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Multi-Material Printing of Multi Lengthscale Bio-composite Membranes


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We present advances in a water-based fabrication and design approach for the 3D-printing of functionally graded bio-composites. These developments demonstrate further refinement and large-scale deployment of Water-Based Digital Fabrication in the construction of architectural-scale membrane structures. Fully biodegradable and composed of the most abundant materials of our planet —cellulose, chitosan, and water—these bio-composites represent a versatile system for the construction of dynamic membrane structures with graded mechanical and optical properties across scales. The described digital fabrication system, based on the Fabrication-Information Modeling (FIM) approach, enables the simultaneous printing and mixing of water-soluble materials through real-time feedback-driven control logics. In this way, we explore programming material behaviors through the design of diffusion-based material gradients in biocomposite hydrogels and examine the impact of local and global material cues on the full-scale assembled structure. Novel generative design methods integrate material-specific fabrication parameters and enable data-driven, hierarchical organization of the manufacturing workflow. The parametric control of the chemical composition in the 3D printing process allows for the customization of structural, environmental performative parameters of the structures across scales. In combination, these methods comprise a scalable fabrication system for the creation of adaptable, biodegradable membrane structures with minimal need for environmental control.

Keywords: Additive manufacturing; architectural hydrogels; biocomposite; fabrication-information modeling; functionally graded materials; material ecology; membrane structures; water-based fabrication

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Authors with equal contributions 2: Mediated Matter Group, MIT Media Lab, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 75 Amherst St., Cambridge MA, 02139, USA *, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: October 7, 2019

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