Lumber or Timber is when wood is processed into beams and planks for further use. Humans have been using this process for centuries and we have seen its disastrous consequences on the environment. We are at a stage, where we cannot afford destroying any more forests for our hunger for wood. The need of the hour is a sustainable alternative of wood which is practically unavailable in our natural habitat. However with a little out of the box thinking and use of alternate renewable materials available to us that can replace wood or at least try to do so. Many countries and their respective governments are running programs to find a solution to this however until now no one has been to get any commercial success. But no one’s losing hope, at least not the Australian government which has been funding a 3 year study through their Department of Forest and Wood Products.
This new study done by the architecture and engineering experts from the University of Sydney, the outer shell from the Macadamia nuts can be used to 3D print a new type of timber. The success of the study would make reproducing Micro Tiber (smaller parts of wood) easier than ever and eventually other forest wastes could also be used as raw material. Macadamia which is native nut found in abundance is a seed inside a green outer shell which was until now being thrown away once the nut was removed. One thing notable here is that off late these outer covering are also being used for bio fuel.
Dr. Sandra Löschke, director of architecture, design and technology at the University of Sydney and a co-leader of the research team said, “We want to create innovative, environmentally-resilient panels that are customized to react optimally to structural stress and weather exposure of a building. The work lies in the micro-layering and fusing of different 3D-printed timber compositions, to provide a unique material and geometric gradient suitable for large-scale building projects.”
No specific date for the commercial availability of this 3d printed Micro Tiber is available to us. However if we go by the reputation developed by the University of Sydney to successfully handle 3D printing-based research, we can safely say that that this project will be completed sooner than later.
Co-leader of the project Andy Dong from the Warren Centre Chair for Engineering Innovation at the University of Sydney also sounded pretty confident when he said “Architectural and structural design aspirations are driving innovations in new value-added timber products, including the conversion of so-called waste material into a bespoke product. The anticipated outcomes of the research are highly significant for the forestry industry. It could fundamentally change the way Australia produces timber-based products.”
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