CFPR Ceramics & Digital Fabrication Experiments

An insight into the AHRC funded research experiments carried out at the Centre for Print Research Ceramics Lab and Digital Fabrication team.

Healthy Waters Project

CFPR Associate Professor Dr Tavs Jorgensen and Research Associates Sonny Lightfoot and Rosy Heywood are part of the ‘Healthy Waters’ research cluster created by Professor Darren Reynolds and Professor Chad Staddon. The research is a collaboration between UWE’s Health and Applied Sciences, Geography and Environmental Management departments and CFPR to research better water management under 3 key themes: science, society and design and technology. CFPR are involved in the latter theme by developing sustainable ceramic systems to clean water effectively through biological and direct filtration methods.

The CFPR team’s initial research on the project has been focussed on developing two types of water filter systems: media for biological filtration and ceramic vessels for direct filtration. For the former, the team are working on developing ceramic beads using terracotta clay to be used as media for biological filtration. This method is a sustainable biotechnology used to remediate biological and chemical contaminants within water. Water is pumped through filter columns and after a four-week incubation period the bio film established attaches to the ceramic media. Different filter media properties, including permeability, surface area and porosity, are being tested to determine the effects on the performance of the biofilter.

Training the pipe: extruding curved ceramic fibre composites

A few images of recent experiments in the CFPR ceramics lab where the team are producing curved Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) pipes. Extruded ceramic pipe or profiles can generally not be bent after extrusion, it will just kink or break. But it is possible to bend or curve an extruded profile during the very moment of extrusion. The technique is known as training an extrusion and is done by hand skills in certain factories producing drainage clay-pipes. The technique is based on handling the extrusion in a particular way to restrict flow of material on one side while encouraging flow on the other. The experiments with the CMC pipes seem to work quite well using this approach, particularly when using little ‘breaks’ in the shape of half tube profiles. 

These experiments are part of an AHRC funded research project focused on exploring new approaches with ceramic extrusion. One of the objectives in the research is to draw knowledge from the manual approach of training extrusions to create a novel robotic system to curving extruded ceramic profiles from digital design data – we are still working on this concept….

Robotic 3D Printing with Geopolymers

A session of experimenting with robotic 3D printing with geopolymers at the Civil engineering department at UWE. The work is part of Fahad Jamali MSc project supervised by Tanvir Qureshi.

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