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(back to the Growing Structures Group)

A top-down concept has been developed following certain suppositions, which are closely related to our motivation to reduce waste, pollution and energy consumption caused by traditional building technologies. The first supposition therefore was to use materials that exists on-site and can be transformed into building materials at the nano level. Carbon nano tubes have extraordinary characteristics, which can be varied using todays production nanotechnologies. The next supposition therefore was to use Carbon as the basic material. As Carbon exists in nature in vast amounts the next supposition was to extracted it from CO2 from the air. The building process is to be executed at the nano level using active nano devices that shall be controlled extrinsically using a detailed Building information model (BIM) as the source of all necessary information.

The defined suppositions brought us to the following conceptual solution:

  1. The fundamental building process is taking part at nano level by multifunctional nano devices (nanorobots), which are capable of
    • capturing CO2 from the air and extracting C molecules from it, releasing O2 back to the air,
    • building 3D carbon nanotube arrays (see Figure C1) with characteristics required for a specific area (strength, conductivity, colour, transparency etc.)
      NanoSlice projection 2D.png
  2. Nanorobots are controlled and powered externally by light; instructions are coded using specific wavelengths.
  3. Light is emitted by a projector installed above the site; to avoid interferences with light emitted by other sources, adequate wavelength spectrum has to be chosen.
  4. The projector is using the detailed BIM model as input, and transmits continuously the horizontal crossection, going from the bottom to the top height of the model
  5. Openings of the final model are temporarily filled with carbon nanomaterial, which transforms back into CO2 after specific time period (or under specific conditions), fullfiling its function as a supporting structure.
  6. All utilities and coatings (if necessary) are built at the same time together with the bearing structure (e.g. pipelines, power lines, communication lines), and are part of the building.

The building process consists of the following steps:

  1. Designing a detailed BIM model with all necessary utilities and coatings, as well as temporary fillings (these can be added automatically after the building model is finished, by following the rule that every part of the structure has to be vertically supported down to the base level)
  2. Site preparation (excavation, projector installation)
  3. Deploying nanorobots on the ground level layout of the building
  4. Starting the proces by continuously emitting instructions (represented as specific light wavelengths) to build CNT with required characteristics, until the top of the building is reached.
  5. After the light is off for a certain time, the nanorobots stop to function permanently, thus preventing of any unwanted activity after the process is finished.

To find out more, download Nanobuilding1.ppt 01:15, 14 November 2009 (EST)

Inspired by:
"Upto now we have been content to dig in the ground to find minerals,...
ultimately in the great future we can arrange the atoms the way we want."

- Richard P. Feynman, 1959
The man who dared to think small