Final Report: The Cast Paper Dome: An Opportunity to Develop New Materials and Construction Techniques for Sustainable Building

EPA Grant Number: SU833565
Title: The Cast Paper Dome: An Opportunity to Develop New Materials and Construction Techniques for Sustainable Building
Investigators: Krawczyk, Robert , Al-Awadhi, Lolwah , Bambrell, Jennifer , Banda, Justine , Baulier, Paul , Blosky, Mitch , Chima, Steve , Christo, Robert , Davis, Blake , Derdelakos, Alexander , Duke, Kyle , Duong, Cindy , Enriquez, Sheena , Fernandez, Louis , Ghafoori, Marc , Harbour, Zach , Herrera, Johathan , Kim, James , Kim, Yoojee , Lipski, Brian , Ly, Christine , Morton, Stacy , Nguyen, Linh , Noonan, Christina , Ongchangco, Katrina , Phillips, Timothy , Rinecke, Jonathan , Rios, Homero , Schafer, Michael , Skinner, Jonathan , Vega, Mayra , Villa, Jacqueline , Walker, Jason , Zistakis, Nikola
Institution: Illinois Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2007 through May 30, 2008
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Awards , Sustainability , Nanotechnology


Our research project was designed to investigate the use of cast paper pulp, obtained from recycled paper, as a building material. We had noticed the great strength of molded pulp structures designed for other uses such as egg cartons and drink cup holders. We wanted to know if pulp could be used as a structural material, and designed a dome which we believed would utilize the material to its best advantage.

We understood that the problems that we would have to overcome included the hygroscopic nature of wood and paper products and the low compressive and tensile strength of the material. We also understood that the dome form had problems, too, related to the length of cracks generated by the large number of triangular pieces making up the completed dome and the difficulty of insulating the structure both thermally and acoustically. What we hoped to do was to match the materials and the architectural form and come up with a structure that would take advantage of the strengths of both.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

We developed working groups of undergraduate students to research the various aspects of utilizing cast pulp as an architectural material. These groups included research projects to investigate binders and weatherproofing for cast paper parts; mold materials and methods for casting large scale parts; drying techniques for drying cast paper and groups working on designing various architectural elements of the domes.

We had hoped to build a full-size dome to test the suitability of cast paper as a building material. The molds for this are currently being built, but delays in finding space for our project, adequate amounts of recycled pulp, and difficulties in molding and drying large pieces prevented us from finishing the full-size dome prior to the National Sustainable Design Expo. Our current schedules contemplates completion of the dome by May 18th, with performance testing on the full-size dome continuing through the summer.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 4 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Sustainable, Green Buildings, Recycling, Domes, Architecture, Innovative Building Materials,