Sustainability Hierarchically Structured Thermal Insulator Research

January 22, 2019

by Ben Lazarus

ben blog

This research project involves engineering a sustainable biomaterial with microscopically enhanced thermal and mechanical properties that can be 3D printed. Many of us know that nature creates geometries that give its materials impressive properties. For example, when aluminum is molded into a honeycomb shape it is 20 times stronger and only 1/6 of the weight of standard unshaped aluminum. So, what would happen if we made structures like this on the nanometer scale? Well, luckily, nature has already done that for us too. Many marine organisms, like diatoms have complex microscopic geometries that are too small for human manufacturing techniques. The goal of this project is to incorporate these naturally occurring structures into an environmentally friendly 3D printable material. Applications for such a technique range from environmentally friendly insulation for homes to structural materials created entirely from easily renewable algae.

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