A team of researchers at Alabama’s Auburn University is working with scientists at the University of Idaho to print building components out of forestry waste.
Prefabricated wall panels are made using “bio-resin” feedstock, which combines the waste with chemicals and nanomaterials.
The study, which spans the disciplines of engineering, chemistry, forest resources and architecture, is aimed at reducing the cost of housing for less well off Americans.
Brian Via, from Auburn University’s School of Forestry of Wildlife Sciences, said: “The problem of lack of affordable housing is further compounded for minority groups, which experience poverty at twice the rate of other populations.
“Recently, the US is trending toward mass timber buildings as a first-generation material to reduce our carbon footprint. However, advanced manufacturing can help to utilise more biomaterial waste from forest resources that can then be 3D printed into housing or building components.”
Maria Auad, an Auburn University research team member, said: “The thematic basis of our proposal is to develop innovative materials that will be environment-friendly, less dependent on depleting petroleum resources and will use natural sources or waste products with the realisation of the impact on the environment that the current generation of composite materials have at the end of their life.”