3D-Printed Ceramic Bricks Need No Power to Cool Your Building
Photos via treehugger.com
Air conditioning has revolutionized the way people live in dry, hot climates and has transformed the demographics of formerly uninhabitable regions. Today, the 3D-printed Cool Brick concept is revolutionizing air conditioning.
The aptly named Cool Brick was designed by Emerging Objects, an Oakland, California-based pioneering design company (http://www.emergingobjects.com/). The brick uses a smart combination of natural materials, a 3D printer and a new twist on the concept of evaporative cooling in order to make the old, cumbersome air conditioning systems unnecessary. Simply put, the brick is a masonry structure used to build self-cooling walls. It achieves this by making ingenious use of the well-known ability of water vapor to cool a space.
The underlying principle is simple: water needs energy to go from a liquid to a vapor phase. Therefore, water evaporation lowers the temperature of the environment by using heat. While the benefits of evaporative cooling have been ripped from times immemorial, the difference is that the Cool Brick takes the concept into the realm of building materials.
The Cool Brick is built of a sustainable mixture of clay and organic materials that gives it a porous quality and allows it to absorb water like a sponge. When air passes through the spaces of its lattice-like structure, the water cools it down through the process of evaporation. This transforms the warm, dry outdoor air into cool and moist indoor air, turning a potentially unlivable indoor area into a pleasant, healthy space.
Designers Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello did not leave any detail to chance. The cooling quality of the bricks is enhanced by their apparently quaint but clever shape. While flat, smooth exterior walls tend to overheat, the partially raised design of the Cool Brick creates shading areas that keep the building façade cooler.
This is a passive, natural form of cooling that does not need power and energy-consuming machinery. The benefits are hard to overlook. The energy-saving potential of Cool Brick buildings adds to the comfort of a space freed from the inconveniences of noisy and massive air conditioning systems.
The design takes advantage of 3D printing, another remarkable technique apt to revolutionize the manufacturing and distribution process. Even here, the innovative brick steps away from the mainstream and replaces the non-eco-friendly plastic with sustainable materials. The 3D printing technique adds another layer of sustainability to the construction process. It potentially makes the production of these new masonry structures possible on site and minimizes the carbon print of material manufacturing and transport.
Set in mortar like traditional masonry materials, the interlocking, modular ceramic bricks make for a picturesque sight, perfect for a modern or contemporary building with green virtues. However, their appearance creates a perfect background for any type of décor, making them a versatile choice that blends well with any particular design option.
Learn more about this green material HERE.
Learn about emerging trends of 2015 in commercial interior design HERE.
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