3D printing helps designers build a better brick

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3Dbricks
Using 3-D printing and advanced geometry, a team at Cornell has developed a new kind of building material – interlocking ceramic bricks that are lightweight, need no mortar and make efficient use of materials.

Developed by the Sabin Design Lab in collaboration with Cornell and Jenny Sabin Studio, the PolyBrick project team included assistant professor of architecture Jenny Sabin with senior research associate Martin Miller, a visiting critic at Cornell; visiting lecturer Andrew Lucia; and Nicholas Cassab, B.Arch. ’14.

“PolyBrick is the first mortarless, 3-D printed wall assembly,” Sabin said. “It will allow for the production of ceramic wall assemblies that are robust and high strength due to the novel implementation of highly complex and organic generative design strategies that are also simply and economically produced. … 3-D printing allows us to build and design like nature does, where every part is different, but there is a coherence to the overall form at a global scale.”

PolyBricks feature tapered dovetail joints like those used in woodworking, and the tapered sides of the bricks can be oriented in wall assemblies to maximize structural strength.

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