Thermoset Technology in Architecture

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Robison Wells
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What was once a material originally engineered for the construction of airplanes, thermoset technology is increasingly being contemplated in the production of not only specific building features, but the entire way buildings are designed.

Thermoset technology is an advanced fiber-reinforced building material which is incredibly resistant—six times stronger than steel—but also light weight and easy to handle, allowing for the construction of complex shapes that are more structurally efficient.

In an interview with ArchDaily, experts from ShapeShift, a thermoset producing company, explained more about its properties and potential.

“In combination with advanced fibers, a thermoset resin allows the creation of light-weight organic shapes. Lighter than traditionally recognized structural materials, this material offers lower transport and installation costs, the latter of which can represent up to 50% of the total cost of materials. A fully integrated advanced fiber-reinforced structural assembly reduces the reliance on multiple contractors and removes the need for a crane or other heavy hoisting equipment, as would be required for an equivalent system such as prefabricated concrete planks.”

Not only is it strong, light and efficient, but it also offers extra protection against disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, where steel or concrete may fail.

The difficulty of thermoset is in the relative newness in the market. As with any emerging technology, it doesn’t have economies of scale, so is therefore expensive, so therefore gets planned for very seldomly. It will take a concerted effort on the part of both manufacturers, architects, and the demands of the end users, to make thermoset a more commonly used product.

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