What are some of the ways unlikely materials can push the sustainability envelope?
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What are some of the ways unlikely materials can push the sustainability envelope?

What are some of the ways unlikely materials can push the sustainability envelope?
By Editorial Staff -

The call for submissions for the themed issue “The Good Material” of The Plan Journal (TPJ) urges us to consider that: 

…the call for a healthier and more sustainable physical environment is becoming an unavoidable imperative. The design fields have a responsibility and a unique opportunity to answer this call, and thus the need for a new materiality is emerging with urgency. We need more sustainable materials, more efficient and lasting construction systems, less waste, smarter recycling processes, community driven experimentation, research and innovation for a new tectonics capable to leverage our collective design intelligence across disciplines, communities and cultures. 
(Maurizio Sabini, Editor-in-Chief of The Plan Journal) 

 

We share some innovative research from two contributions to TPJ’s “The Good Material” issue. In “Performance-Based Computational Design and Fabrication for A Resilient Solution: Dredged Material for Masonry Vault Construction,” the authors BoSheng Liu and Rui Liu ask: What are the commonalities between “the practice of tile vault construction in the fourteenth century to the modern tile vault renaissance in the early twenty-first century and the tensegrity system”? In the article “Material as Common Good: Feedstock Valorization in Building Materials Using Biochar as a Case Study,” the author James Forren asks: Is it possible that “repurposing biomass waste biochar offers a corrective to extracting resources for building materials”? 

Finally, we share some information regarding research about a newgood materialdeveloped at MIT

 

THE PLAN JOURNAL LOOKS AT UNLIKELY MATERIALS AND THEIR POTENTIAL USE IN DESIGN. 

>>We encourage you to browse The Plan Journal and explore abstracts and articles in TPJ Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2 beginning to post on The Good Material.

 

Dredged material 

The authors BoSheng Liu and Rui Liu of the article “Performance-Based Computational Design and Fabrication for A Resilient Solution: Dredged Material for Masonry Vault Construction,” suggest that “each practice embodies resiliency and ingenuity in architecture based on the knowledge of material testing, the performance of structure, and experimentation.” 

 BoSheng Liu and Rui Liu, showing first 3D printed dredged material vault. Courtesy of © the Authors.BoSheng Liu and Rui Liu, showing first 3D printed dredged material vault. Courtesy of © the Authors.

The authors continue to explain that “performance-based ‘intelligent’ design is critical to achieve sustainable urban development with the continued demands on natural resources and the built environment.” 

>> The abstract is available in THE PLAN Journal Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2

 

Biochar 

In the article “Material as Common Good: Feedstock Valorization in Building Materials Using Biochar as a Case Study,” the author James Forren uses “a materially driven design approach [to] the research program [and] explored biochar as a fine aggregate, or sand, replacement in concrete specifically for precast concrete architectural panels.”

 James Forren, demonstrator installation: visualization. Rendering by © Laure Nolte. Courtesy of © the Author.James Forren, demonstrator installation: visualization. Rendering by © Laure Nolte. Courtesy of © the Author. 

Forren continues to explain that “the longer-term plan for the research is to establish a range of modalities in which different types of material feedstock-conversion-utilization pathways can be piloted and validated. Our lab is in the process of developing a pilot of intersector collaboration with agriculture, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and sociology researchers to link knowledge and opportunities across disciplines.” 

>> The abstract is available in THE PLAN Journal Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2

 

2DPA-1

“We don’t usually think of plastics as being something that you could use to support a building, but with this material, you can enable new things. It has very unusual properties and we’re very excited about that.”  
- Michael Strano

Using a novel polymerization process, MIT chemical engineers have created a new material that is even stronger than steel yet as light as plastic. This two-dimensional polymer material can be manufactured in bulk. It is also able to be self-assembled into sheets. The uses for this material range from heavy-duty coating for cell phones or car parts to a building material for bridges or other structures. Michael Strano is the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of this trailblazing study. 

A paper recently published in Nature by MIT postdoc Yuwen Zeng, lead author describes the researchers’ work. Strano and Zeng have filed for two patents on the process they used to generate the material they call 2DPA-1. 

>>To learn more, check out the following articles: "Irreversible synthesis of an ultrastrong two-dimensional polymeric material" or "New lightweight material is stronger than steel"

 

Why support + read TPJ? 

The Plan Journal is intended to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking, and relevant research, studies, and criticism related to architecture and urbanism. The journal grew out of an awareness that academia is all too often engaged in research that’s disconnected from the real-world challenges that face different professions, and that research is only possible for a small number of professional organizations, and, even then, with limited platforms for its dissemination. The overarching aim of TPJ is therefore to enrich the dialogue between researchers and professionals so as to foster both pertinent new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice. 

 

How does it work + why does it matter? 

Prospective contributors are encouraged to submit proposals or complete manuscripts to the Editor-in-Chief. Subject to positive feedback, proposals can then be developed into complete manuscripts and submitted for review, using the dedicated portal on the TPJ website.  

After preliminary approval, manuscripts will be forwarded to suitably qualified people for commenting. TPJ is committed to following a rigorous double-blind peer review process using at least two reviewers. The Editor-in-Chief may also occasionally invite recognized academics, critics, or professionals (including members of the editorial board) to contribute to the journal without going through the peer review process, if warranted by the author’s reputation. 

 

 

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