Porous Loops

Porous Loops is a lightweight composite facade panel that was developed during a 12 week long master thesis project as part of a larger research endeavour investigating 3D printing (3DP) of mineral foams. This material group is used in construction because of its insulating and lightweight properties. For the first time a building scale application using 3DP of mineral foam is presented.

Robotic fabrication setup with (a) IRB120, (b) mobile print bed and (c) stationary syringe extruder Patrick Bedarf | dbt
Prototyping evolution. Top row: improving surface quality. Middle row: maximizing print height. Bottom row: reducing cracks. Patrick Bedarf | dbt

The innovative mineral foam developed by FenX AG is derived from abundant industrial waste, non-flammable and fully recyclable. In this research project the printed foam elements were sintered in a furnace to achieve their full mechanical strength. After sintering, all foam elements were assembled within a metal frame with reinforcement pins and cast out using fibre-reinforced ultra high performance concrete (UHPC). The resulting composite facade panel shows the potential of using 3DP of mineral foams for bespoke lightweight architectural elements.

Fabrication of the final demonstrator. Left: 3DP of one module. Right: assembly of sintered modules in steel frame before casting of UHPC. Patrick Bedarf | dbt
Full-scale demonstrator. Overall impression and closeups. Patrick Bedarf | dbt