Acadia 2016 / Posthuman frontiers: Data, Designers and Cognitive Machines

"In-Situ self assembling fabrication techniques for bacterial cellulose bio-composite"

Abstract

Self-assembling manufacturing for natural polymers is still in its infancy, despite the urgent need for alternatives to fuel-based products. Non-fuel based products, specifically bio-polymers, possess exceptional mechanical properties and biodegradability. Bacterial cellulose has proven to be a remarkably versatile bio-polymer, gaining attention in a wide variety of applied scientific applications such as electronics, biomedical devices, and tissue-engineering. In order to introduce bacterial cellulose as a building material, it is important to develop bio-fabrication methodologies linked to material-informed computational modeling and material science. This paper emphasizes the development of three-dimensionally grown bacterial cellulose (BC) membranes for large-scale applications, and introduces new manufacturing technologies that combine the fields of bio-materials science, digital fabrication, and material-informed computational modeling. This paper demonstrates a novel method for bacterial cellulose bio-synthesis as well as in-situ self-assembly fabrication and scaffolding techniques that are able to control three-dimensional shapes and material behavior of BC. Furthermore, it clarifies the factors affecting the bio-synthetic pathway of bacterial cellulose—such as bacteria, environmental conditions, nutrients, and growth medium—by altering the mechanical properties, tensile strength, and thickness of bacterial cellulose. The transformation of the bio-synthesis of bacterial cellulose into BC-based bio-composite leads to the creation of new materials with additional functionality and properties. Potential applications range from small architectural components to large structures, thus linking formation and materialization, and achieving a material with specified ranges and gradient conditions, such as hydrophobic or hydrophilic capacity, graded mechanical properties over time, material responsiveness, and biodegradability.


Published: November 29th, 2016

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