Plant-based insulating concrete as an alternative
Many architects may love exposed concrete, but monolithic facades made from standard and lightweight concrete usually do not meet the high requirements for heat insulation. Residential buildings pose a particular challenge: often a thermal barrier coating has to be applied to the facades in order to provide optimal insulation.
The concrete then disappears behind the insulation and with it the distinctive aesthetic effect of the material used. When the time comes to dismantle the building, separating the construction materials can be very time-consuming where dual-coating facade systems are used. Concrete is generally easy to recycle, but only if it is free from non-mineral components – which isn’t the case in this scenario.
With Deton, Berlin company Deton UG has developed a sustainable construction material that tackles this problem. In addition to cement, Deton contains plant fibres and recycled filling material. As a mineral and organic construction material, it is fully recyclable. Its closed-pore surface ensures permanent damp protection and prevents water ingress, making the construction material mould-resistant, fire-resistant and bulletproof.
What’s more, the plant fibres in the cement stone guarantee Deton’s thermal properties: the homogeneous volume of the material creates additional storage mass, which counteracts overheating of the building in summer and night-time cooling in winter. With these excellent insulation properties, Deton achieves the Passivhaus standard with a wall thickness of approximately 50 centimetres. Further insulation is not required.
Deton 3D: the extrusion process
With Deton 3D, the company’s research is focused on an extrusion process in which cement, sand and water are premixed with additional components using a process patented by Deton UG. By depositing thin strands of fresh Deton, construction projects can be built using 3D concrete modelling.
A screw conveyor is used as the extruder. It presses fresh concrete down a tube with circular openings. The extruder is guided by a carbon frame that sits on rails and can be adapted to the dimensions of the construction.
Even large developments can be built comparatively quickly with this method. Lowering the proportion of cement by replacing it with adhesive fibres offers benefits for the production process and for the properties of the hardened construction material. These include reducing its weight and thermal conductivity.
Deton 3D is designed as a further development of Deton for 3D concrete modelling. Compared to conventional reinforced concrete processes, significant potential savings can be achieved with fully automated 3D concrete modelling in construction. It can cut material costs, planning costs, implementation costs, transport and logistics costs, construction time and, of course, wage costs.
Construction 4.0 – a vision of the future
Nail Förderer, CEO of Deton UG, has set out to revolutionise the construction industry with the development of Deton and 3D concrete modelling. “Deton is a multifunctional material that we combine with 3D concrete modelling,” he explains.
“This combination will make construction more efficient and more environmentally friendly in the future. The construction industry can be sustainably transformed and finally make a contribution to saving our environment.”
The company founder has a vision of automation in which self-organising construction employs cutting-edge robotic and 3D concrete modelling technologies. How this will work in practice is something he’ll explain on 22 May 2019 in Speakers’ Corner at interzum 2019.