In the lab of Architectural Materials, explore the tools used to create custom materials for a specific design project, and see how some the materials are being used.
- We're in the Architectural Materials Tactile Lab and with us we have Greg Romine, we have Serhan with us that's going to give us some examples of some of the things that they do inside the Tactile Lab. First thing I want to ask about is what's this thing right here? This looks like a pull handle of some sort? - Yeah, it's a prototype for our Tactile Hardware product line and what we do is we model it, and we CNC or 3D print, and then we put the type of finish on it to see if it really looks as good as it did in our mind, so-- - So the hardware biz, too, huh? - Yeah, it's very exciting.
- This looks pretty unique. Is this part of some new, this new system you have here? Is this composite, for something? - No, this is a connector for a ceiling system. And, you know, ceiling systems are generally very flat and planar, and so what we're trying to do through R&D is create a very interesting intersections of ceilings and they marry with contoured ceiling elements so this is how you see that from underneath and this facilitates lighting, sprinklers, etcetera.
- Okay so the hole is the access for the utilities to access or it also generates a look and a feel. - Yeah. - Nice. - This is 3D printed with metal. - Any color? These look like anything? - Yeah, they range from, we're experimenting with everything from carbon fiber to fabric material for acoustics to FRG, which is fiber-reinforced gypsum. So it looks like a lightweight concrete, but obviously we don't want concrete suspended ceilings, so-- - I don't want to pick, this looks really heavy.
What's inside here? - So that's our polymer concrete composite. - [Interviewer] Oh yeah. - So that has a glass aggregate and it's suspended in the polymer, and so we're able to make very 3D complex shapes and we have a launch project that we just finished which is a curvilinear, it's an 82 foot long bench that is made out of the polymer concrete composite.
- And what are some of the elements of the bench that made this a good choice for that bench? - Just, it was highly curvilinear. It curved in multiple directions at one time, and then we needed to have a very thin sightline, and so the material is super strong, so the edge of that bench is only one-inch thick, but it spans quite a large distance. - Beautiful. And this is pretty fancy stuff. What are you doing here? - So, this is our concrete composite material with a glass aggregate and this is our new material that's polymer concrete composite and what we're trying to do is we're trying to match the same color consistency and same gloss with this.
So, we have a spectrophotometer and we use this to measure color lightness and red and blue values using a L*a*b* scale, just like you would see in Pantone or Photoshop. And this is a glossmeter that measures the gloss units so how much glossiness on the surface is. It gives us, in gloss units, from zero to 100 scale. - So you start with a piece like this and you use this as your baseline and then you see where you are on your samples? - Right, so we know how much to polish to bring the shine to the desired level.
- That's great. That's really cool. And there's some really cool stuff going on right here. Can we check this out? - Sure. - So, wow, what is going on? This looks like an actual, functional test here, that you have going on here. - Yeah, it's a visual test. What we're doing is seeing the effect of water on the suspended minerals within the acrylic polymer. And the purpose of this is to create water features.
Large monolithic water features that only have one inch thick of water, because you can't drown in one inch of water, and also it saves water. So what we're doing is we're creating something where you can have water, kids can play in it, and it creates visual interest from the reflectivity of the light off of the minerals. So, knock yourself out. - Wow. I bet this looks amazing. Whoa, look at that, you can see the movement. You can actually see when the water moves it makes the minerals look like they're moving as well.
- [Greg] Yep. - Oh, wow, this is one inch, okay. - So, these are test panels, but, it looks like we'll be able to make these rather large. Some of them, 12 feet by 50 feet long, single piece. - [Interviewer] This is going to look like this big, expansive pool, but it's only one inch deep. - That's right. - Children will be able to play safely and you're not wasting a lot of water. - Yep, and it gives visual interest. - That is beautiful, beautiful. I love the way it moves.
What is the, what's goin' on over here? I saw there was a CNC machine over there? - Yeah, let's take a look. - [Interviewer] Alright, cool. - Oh I see we got a CNC machine. - Yes. - And a nice big, I don't know, what are we looking at here? What's goin' on? - So this is, we're creating a prototype for a carbon fiber sun shade and the challenge with sun shades is that on the exterior building is that they impose loads on the building both in self weight and also during wind loads, so, what we want to do is we want to create a super lightweight sun shade that can be super durable with a 25-30 year life.
So, we're doing a prototype. - Well, Serhan, why are you making it this way, I mean, is this a mold, or is this a-- - Yeah, this is actually a negative mold for our carbon fiber sun shade prototype, first article, and we use high density van board to create that. And then we have CNC machine, three axis CNC machine hooked up to our computer and, just running it, roughing and finishing passes right now.
Roughing is done and we're doing the finishing pass. It's not running right now because it's very loud but, yeah, so we're finishing that up today. - That's really cool. I can't wait to see the finished product. That's going to be a really neat thing to see out in, actually in context to the way you're going to do it. So I really want to appreciate both of you for letting us film and join us in our class, 'cause I think that's been a really great venture and I hope that we get to be here for the next Tactile solution that you get to bring to the table.
- Alright, good to have you - Thank you.
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