urban

Moss Voltaics

cnc millingrenewable energy sourceurban  , ,

  Moss Voltaics is a green façade system that aims to explore how moss might be used as a source of renewable energy and how it can be implemented to the urban scale. Mentioned emerging technology is called biophotovoltaics (BPV) which uses the natural process of photosynthesis to generate electrical energy. In this process plants using light energy consume carbon dioxide and water from the environment to convert it into organic compounds. Those compounds are required for the vital processes of a plant. “When the moss photosynthesises it releases some of these organic compounds into the soil which contains symbiotic bacteria. The bacteria break down the compounds, which they need to survive, liberating by-products that include electrons.” (From <http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/the-hidden-power-of-moss> ) By providing an electrode for the micro-organisms to donate their electrons to, the electrons can be harvested as electricity. The system can work with other species of plants and algae, nevertheless moss was chosen because of its eligible properties. As mosses are commonly found in cities: in cracks between paving, on roofs, on walls and trees, the system can be well adapted into the urban environment. Advantages of mosses over higher plants include reduced weight loads, increased water absorption, no fertilizer requirements, high drought tolerance and low maintenance. Compared with silicon-based photovoltaic cells, a solar cell that uses biological material to capture light energy would be cheaper to produce, self-repairing, self-replicating, biodegradable and much more sustainable. The manufacturing process is harmless to the environment. Furthermore BPV panels can exist in the places where solar panels are not efficient – northern countries with the lack of direct sunlight. Biophotovoltaic cell represents an organization of units combined in series or parallel circuits. Unit is a full operating bio-electrical system. It consists of the anodic biological material (moss), the anode, the cathode, the cathodic catalyst, the “salt bridge” that permit to the positive charge (generally protons) to travel from the anodic biological material to the cathode. The anode represents the mixture of hydrogel and carbon fibers that help to attract the electrons. Hydrogel is a polymer that can absorb water up to 400 times to its weight, it keeps complementary humidity for the moss and it is pH neutral. The materials are not damaging any metabolism. Thus first tests to check how fibers coexist with moss and polyacrylate were made. One unit 100×100 mm: for the anode were mixed carbon fibers and hydrogel in cubes (sliced for thinner small sheets) + a layer of carbon fabric, the mixture was covered with moss. The cell showed 0,35 volts. Meanwhile “moss plantation” was set up wherefrom anode would be taken for embedding it to the structure. For this fibers with polyacrylate were mixed and moss was placed atop and pressed down + moss was divided in small pieces and distributed over the same mixture. After 1 months moss grew through the mixture of carbon fibers and hydrogel. Design of a system. Bricks represent sort of a container that can create special microclimate that helps to keep

Read details

Hydroceramics

cnc millingrenewable energy sourceurban  , ,

The increasing development and application of “smart” materials in other industries has opened up new design possibilities at the material and “behavioral” scale of architecture. The studio [DMIC] DIGITAL MATTER INTELLIGENT CONSTRUCTIONS in the academic year 2014 at the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia aimed to redefine and embed ‘intelligence’ into the built environment by the use of responsive materials, designing and implementing systems to aid the building performance by digital simulations and fabrication. The built environment then becomes a living thing as part of nature and not outside of it. Buildings start working as organisms with biological systems that are live processes between the building its surroundings. This project aims to speculate the thermodynamic processes in a building and how these can be tackled passively with a class of materials called ‘hydrogel’. The term ‘hydrogel’ refers to a class of substances that absorb and retain 500 times their weight in water.Chemically they can be insoluble polymers of hydroxyethyl acrylate, acrylamide, polyethylene oxide, and others. As a cooling aid they work by exposing the absorbed water to a large surface area. Since the heat of vaporization of water is about 0.6 kilocalories per gram, a cooling effect occurs. Taking this phenomenon as a hypothesis, the project aims at prototyping a custom building element by the hygothermal (humidity and temperature) analysis of buildings to meet the habitable conditions required for the comfort zone in a particular context. The final prototype “Hydroceramic” works as an evaporative cooling device which reduces temperature and increases the humidity and is capable of lowering down the temperature of the indoor environment by about 5 to 6 degree. It’s passive embedded intelligence makes its performance directly proportional to the heat in the outdoor environment i.e. it cools more when it is more hot and doesn’t cool when no evaporation is occurring.These results were determined by an experiment set up to test the effect of hydrogel in reducing the temperature of a closed environment at the same time establishing that clay is the best material to house hydrogel in the prototype. Clay, Aluminum and Acrylic were tested against a control which helped determine that it is the porous nature of clay that makes it aid the cooling properties of hydrogel in the best way. It can help save up to 28% of overall electricity consumption caused by the traditional air-conditioning and can be used as an low-cost alternative building technology as both clay and hydrogel are inexpensive. TEAM: Akanksha Rathee, Pong Santayanon IAAC_Digital Matter Intelligent Consructions_2014 Faculty: Areti Markopoulou Assistants: Alexandre Dubor, Moritz Begle master in advanced architecture 2013/14 Booklet blog May 2014   

Read details

Flower pavement in concrete

cnc millingparametricurban  , ,

Our intention with this experiment was to create a hexagonal grid within the tile boundaries which could be universally distorted to create topography or other dynamic surfaces for de-centralized irrigation to the edges. The channels for water flow are derived from this grid using a simple script and are embedded within an undulating surface so as to appear and disappear with the changing elevation. Through triangulation, we were able to manipulate the vertices of the grid independently in order to provide pathways for the flow of water, and allocate the zones for collecting and dispersing the water to neighboring tiles. Using the Delaunay triangulation as a springboard for scripting, we positioned outside vertices of the geometry at the prescribed exits points for the water flow. The interior of the triangulation was populated randomly, but with an emphasis on creating a decentralized pattern. We then deconstructed the mesh in order to prescribe the simple rule that additional curves should be introduced for each side of every triangle, and that their geometries should be defined using the end points of each side and the centroid of the triangle. Hiding the original triangulation, we further disguised the underlying hexagonal grid and established the basis for our water flow. TEAM: Robert Douglas McKaye, Sinem Samanci. IAAC_2014 December 2013   

Read details

Artefact in woods

lightingurban  ,

The concept of lighting in woods. An attractive point near the main path. February 2013   

Read details