octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall

OctaFoam shapes Sustainable Ceramic Foam Wall System

 

OctaFoam is a truncated octahedral matrix of ceramic foam that forms a porous masonry wall structure boasting high thermal efficiency and customizable oriented windows. Digital fabrication introduces a sustainable approach to masonry by utilizing ceramic foam crafted from recycled solid wastes, addressing contemporary ecological concerns in construction. Robots efficiently cut bespoke components from large ceramic foam blocks, minimizing waste in the process. Developed by a collaborative research and design team from Southeast University Nanjing and ETH Zurich, OctaFoam acts as a load-bearing wall with a skeleton-infill structure. The skeleton extends in four directions, while the infill covers both surfaces, creating large voids between them. Occupying only 36% of the volume, the solids provide thermal insulation and contribute to a lightweight structure. From a mass production perspective, one block of raw material can construct three times the original wall volume.

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall
OctaFoam prototype – inside view | all images courtesy of Southeast University & ETH Zurich

 

 

Innovative Eco-Friendly Design attends to Seismic Resilience

 

The prefabricated foam components are assembled as dry masonry, and the interlock mechanism, inspired by the Abeille vault, enhances seismic resistance. The structure, made entirely of ceramic foam, features a rotated discrete grid, blurring the boundary between skeleton and infill. Oriented openings can be added, enhancing sunlight intake or framing specific views. OctaFoam, cut using a diamond wire saw from large recycled ceramic foam blocks, proves more eco-friendly than traditional bricks. The research team from Southeast University Nanjing and ETH Zurich employed a wire-cutting technique, inspired by stereotomy, for complex structures. The masonry mechanism aims to minimize components and wire-cutting trajectory, balancing design and economic production. OctaFoam incorporates two-scale architected porosity, optimizing material usage and offering superior structural and thermal performance. This innovative construction method results from the synergy between computational geometry, robotic fabrication, operations research, and circular economy principles.

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall
OctaFoam prototype – outside view

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall
skeleton-infill structure – side view

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall
oriented opening in the wall

 

octafoam-porous-masonry-wall-ceramic-foam-designboom-1800-2

prefabricated components’ assembly

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall
prefabricated components’ assembly

octafoam-porous-masonry-wall-ceramic-foam-designboom-1800-3

cutting robots

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall
hot-wire cutting of EPS foam using a robotic system

octahedral ceramic foam modules compose porous masonry wall
hot-wire cutting of EPS foam using a robotic system

 

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project info:

 

name: OctaFoam

host: Southeast University Nanjing | @southeast.universityETH Zurich | @ethzurich

design team: XIA Zhixiang, QIU Shubing, YANG Kaizhong, CHEN Siqi

project director: Hao Hua (Southeast University) & Benjamin Dillenburger (ETH Zurich)

location: Nanjing, China

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: christina vergopoulou | designboom

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