This research was supported by the University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation Grant (URF) to Dr. Laia Mogas-Soldevila. It is also partially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER AWARD (NSF CAREER-1944691- CMMI), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Future Eco Manufacturing Research Grant (NSF, FMRG-CMMI 2037097) to Dr. Masoud Akbarzadeh.
With the construction industry being one of the leading contributors to annual carbon dioxide emissions and waste production, the utilization of sustainable materials is critical for the future of the built environment. Therefore, this research explores using sand as primary support by combining structural and material optimization methods. The main objective of this research was to go beyond a compression-only material and invent a new composition of material using natural sources with both compression and tensile capacity. Thus, a composite is designed with an enhanced tensile capacity provided by natural fibers, plasticizers, and binding agents. This mixture creates a biodegradable material system that can be reintegrated into the environment without adversely damaging effects. In addition, anti-clastic structural forms were developed using polyhedral graphic statics to optimize the structural capacity and provide geometric efficiency using planar surface patches. Fabrication is executed via reusable pneumatic formwork in conjunction with a non-stretchable fabric saturated with a bio-resin covered with our novel material mixture. This research results in a tension-compression system with a performative geometry and material.