image technical materials resource-based economy Kadagaya

An important part of the Kadagaya project will be the development of technical materials to facilitate advanced technologies. Many highly functional modern materials already exist e.g. for insulation, construction, waterproofing, windows, sealing, and fire resistance. However, many of these materials are expensive, require high-technology production techniques, and often contain toxic chemicals. We plan to develop equivalent technologies that; are renewable, have simpler processing, mimic nature, are environmentally friendly, and can be fabricated from materials we can grow or get from the natural environment. For example rubbers can be obtained from various plants, biopolymers (plastics) can be produced from starch (from potatoes, corn, yuca etc.), fibres from flax, bamboo, hemp etc. and insulating material from mycelium (mushrooms).

In the pilot project we will mainly focus on developing construction materials. Most of the buildings will be clad in a sandwich structure made from moulded sheets of fibre-reinforced polymer composite (similar to fibreglass, but using natural fibres like bamboo and biopolymers such as PLA). The insulation between the composite sheets will be made from mycelium foam; organic waste material like wood chips or coconut husks are mixed with mycelium spores and filled into a mould (in this case between the two composite sheets), and the mycelium processes the organic material to form a natural foam-like network with good insulating properties.

We will also investigate the use of bamboo as a construction material. Bamboo is traditionally used in Asia and South America as a building material as it has high strength, toughness and an attractive appearance. It is an ideal replacement for wood as it is extremely fast growing, avoiding the logging of old-growth forests (the lungs of the planet).

image of a composite sandwich panel consisting of natural fibres and biopolymer, technical materials resource-based economy Kadagaya


Suggested links

·        Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic? TED talk (Youtube)

·        William Mcdonough: Cradle-to-cradle design (TED talk)

·        Open Source Ecology: Polylactic acid biopolymer (wiki)

·        Building with bamboo (TED talk)

·        3D printing: Rep-Rap (Youtube)