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Sustainability

3D Printing is Getting Hotter: ETH Zurich Knitted Conrete

Alice-India Garwood
by Alice-India Garwood on January 4, 2019

3D printing is a hot topic in construction. What makes 3D printing so critical to the industry is it’s waste prevention and money saving capabilities. With less waste, comes less opportunity to over spend on materials - perfect! The hype around 3D printing is only getting hotter as ETH Zurich invest in their latest 3D printing innovation: Knitted interiors!

ETH Zurich’s knitted shells are a new method for saving time and money on construction by reducing the amount of construction materials needed.

Also known as “Knitted Concrete”, the initial test structure involved a steel frame holding up a knitted shell that is then coated in concrete as part of an homage to Mexican-Spanish architect Felix Candela for a Mexican exhibition. The project was aptly named KnitCandela.

"The project was aptly named KnitCandela as an homage to Mexican-Spanish architect Felix Candela."

The team at ETH collaborated with Zaha Hadid Architects Computation and Design Group.

3D printing, knitting, eth, zurich, eth zurich, sustainable, creative, bobtrade, supplies, materials, building, construction[Photo Credit: ETH Zurich]

Why knitting? In a world of bioplastics and ethical concretes, what drew this team to knitting?

The method was developed by Mariana Popescu and Lex Reiter as part of a digital fabrication project. It was Popescu, as part of her doctoral research, who found that knitting when applied in architecture reduces waste, labour and cost significantly. Not only this but when it comes to the construction of complex shapes - as with KnitCandela - the whole process is simplified.

"Popescu found that knitting, when applied to architecture, reduces waste, labour and cost significantly."

Popescu had this to say about the innovation: Knitting offers a key advantage that we no longer need to create 3D shapes by assembling various parts. With the right knitting pattern, we can produce a flexible formwork for any and all kinds of shell structures, pockets and channels just by pressing a button.

3D printing, knitting, eth, zurich, eth zurich, sustainable, creative, bobtrade, supplies, materials, building, construction[Photo Credit: Arch Paper]

The technology used to create KnitCandela was developed by ETH Zurich.

In 36 hours an industrial knitting machine has created an entire duo layered 3D textile structure. The shape of the structure allows for air spaces, which, when the structure is coated in concrete means there is no need to fill these gaps and thus save on materials.

"In 36 hours an industrial knitting machine created an entire duo layered 3D textile structure."

Less waste, less cost.

3D printing, knitting, eth, zurich, eth zurich, sustainable, creative, bobtrade, supplies, materials, building, construction[Photo Credit: 3D Printing Industry]

Using less concrete saves on energy as well as money. Waste is a huge problem in the construction industry and it’s remarkable to see the developments coming out of every industry to reduce this problem.

Whether it’s robotics, textiles or even the arts, we are all working together for a greener more sustainable future and at Bobtrade we are so ready for it.

Tags: Sustainability

AUTHOR
Alice-India Garwood

Alice-India Garwood

Content Marketing Executive at Bobtrade. Interested in design, sustainability and the history of construction. I love all things indie and theatrical.