Germany's LZH, as a participant in 3DNaturDruck project, is researching how building components can be produced in 3D printing from natural fibers using additive manufacturing; processing of short natural fibers, such as wood and straw, is explored

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HANNOVER, Germany , August 9, 2022 (press release) –


In the 3DNaturDruck project, building elements made of natural fibres are to be produced additively, such as a free-form tile made of wood short fibre filament (Photo: LZH).


3D printing has long since arrived in architecture, and now it is also to become ecologically sustainable: Together with partners, the LZH is researching how individual components can be produced from natural fibers using additive manufacturing.

In the 3DNaturDruck project, architectural components, such as façade elements, are to be created from natural fiber-reinforced biopolymers in 3D printing. For this purpose, the scientists will develop the corresponding composite materials from biopolymers with both natural short fibers and natural end fibers and optimize them for processing with the additive manufacturing process FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). The goal of the project partners: to enable smart and innovative designs that are both ecological and sustainable.

The goal: Highly developed components made of sustainable materials
Within the project, different natural fiber-reinforced biopolymer composites are investigated. The partners are researching processing methods with very short natural fibers, such as wood and straw, as well as a process for printing continuous fibers from hemp and flax in combination with biopolymers. The LZH then develops processes for these new materials and adapts the tools and nozzle geometries of the FDM printer. As a demonstrator, a pavilion with the 3D-printed façade elements is to be built on the campus of the University of Stuttgart.

The project partners want to explore how additive manufacturing can be used to simplify manufacturing processes for architectural components. Natural fiber-reinforced biopolymers are particularly suitable for realizing components with complex geometries with few work steps and low material and cost expenditure. With their research, the partners are also working on completely new starting conditions for the production of newly developed architectural components: For example, the topology optimization of components according to their structural stress can be easily implemented with additive manufacturing.

Enabling natural fiber trend in architecture also by means of additive manufacturing
Interest in the use of natural fibers in structural components in architecture and construction is great, because natural fibers have several advantages at the same time. They have good mechanical properties with low weight at the same time and are highly available. As a renewable resource with sometimes very short renewal cycles, they are also ecologically clearly the better alternative than synthetic fibers.

In additive manufacturing, large-format elements for the architectural sector have so far mostly been manufactured with polymers based on fossil raw materials. The research in the 3DNaturDruck project should now also make the use of natural fibers in architecture possible for additive manufacturing.

About 3DNaturDruck
The 3DNaturDruck project is about the design and fabrication of 3D-printed components made of biocomposites using filaments with continuous and short natural fibers.

The project is coordinated by the Department of Bio-based Materials and Material Cycles in Architecture (BioMat) at the Institute for Structural Engineering and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart. In addition to the LZH, project partners are the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI) as well as the industrial companies Rapid Prototyping Technologie GmbH (Gifhorn), ETS Extrusionstechnik (Mücheln), (Berlin) and ATMAT Sp. Z o.o. (Krakow, Poland).

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture by the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. funded under the grant number 2220NR295C.

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