When it comes to finding new applications for 3D printing, there really seems to be no limit. For example, the Australian architecture firm BVN and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have developed Systems Reef 2, a 3D-printed air distribution system that, according to the project managers, “breathes” like the skin of a frog. What’s interesting about this new solution is that it has 90% less embodied carbon than a standard air conditioning system, demonstrating its commitment to environmental sustainability.
When it comes to treating the air around us, additive manufacturing also has its part to play. We have seen it numerous times, such as with the AMS Mini and AMS Auto, the 3D printed devices capable of filtering and cleaning the air. However, this time we are not talking about an invention that purifies the air, but one that helps in diffusing the air. All this in a more sustainable way thanks to the use of 3D printing.
3D printing was used to create Systems Reef 2
The idea came from the many shortcomings that the researchers observed in traditional air conditioners. Air conditioning systems are often made of sheet steel, with a high level of built-in carbon and the use of much more material than is necessary. They also waste energy because they are structurally inefficient and difficult to replace after installation. According to Ninotschka Titchkosky, co-CEO of BVN, the manufacturing hasn’t changed much since its invention in the 20th century. “Right now, the systems we have are really inflexible, they’re not particularly good for human comfort, they’re very expensive to change, and they really limit how we want to occupy buildings now in the 21st century. , which is much more adaptable and agile,” she adds. Thus was born Systems Reef 2, or SR2, an air conditioning system that integrates a computer-optimized shape and is made with 3D printing.
For this purpose, transparent plastic recycled from hospitals was used, crushed into pellets and fed to the 3D printing robot. This is combined with generative design to create a beautiful solution that uses the least amount of material possible, further demonstrating the project’s connection to additive manufacturing and sustainability. Also, it consumes less operating power because air flows easily around the organically branched tubes, preventing corners from getting stuck. Additionally, by eliminating friction, the system is also smaller and thinner, which also translates into using less material. To increase the comfort of users, those responsible for the project were inspired by frogs, which breathe through their skin. Instead of using ductwork, they covered Systems Reef 2 with tiny pores that blow air into the space below.
Although this copy is made of transparent material, there is also the possibility of printing it in color or illuminating it to personalize it. You can learn more about the system on their website HERE or in the video below:
What do you think of the 3D printed Systems Reef 2? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, FacebookY Twitter pages! Don’t forget to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our Youtube channel.
*Cover photo credits: BVN/UTS
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