New connector for sustainable structures on Earth and in space
(Press-News.org) During his time at EPFL under the Erasmus program, Romain van Wassenhove came up with an idea for a connector that could be used to make modular structures out of sustainable bamboo rather than wood, plastic or metal. "I wanted to focus my Master's on a topic that had meaning to me and that would lead to a concrete application," he says. "Working with bamboo was something I already had in mind while I was studying in Brussels." His connectors can be 3D-printed in biosourced plastic and are customizable to the type of material used for the structure.
Van Wassenhove got the idea for his connector during a class at EPFL on composite materials and developed the concept further through his Master's project, co-directed at EPFL by Senior Scientist Anastasios Vassilopoulos and by associate professor Lars De Laet at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). In September 2020, soon after graduating, he obtained research funds - through an EPFL Ignition Grant - to enhance the design and operation of his connector and test it on an initial application involving bamboo structures. Today van Wassenhove's invention is EU patent-protected, and his research has just been published in Composite Structures, a leading journal for composite materials and their applications.
In association with his project, called B'Novus, van Wassenhove has created an online program where users can design stylish, modular bamboo furniture assembled with the help of his connector. The program could be particularly useful to individuals and the organizers of events and temporary exhibitions, for example. After customers create their design and place their order, van Wassenhove generates cutting files for the bamboo sections. He then sends those files, along with the 3D printing plans for the connectors, to a local manufacturer - he uses manufacturers located as close as possible to his customers, so as to minimize the environmental impact.
Many hurdles to overcome
Quite a few hurdles still lie on van Wassenhove's path. First of all, Europe's bamboo industry is in its infancy. "Bamboo is still seen as 'poor man's wood,' associated with patio furniture, exotic vacations and eco-friendly lifestyles," says van Wassenhove. He also points out that Europe lacks the manufacturing know-how to cut bamboo properly. But bamboo has many sustainability advantages over wood, its direct competitor: because bamboo grows so quickly, it's up to four times more productive than trees; it can fixate up to 30% more CO2 than leafy trees; its mechanical properties make it surprisingly solid; and, thanks to van Wassenhove's connectors, it can be used without too much fabrication work required.
The remaining hurdles haven't discouraged the young entrepreneur. "My goal is to bring bamboo to European industry, as part of the transition to a more sustainable economy," he says. He already sees applications for bamboo in construction, such as by using concrete-filled bamboo stems in buildings' structural elements.
Space, the next frontier
In addition to potentially revolutionizing Europe's construction industry, Van Wassenhove's B'Novus connectors may be bound for space. Three Master's students at ENAC are using his parametric design to develop a five-meter-high meteorological tower as part of the Asclepios project, a student-run cross-disciplinary initiative to conduct experiments under the same conditions as on the Moon and Mars. It's modeled after a utility pole and consists of lightweight, composite materials - rather than bamboo - that can be easily assembled.
Romain van Wassenhove, Lars De Laet et Anastasios P. Vassilopoulos, "A 3D printed bio-composite removable connection system for bamboo spatial structures", Composite Structures, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compstruct.2021.114047
[Attachments] See images for this press release:
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Scientists from the University of Graz (Austria), Skoltech and their colleagues from the US and Germany have developed a new neural network that can reliably detect coronal holes from space-based observations. This application paves the way for more reliable space weather predictions and provides valuable information for the study of the solar activity cycle. The paper was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Much like our life on Earth depends on the light of the Sun, our electronic "life" depends on the activity of our closest star and its interactions with Earth's magnetic field. For the ...
Carbon loss in Canadian peatland is projected to increase by 103 per cent under a high emission scenario, according to new research led by scientists from the University of Waterloo.
The results of the study, which was published today in Nature's Communications Earth & Environment journal, reinforces the urgent need for a comprehensive understanding of peatlands as evolving sources of atmospheric CO2 in a warming world.
Peatlands, which are a type of wetland, are some of the most valuable ecosystems globally. In addition to their role in preserving biodiversity and minimizing ...
Older Chinese immigrants who adjust to their new cultural environment by learning the language, following the country's media and socializing with local residents can reduce acculturation gap with their adult children and protect their cognitive function, according to a Rutgers study.
The study, published in the journal Aging and Mental Health, is one of the first to explore the relationship between intergenerational families, acculturation and cognitive function among older Chinese Americans.
Researchers looked 2,900 Chinese Americans over age 60 who had at least one child and who participated in the PINE Study, an epidemiological study of older Chinese Americans. They analyzed three areas of acculturation - language, media use and ethnic social relations - and how they corresponded ...
What's as long a basketball court, taller than a b-double and has just stomped into the record books as Australia's largest dinosaur? It's time to meet Australotitan cooperensis - a new species of giant sauropod dinosaur from Eromanga, southwest Queensland.
Australotitan, "the southern titan", has been scientifically described and named by Queensland Museum and Eromanga Natural History Museum palaeontologists.
It is estimated to have reached a height of 5-6.5 metres at the hip and 25- 30 metres in length and sits within the top 10-15 largest dinosaurs world-wide, representing Australia's entry into the largest species to have ever walked the Earth.
The fossilised skeleton was originally nicknamed 'Cooper' after Cooper Creek, ...
An international team of scientists led from the Centre for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA), with participation from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has used the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) to study a representative sample of galaxies, both disc and spheroidal, in a deep sky zone in the constellation of the Great Bear to characterize the properties of the stellar populations of galactic bulges. The researchers have been able to determine the mode of formation and development of these galactic structures. The results of this study were recently published in The Astrophysical Journal.
The researchers focused their study on massive disc and spheroidal galaxies, using imaging data from ...
Bad sleep causes severe health issues and affects our ability to concentrate, memorize, and cope with challenging situations. Individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and intellectual disability, frequently suffer from sleep problems. However, little is known about their underlying mechanisms. In Science Advances, a Dutch-American research team, coordinated by Radboudumc, now describes how these problems can arise. Mimicking two genetic causes of autism in fruit flies, they uncovered that flies show the same sleep problems as the patients, and that the disturbed ...
Ancient chickens lived significantly longer than their modern equivalents because they were seen as sacred - not food - archaeologists have found.
Experts have developed the first reliable method of finding the age of fowl who lived thousands of years ago. Their research shows they lived to advanced ages, and were kept for ritual sacrifice or cockfighting rather than meat or egg production.
Chickens today live for a few weeks (in the UK poultry birds live for between 33 and 81 days), but during the Iron Age, Roman and Saxon period they lived up to the age of two, three or even four years old.
On Friday, 11 June, Europe's men's football teams will start the European Championship a year later than planned. The favourite this time is France with a probability of winning of 14.8 per cent. This is what an international team of researchers consisting of Andreas Groll and Franziska Popp (both TU Dortmund, Germany), Gunther Schauberger (TU Munich, Germany), Christophe Ley and Hans Van Eetvelde (both Ghent University, Belgium), Achim Zeileis (University of Innsbruck, Austria) and Lars Hvattum (Molde University College, Norway) has shown with the help of machine learning. Their forecast combines several statistical models for ...
For years, psychology researchers have treated peer rejection and social network isolation as being somewhat interchangeable when it comes to early adolescence; it was thought that if kids fell into one of those two groups, they fell into the other. A recent study finds there is actually little overlap between the groups - and socially isolated kids face different risks.
"Broadly speaking, there are two types of socially marginalized groups in early adolescence," says Kate Norwalk, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at North Carolina State University. "There are kids who face peer rejection, meaning they are disliked by other kids; and there are kids who are experiencing social network isolation, meaning they don't have a ...
Many contemporary political conflicts are between those who would prioritize the needs of local or national communities and those with a more universal outlook. According to a new study by IASS researcher Silvia Weko, this split between "communitarian" and "cosmopolitan" Europeans is also evident in their attitudes towards European climate policy. Achieving climate neutrality without exacerbating societal divisions within and between countries will require the EU to strike a careful balance.
In political philosophy cosmopolitans and communitarians are frequently characterized as "winners" and "losers" of globalization. ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
[Press-News.org] New connector for sustainable structures on Earth and in space