University of Michigan develops a fully biodegradable concrete formwork replacement using sawdust

By Jim Stickford
DBusiness, Detroit Business Journal
August 28, 2023
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

The BioMatters team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has developed a fully biodegradable, reusable, and recyclable material to replace concrete formwork traditionally used across the construction industry. The base of this material is upcycled sawdust — millions of tons of sawdust waste are created each year. …“We have made a recyclable, all-natural biomaterial which is made out of sawdust,” says Muhammad Dayyem Khan, at the DART laboratory. …Led by DART director Mania Aghaei Meibodi, along with researchers Tharanesh Varadharajan, Zachary Keller, and Khan, the team proposes a novel method that couples robotic 3-D printing of the wood-based material with incremental set-on-demand concrete casting to create zero-waste freeform concrete structures. …Once the concrete cures, the formwork is removed and fully recycled by grinding and rehydrating the material with water, resulting in a nearly zero-waste formwork solution. 

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