Archimats could revolutionise the construction industry
Archimats are ‘architectured’ materials that have an organised intertwined or interlocking inner architecture that can be engineered to have superior strength, a high tolerance to damage and good thermal insulation compared with other conventional composite materials such as concrete. Archimats can also better absorb energy and provide improved compliance and flexibility.
Led by Monash University, an international research team is now pioneering these recyclable materials, which could revolutionise the building industry. Their research is published in Advanced Engineering Materials.
One way to achieve this superior property profile is via severe plastic deformation (SPD) — a technique that results in an ultrafine grain size or nanocrystalline structure. The structural patterns caused by SPD processing can improve the mechanical characteristics and physical properties of materials.
Project lead Professor Yuri Estrin, an Honorary Professorial Fellow in Monash University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, said a further benefit of archimats is the ease of assembly and disassembly it provides a structure, as well as the nearly full recyclability of the elements involved.
“Archimats therefore offer smarter, safer and more sustainable materials for use in manufacturing and industrial design, with the building industry being arguably the greatest potential beneficiary of this design concept,” Professor Estrin said.
“Archimats are also suitable for micromanufacturing. They can be produced using desktop or benchtop manufacturing processes, without the need for heavy equipment and large amounts of material.
“This opens up new possibilities for industry to explore the use of archimats for application in smart manufacturing; in particular the development of gear for microelectromechanical systems, micro devices and miniaturised drones, as well as superior structural materials for the automotive and aerospace industries.”
Use of archimats in the construction industry could help to reduce the use of concrete and cut carbon dioxide emissions associated with its production. The material could also be used to build or rebuild in arid or disaster-affected zones. This includes rapidly deployable and removable structures in danger areas, such as a town or city impacted by fire, for first responders and displaced citizens.