Towards a new transparency : high fidelity additive manufacturing of transparent glass structures across scales
Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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Optically transparent and structurally sound, glass has played a significant role in the evolution of product and architectural design across scales and disciplines, and throughout the ages. Glass processing methods - such as blowing, pressing, and forming - have aimed at achieving increased glass performance and functionality. Nonetheless, techniques and technologies enabling controlled tunability of its optical and mechanical properties at high spatial manufacturing resolution have remained an end without a means. This thesis presents GLASS II - a high fidelity, large-scale, additive manufacturing technology for optically transparent glass combined with demonstrations of novelty through a construction of fully transparent glass structures at architectural scale. The enabling technology builds upon previous research conducted at the Mediated Matter Group and introduces a fundamental restructuring of the platform's architecture and process control informed by the material properties and behaviors of silicate glass. The new manufacturing technology provides a digitally integrated thermal control system across the entire glass forming processes, combined with a novel 4-axis motion control system; enabling a high fidelity manufacturing process capable of producing glass structures with tunable yet predictable mechanical and optical properties. The material fundamentally drives how the machine is used, and in return, the machine can change how the glass is formed and used. In order to evaluate the full capability of this new manufacturing technology, a series of three-meter tall glass column structures were designed, engineered, manufactured, and constructed. Harnessing its optical transparency in conjunction with the spatial tunability of the material deposition across the full length of the column, geometry of each column is topologically optimized under the material constrains of the viscoelastic filament such that the result provides highly efficient structural performance as free standing columns while each layer of the printed glass acts as a lens and transforms the incoming light into spatial interactions of kaleidoscopic caustics. This large-scale multifunctional 3D printed glass structure, embodying a new mode of transparency in architecture, was exhibited in Italy for the first time during the Milan Design Week in April 2017.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentProgram in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Media Arts and Sciences ()