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3D-printed sand Microclimates to cool public places


December 1, 2010

The 3D-printed sand Microclimates cool the immediate area

The 3D-printed sand Microclimates cool the immediate area

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The lack of cooling in large open areas inevitably sends people scurrying for air-conditioned buildings on hot days. Taking a leaf from traditional Islamic architecture that dealt with the harsh desert climate with Mashrabiyas – a projecting latticework window that provides shade from the hot sun while allowing cool air from the street to flow through – London-based design firm PostlerFeruson has designed a kind of three dimensional Mashrabiya that can cool the immediate area in an energy-free way.

The three-dimensional cooling towers, called Microclimates, are made from sand using a 3D-printing technique developed by UK company d-shape that takes a CAD file and deposits sand, along with an inorganic binder, in layers to build a three-dimensional structure from the bottom up. By extending the latticework design in three dimensions results in the internal structure of the towers having a large internal surface area. This, coupled with water fed into the top of the structures, efficiently cools the air passing through it using evaporative cooling.

As the name suggests, the Microclimates produce a cooling effect in their immediate vicinity, making them an energy efficient way to cool public places. They also look a lot nicer than an industrial air-conditioning system and PostlerFeruson says they can easily be moved around to different locations.

Via inhabitat

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

This is pretty cool. Sorry about the pun. However, it seems to be very limited in useful scope.

Normally, if you need cooling and general outside microclimate improvement, one should just plant trees. Trees do almost everything mentioned above. The down side is that trees take a long time to grow and this kind of device could be built in very short notice but would probably not last as long as an oak.

I\'d hate to think what thermal stress and freezing and thawing would do to this over the years. Also, there are things called birds that might want to make homes of this and fill it up with straw and leave their excrement everywhere. It could be a real mess. Time will tell. I guess the thing to do is build some and see what happens.

For now, I\'d just go with planting trees in the open spaces.

Normally I\'m not a tree-hugger, but trees are a shoe-in for the problem that this product claims to solve.

Rustin Haase

While calling this a specifically \"Islamic\" concept would be a misnomer, as the principle is well represented in Persian and Egyptian architecture far older then the foundation of Islam, this method of cooling is undeniably a product of the same region. Variants can be found today almost anywhere that dry air and moisture can be brought together, such as the American Southwest.

Evaporative cooling is highly dependent upon low humidity, however, making the concept much less useful in places like London, New York or Tokyo where higher average relative humidity significantly reduces the effect upon which the concept is based. Thirty years ago I worked with a colleague from Tehran in an effort to introduce the concept into the west, but found it too region-specific for the time. Perhaps today it will at last find wider acceptance, ironically reintroduced into the area from which it first emerged.

Gary Fisher

I\'d hate to be the maintenance person who has to clean the daily dust and smog accumulation from all those little holes and tunnels. Not as easy as replacing a dust filter. Could become an ineffective \'eye sore\' if not kept clean and operational.

Roger W.

where does the water come from?

someone has to pipe it in presumably? Water can be a problem in the places where cooling public spaces is a requirement. And since water is heavy, moving it takes a bunch of energy. So how energy efficient are these things really?


A case of Improving and adopting TRADITIONAL METHODS and TECHNOLOGY.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh
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