete
Researchers of the science and technology institute EPFL (Lausanne Switzerland) have built a footbridge prototype using reinforced-concrete blocks from walls of a building being renovated. The blocks were cut into individual pieces on site and assembled into a prestressed arch. This project, which marks the first time concrete has been reused in this way, is part of an initiative to substantially shrink the construction industry’s carbon footprint by adopting a circular economy approach. The footbridge was inaugurated at a ceremony at the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg on 11 October.
24 Stackable ceramic facade prototype
A team of University of Buffalo (UB) architecture faculty has developed a stackable ceramic terracotta facade system that opens new possibilities in so-called usergenerated architecture. The research, being pursued with a team of faculty and students from Alfred University’s College of Ceramics, was presented at the 2021 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW), which took place virtually on August 19.
32 Wood that can cut like steel
Widely used hard materials, like alloys and ceramics, are often not renewable and expensive. Their production requires high energy consumption and often leads to negative environmental impacts. Scientists of the University of Maryland (UMD) now demonstrated a potential low-cost and sustainable hard material made from natural wood.
36 New insulation material: more efficient electricity distribution
High-voltage direct current cables (so-called HVDC cables) which can efficiently transport electricity over long distances play a vital role in our electricity supply. Optimising their performance is therefore an important challenge. Recently Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, presented a new insulation material up to three times less conductive, offering significant improvements to the properties and performance of such cables.
Cover: The 3D-printed formwork for the rib-stiffened funicular floor on the east side (Photo: ETH Zurich, Digital Building Technologies/Andrei Jipa) page 18
INNOVATIVE MATERIALS 5 2021
ArtSea Ink: a colourful, seaweed-based ink for 3D printing 3D printing is becoming more and more popular, also among artists, but the conventional rigid plastic-based printing materials used in many 3D printers require a lot of heat to be processed. According to an article in the journal ACS Omega, researchers at Northwest National Laboratory have now developed a new, environmentally friendly ink especially for 2D and 3D printing, which can be processed at room temperature. While most 3D printers use petroleum-derived inks, the researchers have now explored whether alginate could be used as an inexpensive, sustainable bio-ink. In water, the material forms a viscous gum that transforms into a robust hydrogel when cross-linked with calcium ions. But whereas plastics are available in many colours, alginate is almost colourless. For the use of 3D printing techniques by, for example, artists, colour is essential. For this reason the researchers added mica powders to the alginate and thus managed to develop a new vibrant, coloured ink for 2D and 3D printing.
Although the alginate art currently isn’t stable over the long term, this could actually be an advantage because the material, unlike plastic, will biodegrade quickly if discarded, the researchers say.
The article ‘Pearlescent Mica-Doped Alginate as a Stable, Vibrant Medium for Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Art’ is online> ACS>
They prepared an 8% alginate solution in water and added one of eight different colours of mica pigments. The mica powders dispersed completely in alginate solutions - creating vibrant, pearlescent colours. The researchers could control the consistency of the media by adding more or less of the calcium chloride crosslinker. The result: ArtSea Ink, a new colorful ink, suitable for 2D and 3D printing. 3D structures were stable over a period of several weeks if kept in a neutral, 200 mM calcium chloride solution.
Mica powders were dispersed in alginate solutions to make vibrant, pearlescent inks for 3D printing (Credit: Adapted from ACS Omega 2021, DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.1c01453)
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From waste plastic to asphalt In collaboration with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) scientists of the University of Missouri, MU College of Engineering, have developed a new pavement mixture that utilizes recycled plastic. Asphalt pavement mixtures are typically created from a mixture of asphalt and other materials called ‘aggregates,’ such as stone, sand or gravel. According to the researchers the chemical makeup of plastic could help it become a good product for road pavement mixtures.
Asphalt and plastics are also chemically similar because they both come from crude oil, so they can be mixed together. They aren’t perfectly compatible, but it’s close enough that engineers and chemists can work together to find a workable solution. Inside the Mizzou Asphalt Pavement and Innovation Lab, or MAPIL, located in the MU College of Engineering, engineers and students are determining how to incorporate various types of single-use, polyethylene-based plastic waste into
Researchers of the Mizzou Asphalt Pavement and Innovation Lab (MAPIL) show the plastic waste particles that are being added to the pavement mixture
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asphalt pavement, including drinking bottles, grocery bags and drinking straws. MU’s engineers and students get to test their laboratory-developed mixture in a real-world environment when it is applied as a pavement overlay, or a new layer of asphalt, to a deteriorating section of road surface, along a stretch of Stadium Boulevard in Columbia from College Ave. to U.S. Highway 63 where traffic averages approximately 36,000 vehicles a day. The test sections on Stadium Boulevard will also include a control section, or area with a current pavement mixture commonly used and approved by MoDOT, as well as an additional test section using a pavement mixture including a chemically modified, recycled ground scrap tire rubber. The ground tire rubber test is being conducted in collaboration with an additional project partner, Asphalt Plus, LLC. Before a pavement mixture can be applied on a commercial scale to be used by contractors when bidding on road projects, it must first have a certain specification that is approved by MoDOT, or another state’s transportation regulatory authority. This process begins in the development stage, when labs such as MAPIL assist with creating a
NEWS product, and can also continue once a field demonstration project has been completed and contractors can conduct further innovation in their own laboratories. One key aspect of this project is making sure the final product doesn’t cause a harmful impact to the environment. So the team is collaborating with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, So far, the results indicate that the environmental impact should be negligible. More at University of Missouri>
The pavement mixture using recycled plastic is being applied to a deteriorating section of Stadium Boulevard in Columbia near U.S. Highway 63
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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcki.nl
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Greenchoice Energy award for lightweight solar panels On September 7 - so-called Sustainable Tuesday - the Greenchoice Energy award 2021 was granted to Solarge, for its lightweight photovoltaic modules. Solarge started with the development in 2018, as an initiative of construction company Heijmans, TNO, knowledge institute Solliance and plastics manufacturer SABIC. This resulted in a completely new perspective on the construction and application of PV modules. Solarge’s solar panels weigh less than half the weight of conventional glass and aluminum panels. Research shows that 30 to 40 percent of the roofs in the Netherlands cannot bear the weight of traditional solar panels. Roof reinforcement or the application of lightweight solar panels causes additional cost that does not make the investment profitable. By using fiber- reinforced polymers and a set of materials specially developed by SABIC for this purpose, the basis for the technology
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to produce lightweight PV modules was created. The advantage is not only in low weight. According to Solarge the production of
Solarge modules releases less CO2, having a lower impact on the environment. Furthermore the lightweight modules and easy click-in system means less
NEWS installation time needed. And last but not least: Solarge PV modules are fully recyclable; the polymer of new Solarge PV modules can be made completely out of recycled materials. To ensure the performance, tests and calculations have been carried out by TNO and Eindhoven University of Technology. While lab tests have proven that the power output delivered by the modules is equal to those of conventional glass PV modules, it was still unknown if
the panels would perform equally when in natural outside conditions. The tests showed that the temperatures measured in solar cells in Solarge’s modules did not differ from conventional glass modules panels. This is important considering the output of solar cells decreases at high temperatures. In addition, the robustness and durability of the panels in weather conditions such as wind, hail, erosion and even pollution was demonstrated. More at Solarge>
GreenBlocks Last September, GreenBlocks started the production of 100 percent circular pallet blocks from waste wood. According to the company, it is the first time in the Netherlands that the product chain has been closed by using waste wood from its own collection as a raw material for the production of fully circular pallet blocks. In the Netherlands, two million tons of waste wood come onto the market every year. GreenBlocks can now process more than 40,000 tons of this per year in its factory in Coevorden. GreenBlocks is an initiative of the PreZero company. Prozero says that this initiative is responding to the growing need for sustainable and economically interesting processing of waste wood in the Netherlands. Pallet blocks are also still made from sawn and untreated wood. This wood from tree felling is precious and valuable, while waste wood is now often processed outside the Netherlands or used as fuel in bio-energy plants. According to the initiators, instead of burning the wood, it can serve as a raw material for the production of circular pallet blocks after use. In the GreenBlocks factory in Coevorden, more than 100,000 kilos of waste wood are processed and upcycled into more than 150,000 pallet blocks every
day. PreZero collects the waste wood, which is sorted and broken into wood chips that serve as raw material for the production of pallet blocks. GreenBlocks converts this material to dry and clean fibers and presses them into pallet blocks, constantly controlling the quality, density and shape retention. More at PreZero>
PreZero is an international company in waste and recycling management. More than 13,000 employees work at 280 locations in Europe and North America. PreZero is part of the German Miltinational Schwarz Gruppe (Schwarz Group), which also owns the retail chains Kaufland and Lidl. https://gruppe.schwarz/en
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Photo: Unilin Group
Recycling of MDF boards Unilin Group, headquartered in Flanders, says it has developed an innovative technology to recover and reuse wood fibres from MDF and HDF boards and chipboards in an economically profitable way for the production of high-quality fibre boards on an industrial scale. Until now, it was technically impossible to recycle the 100 million m3 MDF and HDF boards that are produced worldwide every year at the end of their life. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) and HDF (High Density Fibreboard) are widely used in the furniture industry, interior construction and for the production of laminate floors. Unilin uses reclaimed and recycled wood for this. This is wood waste or wood that is no longer usable
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and is therefore not ultimately incinerated. The company says no trees are cut for its production, and in addition the fibre products can be reused. According to Unilin Panels, the use of glue as a binder has previously made it impossible to recycle the fibers from panel waste at the end of their product life. The majority of this was usually incinerated after use (an average of fourteen to twenty years). With the new technology, the company believes it can double the lifespan of the wood fibres. In the initial phase Unilin Group will use the technology for the recycling of internally used material at the production site of Bazeilles, where the group has a history of investing in cutting-edge techno-
logy for the production of MDF and HDF boards. In the next phase production capacity will be increased to also allow the recycling of externally harvested fibreboards and laminate floors. This technology, which has been patented in the meantime, is an absolute world first, the company says. The goal is to replace at least 25% of Unilin Group’s raw materials mix with recycled fibres by 2030. Over time, this will enable the Unilin Group to keep 380,000 tons of CO2 per year stored in the wood fibre that is given a second life through this new technology. Unilin Group>
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Synthetic gypsum from industrial waste An international team of scientists1 has developed a production method of high-quality gypsum binders based on synthetic calcium sulphate dihydrate produced from industrial waste. Tests of the obtained material have shown that it not only meets all the requirements for materials of this class, but also surpasses binders based on natural gypsum in several parameters. The work has been published in the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry.
red to be at least 95% of the mass of the final product. In the course of the study, scientists obtained three types of synthetic gypsum samples: building gypsum, high-strength gypsum and anhydrite. The building gypsum was made using traditional technology in a gypsum boiler. Anhydrite was also produced according to the traditional technology for this type of gypsum material by firing followed by cooling. An autoclave was used to synthesize high-strength gypsum.
The team mixed sulfuric acid from industrial waste with water and waste of the fine fraction of limestone. The content of calcium sulfate dihydrate in the obtained synthetic gypsum appea-
According to the researchers one of the advantages of producing building gypsum materials from synthetic calcium sulphate dihydrate is that the synthetic gypsum is obtained immediately in the
form of a powder product. In the traditional production of gypsum powder, gypsum has to be crushed to the desired state, which requires a significant amount of electricity. Thus, the method proposed by scientists for the production of binders based on synthetic gypsum will significantly reduce production costs by simplifying the production technology. 1
A group of scientists from NUST MISIS, Belarusian State Technological University, University of Limerick and the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
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Building material made from recycled concrete and CO2 from the air A new kind of concrete could reduce emissions from the construction industry. Calcium carbonate concrete is made from waste concrete and carbon dioxide from the air or industrial exhaust gases. It shows promise as a future construction material, especially in places where natural resources are limited. A new way to reduce emissions levels caused by concrete use has been proposed and proven to work by Professor Ippei Maruyama and C4S (Calcium Carbonate Circulation System for Construction) project manager Professor Takafumi Noguchi, both from the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo. They have found a way to take waste concrete and captured carbon dioxide, and combine them in a novel process into a usable form of concrete called calcium carbonate concrete. Inspired by the way some aquatic organisms harden into fossils over time, Maruyama wondered if the same process that forms hard calcium carbonate deposits from dead organic matter could be applied to concrete. Calcium is essential for the reaction between cement and water to form concrete, and Maruyama saw this as an opportunity to investigate a less carbon-intensive way of performing the same function. The idea is to acquire calcium from discarded concrete, which is otherwise going to waste. The scientists combine this with carbon dioxide from industrial exhaust or even from the air. And they achieved this at much lower temperatures than
those used to extract calcium from limestone at present. Calcium carbonate is a very stable material, so makes for a durable construction material. In addition, the ability to recycle large amounts of material and waste is a major advantage, but according to Noguchi there are still challenges to overcome. Calcium carbonate concrete cannot replace typical concrete at present. It is not quite as strong as typical concrete, though for some construction projects, such as small houses, this would not be a problem. Also at present,
only small blocks a few centimeters in length have been made. This research was published in the Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology titled ‘A New Concept of Calcium Carbonate Concrete using Demolished Concrete and CO2’. doi.org/10.3151/ jact.19.1052 University of Tokio>
Two samples of calcium carbonate concrete, one using hardened cement paste (left) and the other using silica sand. Both raw materials are common construction and demolition waste products (Credits: 2021 Maruyama et al.)
A week of immersion in the world of 3D manufacturing! December 6 to 10 2021, International multi-event – Benelux region
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‘ReUse bridge’ at Floriade 2022
Last summer, at the Floriade site in Almere, a new bridge has been completed which is entirely made from recycled bridge components. Builder Dura Vermeer took the initiative to harvest parts of an old viaduct and reuse them in this ‘second life bridge’ at the world horticultural exhibition ‘Floriade’ in 2022. The so-called ReUse bridge (or ‘Second life bridge’) is a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Weerwater, which is almost entirely composed of recycled
materials. The bridge consists largely of old bridge parts of the bicycle and pedestrian viaduct over the A27 Bolgerijekade near the Dutch town Vianen. The modules of the bridge superstructure were easy to disassemble and all constructive building information from the past was still available. At the time of the dismantling in 2019, Dura Vermeer wanted to reuse parts of the bridge and that opportunity arose when the municipality of Almere and the provin-
ce of Flevoland established the Bridge Campus Flevoland-Floriade. The campus is intended to gain experience with innovative, circular bridges in a practical environment. The design that Dura Vermeer and Arc2 Architecten made for this ‘second life bridge’ fitted perfectly with that objective. Last summer Meerdink Bruggen started the construction of the 130 long circular bridge construction on the Floriade site on the Archerpad in Almere. Prestressed prefab concrete I-beams were used for the main load-bearing structure of the new bridge. With a clear width of 4.0 metres, the bridge deck has a light design thanks to a combination of steel cross and support profiles. The wooden deck girders and planks are made of hardwood sheet piling and railway sleepers, while second-hand steel tubular piles serve as foundations. The railing is sawn from old Azobe railway sleepers. DuraVermeer> Meerdink Bruggen> Arc2 Architecten>
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Large-scale production of bioplastics from residual flows one step closer
Towards a sustainable production of bioplastics from residual flows, PHA2USE and the Interreg NWE project WoW! recently took another important step. In the first extraction campaign on a pilot scale, more than 18 kg of PHBV from sewage sludge was produced. This PHBV, a fully biodegradable bioplastic, is now being tested by companies on various commercial applications. The production of bioplastics from wastewater takes place by means of bacteria in sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants. These bacteria are able to convert organic substances in the wastewater into the bioplastic PHBV. This PHBV is then stored by the bacteria in their cells. To make the PHBV suitable for use, it must first be removed from the cells. This is done by means of extraction. Until now, this extraction has only been performed on a smaller scale. PHA2USE and Interreg NWE project WoW! have now also succeeded in extracting PHBV on a larger scale. This paves the way for large-scale bioplastic production from wastewater. This extraction is the lead-up to the production of larger quantities in the PHA2USE project.
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The installation required for this is under construction and will be commissioned in early 2022. The more than 18 kg of PHBV that has been extracted will initially be made available to four companies that are active in the processing of (bio)plastics. These companies will look at the application of the PHBV in their products. A major advantage of PHBV is that it is strong but can also be completely degraded under natural conditions. This makes the PHBV interesting for temporary applications such as in agriculture.
This milestone in the scaling up of PHBV production has been made possible by a unique collaboration between five Dutch water authorities, HVC, Paques Biomaterials and research partners Wetsus and Avans University of applied sciences. Paques Biomaterials> WoW! (Wider business Opportunities for raw materials from Wastewater)>
Towards a zero-emission cement factory Together with its business partners, the Finnish research institute VTT has developed a solution that can bring a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the production of cement and quicklime. As one of the ingredients for concrete, cement is the world’s most used building material and is responsible for around 7% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. By using low-emission electricity instead of combustion for decomposing calcium carbonate - a central part of cement production - and by capturing the carbon dioxide produced in the production process, it is possible to run a cement plant with close to zero carbon dioxide emissions. This is made possible by using a gas-tight, electrically-heated rotary kiln. With this new technology, the pure carbon dioxide
from the limestone can be captured and then either stored or utilised in, for example, the manufacture of lowemission products. The Decarbonate project, led by VTT, involved constructing a twelve metre electrically-heated rotary kiln which was then used to test out, together with VTT’s business partners, the precalcination of the raw powder for cement and the production of both quicklime and also the lime mud used in pulp mills. The project involves key Finnish players in the sector, including Finnsementti, Nordkalk and UPM. According to VTT the test kiln could also be used for reducing emissions in other industrial sectors, such as the battery and asphalt industries.
According to VTT, in the EU, at the current price level, a decrease of one tonne in carbon dioxide emissions means a savings of EUR 60 for the company. For a medium-sized cement plant, for example, a one-third reduction in emissions would mean savings of several million euros per year. In addition, the electric kiln produces a new product: purified carbon dioxide. In other words, electrically-powered calcination could be economically viable already at current prices, but assessing its feasibility at the industrial scale and the investments required for this will require further studies. More at VTT>
Voeg informatie toe aan de Kennisbank Biobased Bouwen De Biobased Economy speelt een belangrijke rol in de duurzame ontwikkeling van Nederland en biedt nieuwe kansen voor het bedrijfsleven. Via de kennisbank kunt u kennis vergaren en delen over de beschikbaarheid en toepassingsmogelijkheden van biobased materialen, producten en bouwconcepten. Samen versterken we zo de biobased economie. Ruim dertig partijen in de bouwsector ondertekenden de green deal biobased bouwen. Deze producenten, architecten, adviseurs en kennisinstellingen delen hun kennis rond kansrijke mogelijkheden van biobased bouwen. Ook de ministeries van Binnenlandse Zaken (Wonen en Rijksdienst), Economische Zaken, en Infrastructuur en Milieu ondersteunen de green deal. Bouw ook mee aan de biobased economie en voeg uw project- of productbeschrijvingen toe aan deze kennisbank. Kijk op www.biobasedbouwen.nl voor meer informatie>
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MAKE IT MATTER
MAKE IT MATTER MAKE IT MATTER is compiled in collaboration with MaterialDistrict (MaterialDistrict.com). In this section new, and/or interesting developments and innovative materials are highlighted.
New Delft Blue New Delft Blue, a project by Dutch architectural design company Studio RAP, reinterprets the world famous design of Delft Blue porcelain, fusing 3D clay printing, computational design and artisanal glazing. The large scale redevelopment Nieuw Delft will be applied at the PoortMeesters building block, which is framed by two large entry gates. The gates are four metres wide, eight metres high and twelve metres deep. They will be covered in approximately 4,000 ceramic tiles. More at MaterialDistrict>
The Production of Fatigue The Production of Fatigue is a printing process revealing the creative potential of fatigue and exposing its unexpected aesthetic qualities. Designer Léa Mazy uses this printing method for the tile industry and envisions to inspire and challenge more manufactories to sustainable and innovative visions in existing production processes.
More at MaterialDistrict>
Tex-Tiles As porcelain is translucent, there is the possibility to add LED lights behind the tile. By shining light onto, and through, the tiles, the special character of the tiles is revealed. Due to the variation of thicker and thinner material, dark and light lines and shapes appear in the tile, making the imprint very clear. The tiles are hand-shaped, and in this way it is possible to create unique tiles with an imprint related to the building or environment. More at MaterialDistrict>
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MAKE IT MATTER Ceramic sand What is the effect of sand on the colour and structure of ceramic pieces? Using various kinds of sand from various places, designer Marin Jansen experimented with adding sand to clay. In addition, she also used sand to make glaze. The same sand added in a glaze but fired in different ways (oxidation, 1.260 °C, 1.260 reduction °C, reduction and oxidation and oxidation 1.050 °C) 1.050 gives °C)different gives different interesting results. interesting results.
More at MaterialDistrict>
Wooden floor tiles The wooden floor tiles of OSBvloeren.nl are made of FSC & PEFC certified zero-formaldehyde OSB (Oriented Strand Board). The material is made of chipped wood, mixed with a little formaldehyde-free resin, pressed into solid wood boards. The fact that it is formaldehyde-free makes it a suitable product for interior use, as opposed to ‘normal’ OSB. All floors are produced exclusively to order, since manufacturer OSBvloeren. nl doesn’t want to produce more than necessary. More at MaterialDistrict>
Waterweg Waterweg is a circular concrete made out of dredged sediments. Dredged sediment is a muddy waste stream from our rivers and canals. Dredge currently knows only low value applications, although it causes high costs, a lot of CO2 emissions and wasted time. By applying dredge in a circular concrete, Waterweg makes sure it can have a high value application. Because of the use of a waste stream and the low energy production process this product can get up to 50% CO2 reduction compared to conventional concrete. More at MaterialDistrict>
Kerloc Kerloc is a sustainable technical ceramics which is being used for facades. For its production process low-value, residue materials (Dutch poplar wood) are being used. This makes it a biobased product. The production process is unique as there is no additional heat (oven). Therefore, Martens keramiek calls it cold ceramics. According to the manufacturer, Kerloc is 100% circular.
More at MaterialDistrict>
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During the printing process, the choice was made to divide the bridge into printable parts (Photo: Michiel van der Kley)
The longest 3D-printed concrete bicycle bridge in the world With a length of 29 metres, the Dutch city of Nijmegen owns the longest 3D printed concrete bicycle bridge in the world. The project is unique because the bicycle bridge has been designed with complete freedom of form, thanks to research at Eindhoven University of Technology and the further development of 3D concrete printing technology. The new appearance in De Geologenstrook park is characterised by its round and wavy shapes. The bridge was printed layer by layer in the concrete printing factory of Saint Gobain Weber Beamix and realised by the construction group BAM. It is not only the longest, but also the largest concrete bridge in the world. Architect Michiel van der Kley was able to work freely on the design and was not
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restricted by the material or traditional processes, such as concrete formwork. Because the span is not constant everywhere and therefore the changing weight of the structure had to be taken into account, the choice was made to divide the bridge into printable parts.
A parametric model - that means based on data - was used to generate the final design. In theory, printed bridges can be built much faster than ordinary bridges, with more flexibility and more room for personalised designs. They are also
The 3D-printed concrete bicycle bridge in Nijmegen (Photo: Municipality of Nijmegen)
more sustainable, as less concrete is needed. The ambition of the partners in this innovative project is for 3D concrete printing to eventually become a sustainable construction method that can be used for the production of bridges and houses, among other things. That is also the reason why Rijkswaterstaat, together with designer Van der Kley, took the initiative for this project. They donated this special bridge as a permanent reminder to the municipality of Nijmegen in honour of its election as European Green Capital 2018. For the right knowledge and expertise, two launching partners turned to Theo Salet, an expert in the field of 3D printed buildings. Consultancy and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos translated the design of the bridge into printable structural components. The parametric model of the bridge was developed by Summum Engineering. Tekst: TU Eindhoven> The bridge was printed layer by layer in the concrete printing plant (Photo: Michiel van der Kley)
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The HiLo unit sits on the top platform of the NEST (Photo: Roman Keller)
HiLo opened HiLo, the latest addition to Empa and Eawag’s NEST research building in Duebendorf, Switzerland officially opened on October 6. The innovative unit illustrates nearly a decade of formative ETH Zurich research in architecture and sustainable technologies.
NEST is the modular research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag. At NEST, new technologies, materials and systems are tested, researched, further developed and validated under real conditions. Close cooperation with partners from research, industry and the public sector ensures that innovative construction and energy technologies are put onto the market faster.
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HiLo stands for ‘high performance - low emissions’. The unit allows researchers to test how the construction and operation of buildings can be designed to be as energy- and resource-efficient as possible. HiLo combines ancient building principles with futuristic construction methods: doubly curved concrete roof and novel, lightweight funicular floor system was inspired by construction
methods of the past, and planned and built using state-of-the-art computational design and fabrication techniques. In the new unit, a team of scientists led by Philippe Block, Professor of Architecture and Structures, and Arno Schlueter, Professor of Architecture and Building Systems together with industrial partners explored how lightweight structures and efficient construction methods can be
A tensioned cable net was used as the primary structure of the formwork of the doubly curved HiLo roof (Photo: ETH Zurich, Block Research Group/ Juney Lee)
combined with intelligent and adaptive building systems to reduce both embodied and operational emissions in the construction and building industry.
the desired shape under the weight of the wet concrete, thanks to a calculation method developed by the Block
Research Group and their collaborators in the Swiss National Centre of Competence (NCCR) in Digital Fabrication. The
The roof of the HiLo unit derives its load-bearing capacity from a strongly curved geometry in combination with a concrete sandwich structure, made of two thin layers of reinforced concrete, connected by a grid of concrete ribs and steel anchors. In order to save large amounts of formwork material, the roof was built with a flexible formwork consisting of a tensioned cable net and textile fabric. In the construction of double-curved structures, complex and single-use wooden or EPS formwork are often used. Instead, the HiLo roof was made using a huge, reusable scaffolding structure, within which a network of steel cables was stretched. This steel net supported a (polymeric) textile layer, which in turn was covered by textile reinforcement. This created a kind of mold onto which the concrete was sprayed. The cable net was designed to take on
The first layer of concrete is sprayed onto the textile formwork (Photo: ETH Zurich, Block Research Group/Juney Lee)
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INNOVATIVE MATERIALS algorithms ensure that the forces are distributed correctly between the individual steel cables and the roof assumes the intended shape precisely.
For the mezzanine floors of the twostorey unit, the researchers primarily aimed to use as little material as possible in the structure itself. By using a ribstiffened funicular shell instead of a flat plate, HiLo’s lightweight funicular system uses over 70 percent less material than conventional floor slabs in reinforced concrete. Furthermore, digital production methods allowed the integration of ventilation, cooling, and low temperature heating systems into the floor structure for an even greater reduction in materials and volume.
The 3D-printed formwork for the rib-stiffened funicular floor on the east side (Photo: ETH Zurich, Digital Building Technologies/Andrei Jipa)
Indoor climate regulation
The HiLo unit is also equipped with an adaptive solar façade developed by Schlueter’s group. It consists of 30 photovoltaic modules that can be aligned with the sun. The flexible modules can also be used to control how sunlight enters the room in order to passively heat it or reduce cooling requirements. The adaptive solar façade is one of a series of innovative building technology components designed for efficient indoor climate regulation. During operation, the researchers consistently optimised the interplay of the individual technologies using machine learning and considering the users, in order to investigate how comfortable indoor conditions can be achieved with as little energy and emissions as possible. Empa> Virtual tour>
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The finished doubly curved roof shell (Photo: Roman Keller)
How long can fibre reinforced polymer sustain concrete structures? Fibre reinforced polymer coatings (FRP) are an affordable way to externally strengthen concrete structures. But how long does the protection last? Now, researchers from Korea and the USA conduct a 13-year long experiment to find out. In the FRP-strengthening of concrete, glass or carbon fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP or CFRP) composites are bonded onto concrete using an epoxy adhesive. These sheets provide additional support and strengthen the concrete structures by protecting them from harsh environmental conditions, such as high moisture levels and temperatures. But the problem is, these same environmental conditions can potentially degrade the concrete-FRP bond as well, causing the
FRP protection system to fail prematurely. A research team from the Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU), led by prof. Jaeha Lee of civil engineering, tested both CFRP and GFRP systems under various indoor and outdoor environmental conditions for change in a parameter called the debond onset strain. This is a measure of the deformation that occurs before failure. They found that environmental conditions had a significant impact on bond behaviour. At the end of thirteen years, larger reductions in debond strains were observed in outdoor beams than indoor beams. Further, the bond behaviour varied between materials: changes in debond strain were negligible in indoor
CFRP beams, while in indoor GFRP beams, there was a notable decrease. The researchers expect their findings could ultimately help to cost-effectively minimize the risk of collapse or damage to existing structures. More at KMOU> The findings were recently published in Composites Part B: Engineering, titled ‘Durability assessment of FRP-concrete bond after sustained load for up to thirteen years’. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesb.2021.109180
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Building out of concrete, without pouring concrete Researchers of the science and technology institute EPFL (Lausanne Switzerland) have built a footbridge prototype using reinforced-concrete blocks from walls of a building being renovated. The blocks were cut into individual pieces on site and assembled into a prestressed arch. This project, which marks the first time concrete has been reused in this way, is part of an initiative to substantially shrink the construction industry’s carbon footprint by adopting a circular economy approach. The footbridge was inaugurated at a ceremony at the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg on 11 October. Reinforced concrete is a fantastic material and for that reason it is used worldwide and on a large scale. But once the concrete floors and walls are no longer needed, the best option is to crush it. In the best case scenario, concrete waste grit is reused as an additive in new concrete. But to make that, new cement is also needed, and it is precisely this
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cement that creates a significant CO2 footprint. Why not reuse the old concrete in the form of whole components? And that is exactly what Scientists of EPFL Structural Exploration Lab (SXL) had in mind. They developed a new proof of concept by which they build new concrete systems without producing new concrete, avoiding the use of new cement.
It was demonstrated by the prototype pedestrian bridge, a concrete structure that was built quickly and efficiently, without the use of fresh concrete. For concrete to be reused effectively, new design methods are needed that are based on exploiting existing concrete sections, rather than the conventional
INNOVATIVE MATERIALS approach of pouring fresh concrete in line with each project’s specifications. The catch is that the properties of existing sections can vary and are not always known ahead of time. To help engineers employ these new methods, SXL recently developed a computer program that automates the process of selecting reclaimed elements from a given stock and minimizes a new structure’s carbon footprint. The research team then called in the expertise of the company Diamcoupe, specialized in drilling, sawing and controlled demolition. Diamcoupe had been commissioned to renovate a building erected less than ten years ago; this renovation site was the perfect opportunity to source viable blocks of concrete. Diamcoupe was able to cut the concrete into the sizes which were needed and to drill holes through them for the prestressing cables. These cables were provided by Freyssinet and used to build the arch. The engineers were thus able to obtain 20 cm-thick concrete blocks for the footbridge. They added mortar in places to smooth out the slight differences in dimensions, which are inevitable anytime objects are reused. According to the team arches are actually the ideal structure for repurposing concrete blocks, since the material is only subject to compression forces. Photo’s: EFPL
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INNOVATIVE MATERIALS off a new cycle. The SXL team’s project is a call to action for the construction industry. ‘No other new concrete footbridge has a carbon footprint as small as ours,’ says Fivet. ‘Imagine if every obsolete concrete structure out there was cut into blocks and used to meet some of the global demand for new concrete. That would be a big step towards addressing some of the most pressing climate-change challenges.’
References Fivet C, Brütting J. ‘Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is reused: structural design for a circular economy.’ Struct Eng. 2020;98(1):74–81. http://infoscience.epfl.ch/record/273663 Brütting J, Vandervaeren C, Senatore G, De Temmerman N, Fivet C. ‘Environmental impact minimization of reticular structures made of reused and new elements through Life Cycle Assessment and Mixed-Integer Linear Programming.’ Energy Build. 2020 May;215:109827. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.109827 Küpfer C, Fivet C. Déconstruction Sélective – ‘Construction Réversible: recueil pour diminuer les déchets et favoriser le réemploi dans la construction.’ Federal Office for the Environment FOEN; 2021. https://zenodo.org/record/4314325#. YWVA8xpBxPZ More at EPFL> Pedestrian bridge, detail. (Photo’s: EPFL)
According to Corentin Fivet, a tenure track assistant professor at EPFL and head of the Structural Exploration Lab (SXL), this project opens up promising new research horizons for SXL. Most buildings in Switzerland are made out of concrete, and producing this raw material accounts for 7% of CO2 emissions. What’s more, concrete makes up 50% of demolition waste. When the material reaches its end of life, it’s at best broken down into gravel or granulate to create recycled forms - but that consu-
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mes a lot of energy. Instead, cutting up concrete blocks and reuse them, could both prevent the need to produce more concrete and eliminate the inert waste. The carbon emissions from this process wouldn’t necessarily be zero, but they would be drastically reduced. This would delay the need to downcycle obsolete concrete. Under this circular economy approach, demolition companies - which until now have been at the end of the value chain - would also become producers, kicking
Fireproof and comfortable Wash-durable flame retardant cotton textiles are produced by treating the fabric with flame retardants, which chemically links to the cellulose in the cotton. Until now, only a group of substances was suitable for this: formaldehydebased chemicals. Formaldehyde however is classified as a carcinogen. And there are more drawbacks: the -OH groups of cellulose are chemically blocked, which considerably reduces the capability of cotton to absorb water, which
results in an uncomfortable textile. Empa scientists managed to circumvent this problem by creating a physically and chemically independent network of flame retardants inside the fibres, preserving the positive properties of cotton. Sabyasachi Gaan, a chemist and polymer expert who works at Empa’s Advanced Fibres lab, Switzerland, has spent many years developing flame retardants based on phosphorus chemistry that are already used in many industrial
applications. Now, Gaan and his colleagues Rashid Nazir, Dambarudhar Parida and Joel Borgstädt utilized a tri-functional phosphorous compound (trivinylphosphine oxide), which has the capability of reacting only with specifically added molecules (amines like piperazin) to form its own network inside cotton. This makes the cotton permanently fire-resistant without blocking the favourable -OH groups. In addition, the physical phosphine oxide network also likes water. This flame retardant treatment does not include carcinogenic formaldehyde, which would endanger textile workers during textile manufacturing. The phosphine oxide networks, thus formed, does not wash out. After fifty launderings, 95 percent of the flame retardant network is still present in the fabric. This newly developed phosphorus chemistry and its application is protected by a patent application. More at Empa>
Cost effective: Sabyasachi Gaan uses steam from a commercial pressure cooker to flame retard samples of cotton fabric. Image: Empa
The article ‘In-situ phosphine oxide physical networks: A facile strategy to achieve durable flame retardant and antimicrobial treatments of cellulose,’ was published last summer in Chemical Engineering Journal. It’s online>
Kom in actie voor kankeronderzoek
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Stackable ceramic facade prototype
A team of University of Buffalo (UB) architecture faculty has developed a stackable ceramic terracotta facade system that opens new possibilities in so-called user-generated architecture. The research, being pursued with a team of faculty and students from Alfred University’s College of Ceramics, was presented at the 2021 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW), which took place virtually on August 19.
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The facade prototype developed by UB employs a system of uniform terracotta units that are stacked and locked into place using fastening techniques derived from traditional wood joinery. The design and materials expertise of Alfred University in the field of ceramics has been combined with the knowledge of UB in the field of digital fabrication and the design of facade systems with terracotta.
INNOVATIVE MATERIALS Much of the research has unfolded over the past year in UB’s Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART) Fabrication Factory in Parker Hall on the South Campus. The terracotta units were cut and shaped using the facility’s industry-grade, five-axis, waterjet cutter. A system of 3D-printed dowels, also designed and fabricated by the UB team, allow the pieces to ‘lock’ into place. The Alfred team was involved in the design and glazing of the terracotta tiles, which are formed using a mold and then cut with the waterjet before being fired and glazed. The modular character and the reconfigurability of the interlocking parts allows interaction with the architecture. For example, a screen wall can be stacked high in the summer for shading and then lowered in the winter to allow for more light. The natural heat-retaining abilities of terracotta also support passive heating and cooling. Much more at the University of Buffalo> Photography: University of Buffalo
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Glass ceramics from husk and ashes In Colombia, industrial wastes such as rice husk or coal ashes are disposed of in landfills generating high environmental impact. Therefore, scientists of the University of Valle (Colombia) and Eduardo Torroja Institute for Construction Science (Spain) decided to investigate whether the waste material could be used for something more useful, for the production of glass-ceramics for instance. Glass-ceramics are polycrystalline materials produced through controlled crystallization of base glass. Glass-ceramic materials combine the strength of ceramic and the hermetic sealing properties of glass. The results of this Colombian-Spanish research were published earlier this year in Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio. The scientists obtained coal ash from the Lago Verde brick company and rice husk ash from the La Esmeralda rice company, both Colombia. After crushing the ash and commercial calcium hydroxide in a ceramic ball mill, they mixed the powder with the network modifier zinc oxide (ZnO) and sodium tetraborate (Na2B4O7), which acts as the fluxing agent. The glasses were obtained by melting the powders at 1450 °C for two hours, and the melted powder was then poured into water. To obtain the glass-ceramic material, the temperature of the glass thermal treatment, which was generally lower than 1000 °C in all cases, was determined by differential thermal analysis. In the end, the new glass-ceramics were microstructurally, physically and mecha-
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Sintered samples (Illustration from article)
nically characterized. In addition, the durability was determined in acidic and alkaline environments (HCl and NaOH solutions). Glass-ceramics with densities of 2607– 2739 kg/m3, water absorption below 0.1%, Vickers hardness above 600 MPa and elastic modulus of ∼96 GPa were obtained. The fracture toughness Kic was in the range of 0.39–0.59 MPa m1/2. The chemical durability was considered
excellent (with mass losses of ∼0.5 mg/ cm2). According to the researchers these glass-ceramics could be good candidates for applications as construction materials, tiles, ceramic plates, coatings, among others. The article ‘Preparation of glass-ceramic materials from coal ash and rice husk ash: Microstructural, physical and mechanical properties’ is online>
From CO2 to starch Starch is the major component of grain as well as an important industrial raw material. At present, it is mainly produced by crops such as maize by fixing CO2 through photosynthesis. This process involves about sixty biochemical reactions as well as complex physiological regulation. The theoretical energy conversion efficiency of this process is only about 2%. Scientists meanwhile believe that sustainable starch production and CO2 sequestration are urgently needed to deal with global problems such as food scarcity and climate change. Designing novel routes other than plant photosynthesis for converting CO2 to starch is an important issue.
ency 8.5-fold higher than starch biosynthesis in maize. The new route makes it possible to shift the mode of starch production from traditional agricultural planting to industrial manufacturing, and opens up a new technical route for synthesizing complex molecules from CO2. In addition, it would also help to avoid the negative environmental impact of
using pesticides and fertilizers, improve human food security, facilitate a carbon-neutral bioeconomy, and eventually promote the formation of a sustainable bio-based society. Chinese Academy of Sciences>
Scientists at the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) designed a chemoenzymatic system as well as an artificial starch anabolic route consisting of only eleven core reactions to convert CO2 into starch. The results were published in Science last September (DOI: 10.1126/science.abh4049). According to CAS the artificial route can produce starch from CO2 with an effici-
Starch synthesis via artificial starch anabolic pathway (ASAP) from CO2 (Image by TIBCAS)
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Polymer coating makes ceramics less likely to shatter 3D printed ceramic cracks easily under stress. But when the material is covered with a thin, flexible coating of epoxy polymer cured under ultraviolet light, the same materials appear to have a much better chance of remaining whole. Researchers at Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering have developed a method for coating so-called schwarzites (an allotrope of carbon), in this case complex carbon lattices that only existed in theory for decades, but can now be made with 3D printer. The
results of their research appeared in Science Advances in early July. Schwarzites, named for German scientist Hermann Schwarz, who hypothesized in the 1880s the ‘negatively curved’ structures could be used wherever very strong but lightweight materials are needed, from batteries to bones to buildings. With added polymers, they come to resemble structures found in nature like seashells and bones that consist of hardened platelets in a biopolymer matrix.
Materials scientists of Rice University have now carried out experiments and simulations to show that thin polymeric coatings as thick as 100 microns make fragile schwarzites up to 4.5 times more resistant to fracture. The structures can still crack under pressure, but they won’t fall apart. The team, with members in Hungary, Canada and India, created computer models of the structures and printed them with a polymer-infused ceramic ‘ink.’ The ceramic was cured on the fly by ultraviolet lights in the printer, and then dipped in polymer and cured again. Along with uncoated control units, the intricate blocks were then subjected to high pressure. The control schwarzites shattered as expected, but the polymer coating prevented cracks from propagating in the others, allowing the structures to keep their form. The researchers also compared the schwarzites to coated solid ceramics and found the porous structures were inherently tougher. More at Rice> The article ‘Damage-tolerant 3D-printed ceramics via conformal coating‘ was published on 7 juli in Science Advances. It is online>
Compression test (Photo: Rice)
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Video drop test (Rice/YouTube)
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Wood that can cut like steel Hard materials are in high demand in engineering applications. Widely used hard materials, like alloys and ceramics, are often not renewable and expensive. Their production requires high energy consumption and often leads to negative environmental impacts. Scientists of the University of Maryland (UMD) now demonstrated a potential low-cost and sustainable hard material made from natural wood. The advantages of wood as a structural material are legion: renewable, lightweight, naturally durable and strong, and possessing a lower lifecycle cost than most other materials. Through a simple and effective approach, bulk natural wood can be processed into a hardened wood (HW) with a 23-fold increase in hardness. The trick is in optimizing the cellulose structure. Cellulose - the main component of wood - has a higher strength-to-density ratio than most engineering materials, such as ceramics, metals and polymers. But in ordinary wood, such as that used in construction, these possibilities are not exploited. That’s because wood only consists of about half of cellulose, the rest is binder, especially hemicellulose and lignin. The UMD researchers have now managed to remove the weaker components without destroying the cellulose skeleton. This is done in two steps. First, the lignin is removed by cooking the wood with chemicals. This leaves a flexible cellulose skeleton that is then hot pressed into a rock hard material. Finally, it is coated with mineral oil to extend its life.
To demonstrate the potential applications of HW, the UMD scientists demonstrated that an HW table knife can be made nearly three times sharper than commercial table knives. An HW nail can be as functional as a steel nail with comparable performance but is immune
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from rusting, a key failure mechanism of steel nails. These encouraging applications suggest the promise of HW as a renewable and low-cost alternative for conventional hard materials with the potential to replace plastic table utensils and steel nails.
‘Hardened wood as a renewable alternative to steel and plastic’ door Bo Chen, Ulrich H.Leiste, William L. Fourney, Yu Liu, Qiongyu Chen and TengLi was published on 20 oktober in Cell. (DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j. matt.2021.09.020)
A mineral oil coating prevents water damage, making the knife a washable and reusable alternative to throwaway utensils. The material also has potential for hardwood flooring or wherever else super-tough wood is needed.
More at UMD>
Skin-inspired sensors show how our body moves Scientists at the University of Groningen have created wearable, stitchable, and sensitive sensors from flexible polymers and bundles of carbon fibre. Like our skin, these sensors respond to pressure and can measure body position and mo-
vement. They could be used to measure disease progress in Parkinson’s disease, or sense joint movement in athletes, for example. Sensors can be useful to monitor our health. However, this requires flexible sensors that will not cause discomfort to the user. Wearable sensors, stitched into clothing, would be useful as well. Ajay Kottapalli, assistant professor at the Engineering and Technology institute Groningen (ENTEG, part of the University of Groningen), together with his PhD student Debarun Sengupta, has already developed different types of sensors, often inspired by nature. He has now created sensors that can mimic the sensory capabilities of our skin. Kottapalli used electrospun carbon fibres1 for his sensors. These fibres are piezoresistive, which means that their conductivity changes when they are stretched. Sensors are made by embedding the fibres in a flexible elastomer in a perpendicular pattern, creating ‘pixels’
where two fibres cross. Electrospinning is similar to the way in which fabric is made, and the material of Kottapalli can be stitched, whereby it is possible to use conductive yarn that can act as an electrode. The sensors can therefore be integrated into everyday clothing or gloves, or applied as patches on joints. They will measure bending movements, but they are also sensitive to pressure. The research was presented in the Nature Partnership Journal (NPJ) Flexible Electronics on 14 October, titled ‘Electrospun bundled carbon nanofibers for skin-inspired tactile sensing, proprioception and gesture tracking applications’. It’s online> More at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen> 1 Electrospinning is a fiber production method which uses electric force to draw charged threads of polymer solutions or polymer melts up to fiber diameters in the order of some hundred nanometers. More>
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Photo: MIT/ MIT Media Lab/University of Uppsala/KTH Royal Institute of Technology
New fibres can make breath-regulating garments Scientist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the university of Uppsala and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Swede), have developed a new kind of fibre that senses how much a fabric is being stretched or compressed, and then provides immediate tactile feedback in the form of pressure, lateral stretch, or vibration. Such fabrics could be used in garments that help train singers or athletes to better control their breathing, or that help patients recovering from disease or surgery to recover their breathing patterns. The multilayered fibers contain a fluid channel in the centre, which can be activated by a fluidic system. This system controls the fibres’ geometry by pressurizing and releasing a fluid medium, such as compressed air or water, into the channel, allowing the fibre to act as an artificial muscle. The
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fibres also contain stretchable sensors that can detect and measure the degree of stretching of the fibres. The resulting composite fibres are thin and flexible enough to be sewn, woven, or knitted using standard commercial machines. The soft fibre composite, which resembles a strand of yarn, has five layers: the innermost fluid channel, a silicone-based elastomeric tube to contain the working fluid, a soft stretchable sensor that detects strain as a change in electrical resistance, a braided polymer stretchable outer mesh that controls the outer dimensions of the fibre, and a nonstretchy filament that provides a mechanical constraint on the overall extensibility. The fibres, dubbed OmniFibers, have been presented last October at the Association for Computing Machinery’s User Interface Software and Technology online conference.
The paper ‘OmniFiber: Integrated Fluidic Fiber Actuators for Weaving Movement based Interactions into the ‘Fabric of Everyday Life’ was written by Ozgun Kilic Afsar, a visiting doctoral student and research affiliate at MIT; Hiroshi Ishii, the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences; and eight others from the MIT Media Lab, Uppsala University, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.’ It is online (pdf)> MIT>
Unbreakable glass inspired by seashells
Scientists from McGill University, Canada, have developed stronger and tougher glass, inspired by the inner layer of mollusk shells. Instead of shattering upon impact, the new material has the resiliency of plastic and could be used to improve cell phone screens in the future, among other applications. Drawing inspiration from nature, the scientist created a new glass and acrylic composite material that mimics nacre or mother of pearl. Nacre has the rigidity of a stiff material and durability of a soft material, giving it the best of both worlds. It’s made of stiff pieces of chalk-like matter that are layered with soft proteins that are highly elastic. This structure produces exceptional strength, making it 3000 times tougher than the materials that compose it. The scientists took the architecture of nacre and replicated it with layers of glass flakes and acrylic, yielding an exceptionally strong yet opaque material that can be produced easily and inex-
pensively. They then went a step further to make the composite optically transparent. By tuning the refractive index of the acrylic, they were able to make it seamlessly blend with the glass to make a truly transparent composite. McGill University >
‘Centrifugation and index-matching yields a strong and transparent bioinspired nacreous composite,’ by Ali Amini, Adele Khavari, Francois Barthelat, and Allen J. Ehrlicher was published in September 2021 in Science. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science. abf0277
Vitrum flexile Flexible glass is supposedly a lost invention from the time of the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar (42 BC - AD 37). As the story goes, an unnamed inventor brought a drinking bowl made of the material - vitrum flexile - before the Emperor. When the bowl was put to the test to break it, it only dented instead of shattering. The inventor could easily repair the bowl with a hammer. After the inventor swore he was the only person who knew how to produce the material, Tiberius had the man executed, fearing that the glass would devalue gold and silver because it might be more valuable.
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New insulation material: more efficient electricity distribution
Illustration: Chalmers University of Technology
High-voltage direct current cables (so-called HVDC cables) which can efficiently transport electricity over long distances play a vital role in our electricity supply. Optimising their performance is therefore an important challenge. Recently Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, presented a new insulation material up to three times less conductive, offering significant improvements to the properties and performance of such cables. To a future world, powered by renewable energy, efficient long-distance transport of electricity is essential. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar farms, as well as hydroelectric dams - is often located far from cities, where most of the demand exists. HVDC cables with an insulation layer can be buried underground or laid on the
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seabed. During transport, as little energy as possible should be lost. Insulation plays an essential role in this. Researchers of Chalmers University of Technology now present a novel insulation material based on polyethylene, which is already used for insulation in existing HVDC cables. Now, by adding very small amounts - 5 parts per million - of the conjugated polymer known as poly(3-hexylthiophene), the researchers were able to lower the electrical conductivity by up to three times. The additive, also known as P3HT, is a widely studied material, and given the tiny amounts required, opens up new possibilities for manufacturers. Other possible substances that have previously been used to reduce the conductivity are nanoparticles of various metal oxides and other polyolefins, but these require
significantly higher quantities. Conjugated polymers, such as P3HT, have been used in the past to design flexible and printed electronics. However, this is the first time they have been used and tested as an additive to modify the properties of a commodity plastic. The researchers therefore believe that their discovery could lead to numerous new applications and directions for research. The article ‘Repurposing Poly (3-hexylthiophene) as a Conductivity-Reducing Additive for Polyethylene-Based High-Voltage Insulation’ was published in Advanced Materials. It’s online> More at Chalmers>
Cooling with salt (and sunlight) Scientists of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) of Saudi Arabia, developed a simple cooling system driven by the capture of passive solar energy and salt. According to KAUST the installation could provide low-cost food refrigeration and living space cooling for impoverished communities with no access to the electricity grid. The system, which has no electrical components, exploits the powerful cooling effect that occurs when certain salts are dissolved in water. After each cooling cycle, the system uses solar energy to evaporate the water and regenerate the salt, ready for reuse. That can be useful, because in many parts of the world, there is a greater need for cooling because of climate change, but not every community can access electricity for air conditioning and refrigeration. The team designed a two-step cooling and regeneration system, with the cooling step based upon the fact that dissolving certain common salts in water absorbs energy, which rapidly cools the water. After comparing a range of salts, ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) proved to
KAUST scientists have developed a simple cooling system based on solar energy and the cooling effect of saltwater evaporation that could be used for refrigeration in hot regions with limited access to electricity (Illustration: Veronica Moraru/KAUST 2021)
be the standout performer, with a cooling power more than four times greater than its closest competitor, ammonium chloride (NH4Cl). The ammonium nitrate salt’s exceptional cooling power can be attributed to its high solubility. According to KAUST the system has good potential for food storage applications.
When the salt was gradually dissolved in water in a metal cup placed inside a polystyrene foam box, the temperature of the cup fell from room temperature to around 3.6 degrees Celsius and remained below 15 degrees Celsius for more than 15 hours. Once the salt solution reached room temperature, the team used solar energy to evaporate the water using a bespoke, cup-shaped 3D solar regenerator. The cup was made from a material designed to absorb as much of the solar spectrum as possible. As the water evaporated, the NH4NO3 crystals grew over the cup’s outer wall. Once collected, the salt effectively represents a stored form of solar energy, ready to be reused for cooling again when required. KAUST> The research was published in Energy & Environmental Science titled ‘ Conversion and storage of solar energy for cooling’. It is online>
The cooling system designed by KAUST engineers could be used to cool rooms in households (Illustration: KAUST; Wenbin Wang)
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ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK
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: email@example.com 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: www.enterpriseeuropenetwork.nl http://een.ec.europa.eu
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ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK The EEN Materials Database: Request for partnership: November 2021. Intrested? contact firstname.lastname@example.org>
A French company in the childcare industry is looking for eco-friendly plastics and packaging suppliers or manufacturers A French company in the childcare industry is looking for eco-friendly materials (recycled and bio-based materials) in plastics and packaging industries. The company researches solutions for future development to include in their range of products for babies. The company wants to establish technical cooperation agreement or manufacturing agreement.
A Czech company is looking for a suppliers of PET flakes, PET shredded preforms or PET fines from European single market countries. A Czech company focusing on separating plastic regranulates and shredded plastics is looking for suppliers of PET flakes, shredded PET preforms or PET fines. They provide reliable and speedy service for sorting of hard-to-sort materials based on advanced technologies. Cooperation would be based on services agreement.
Italian industrial group in the packaging sector seeks innovative, green materials to increase sustainability of its products An Italian industrial group, a world leader in the packaging sector, is looking for start-ups or scale-ups offering innovative technological materials solutions to be applied to the packaging field, preferably at TRL 7, to increase sustainability of its products. Partners will work together in co-development and go-to-market strategy under technical cooperation agreement. This request is part of an open innovation challenges programme.
Greek company processes dust from fragmented solar panels and seeks for technology aiming to remove mercury A Greek company active in the energy sector is interested in acquiring proper technology for removing mercury from dust. The partner sought should be able to provide the technology and advise the company on the process required for completing the task independently. Collaboration sought is technical agreement.
Polish company is looking for suppliers of raw materials for production of dietary supplements A newly established Polish company interested in introducing a new food product to the Polish market - dietary supplements is looking for suppliers of raw materials such as ubiquinone - Coenzyme Q10, D-chiro-inositol, pyridoxal 5-phosphate, Acetyl L-carnitine, d-chiro inositol for supplier agreement.
An eco-responsible leather goods SME is looking for suppliers of vegetable leather, cork or cellulose in rolls A French entrepreneur had a solid experience in a large luxury house as a leather goods maker. In 2019, she started her own activity on the basis of eco-responsibility, as designer and producer of leather goods and jewelry for men and women. In order to diversify her creations, she is currently looking for new suppliers of vegetable leather, cork or cellulose in rolls in several colours. Supplier agreements are sought with long-term partners offering products of quality and eco-friendly.
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De NVDO Sectie Techniek organiseert in samenwerking met de Bond voor Materialenkennis op donderdag 27 januari bij Stork Thermeq in Hengelo;
“Biobased materialen; Wat betekent dat voor de Kennis over Onderhoud?” In 2050 moet Nederland volledig circulair zijn. Het gebruik van biobased materialen zou o.a. kunnen bijdragen aan het verlagen van de CO2, maar waar moet je rekening mee houden wanneer je biobased materialen gebruikt? Is er een groot verschil met ‘normale’ materialen met betrekking tot het gebruik, de veroudering en het onderhoud? Programma (14.00-16.30 uur) Ontvangst en Registratie Welkom en Opening door de Dagvoorzitter; Jos Weekers; Senior Consultant bij Stork Asset Management Solutions en Voorzitter NVDO Sectie Techniek. “Biobrandstoffen om energie op te wekken” Martijn Hinderdael Senior Energy Consultant at Stork Thermeq De vraag naar het gebruik van alternatieve (bio)brandstoffen wordt steeds groter. Bij installaties in verschillende industrieën zijn al aanpassingen gedaan om conventioneel gestookte stoomketels om te bouwen naar biobrandstof ketels. Zo’n transitie kan niet zomaar doorgevoerd worden. Martijn deelt de ervaringen bij twee projecten en geeft inzicht in de keuzes die gemaakt zijn, de gevolgen voor het onderhoud en in de succesfactoren voor een geslaagd biobrandstoffen project Rondleiding Stork Thermeq en Netwerkpauze Biologisch afbreekbare smeermiddelen of Milieuvriendelijkere smeermiddelen? Kees Oskam Trainer/Consultant Van Meeuwen Industries De behoefte aan biologische smeermiddelen wordt steeds groter, maar er zijn nog veel vragen over het gebruik. Kees geeft antwoord op: -Wat zijn dit voor smeermiddelen en wat is de afbreekbaarheid hiervan? -Wat zegt de wet- en regelgeving hierover? -Welke schade brengt een conventioneel smeermiddel aan het milieu? -Kunnen we smeermiddelen ook hergebruiken? Inspiratie met het rode bankje De Dagvoorzitter spreekt een senior- en junior professional uit de praktijk over de toepassing van biobased materialen. Hierin is er ruimte voor de zaal om gezamenlijk de dialoog aan te gaan Henk Jonkers onderzoekt de ontwikkeling van innovatieve, biobased en duurzame bouwmaterialen en is wetenschappelijk adviseur van TU Delft spin-off bedrijf Basilisk Pablo Borkes richtte zich tijdens zijn afstudeerstage op de ontwikkeling van Grasfalt, een innovatief asfaltmengsel waarbij bitumen is vervangen door het biobased bindmiddel lignine dat afkomstig is uit olifantsgras
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(*) Deelnemers kunnen aantonen dat ze Coronavrij zijn (via test, niet ouder dan 48 uur, of via de Corona Checkapp)
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14 December, Noordwijkerhout
Meeting Materials 2021 This year’s session topics will be: • Engineering materials (including • • • •
additive manufacturing and steel manufacturing) Sustainability Artificial Intelligence in materials modelling and manufacturing Advanced Materials Characterisation Metamaterials (4TU.HTM session)
Meeting Materials 2019 (Foto: M2i)
What began in 1997 as an annual meeting for the Dutch materials science community, existing of a dozen researchers, students and industrial partners has blossomed into an invigorating event about innovations in materials. This year we again expect over 300 participants, representatives from SME’s to renowned industrial manufacturing companies, and from international universities and research institutes. This year the Program consists of interesting workshops and presentations and of course a lot of
opportunities to expand your network. M2i Meeting Materials 2021 is free of charge and open for everyone who is interested in materials development. The conference is an opportunity to learn about the latest insights and developments in the field of innovative and smart materials, along with ways in which these materials can stimulate economic progress and a sustainable society. This day is co-organized with 4TU.HTM and supported by the Bond voor Materialenkennis (BvM).
SMEs (MKB) or start-ups involved in materials development are invited to participate in the yearly Elevator Pitch session. An unique opportunity to catch the attention of a very diverse audience with a 90 seconds presentation.
Exhibition of expertise
All participants in the Elevator Pitch session will get the chance to display their products and services in the central conference hall throughout the conference. Great opportunity to network with the audience. Interested in joining the Elevator Pitch session? Please email your input to email@example.com> More at M2i>
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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 November 2021. For recent updates: www.innovatievematerialen.nl iENA Nuremberg 4 - 7 November 2021, Nuremberg
Nordbygg 2022 26 - 29 April 2022, Stockholm
BOUWXPO 12 - 14 November 2021, Kortrijk
FIT Show 2022 10 - 12 May 2022, Birmingham
3D Delta week 6 - 10 December 2021
Glasdag 2022 9 or 16 June 2022, Leusden
Meeting Materials 2021 14 December 2021, Noordwijkerhout
SurfaceTechnology GERMANY, 21 - 23 June 2022, Stuttgart
Digital BAU 15 - 17 February 2022, Cologne
Ceramitec 2022 21 - 24 June 2022, Munich
Solids 2022 16 - 17 February 2022, Dortmund
Glasstec 2022 20- 23 September 2022, Düsseldorf
Ulmer Betontage 2022 22 - 24 February 2022, Ulm
Bioceramics32 20 - 23 September 2022, Venice
JEC World 2022 8 - 10 March 2022, Paris-Nord
Holz 2022 11 - 15 October 2022, Basel
BLE.CH 2022 8 - 10 March 2022, Bern
K Messe Düsseldorf 19 - 26 October 2022
ESEF 2022 15 - 18 March 2022, Utrecht
EuroBLECH 2022, 25 - 28 October 2022, Hannover
Material District 5 - 7 April 2022, Utrecht
VETECO 2022 15 - 18 November 2022, Frankfurt am Main
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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.