3-D printing allows for better bricks

3-D printing allows for better bricks

3-D printing allows for better bricks

Researchers have used 3-D printing to develop a new kind of building material - interlocking ceramic bricks that are lightweight and need no mortar.

Developed by the Sabin Design Lab in collaboration with Cornell university and Jenny Sabin Studio, PolyBrick is the first mortarless, 3-D printed wall assembly.

The PolyBrick project features tapered dovetail joints like those used in woodworking, and the tapered sides of the bricks can be oriented in wall assemblies to maximise structural strength.

"Each brick/component has an embedded intelligence at both the local and global scales," said assistant professor of architecture Jenny Sabin and senior research associate Martin Miller, a visiting critic at Cornell.

"At the local scale, there are geometric manipulations and exchanges built into the algorithms connecting components with their adjacent neighbours.

"Within this algorithm, there is also a global awareness of the components' orientation in Euclidean space. This awareness allows this aggregative system to implement proper taper angle to ensure gravity will lock the bricks in place," they said.

Entire buildings can be constructed using a single material, and there is almost no waste in the 3-D printed production of the bricks.

With their porous structural lattice, the ceramic bricks are a cost-effective building material, since they are much lighter and use less raw material than conventional solid bricks, and would be useful in large-scale constructions.