Mind & Matter


A Material That Enables Three-Dimensional Enlargements

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A demonstration of the HydroSpan 100 enlarging casting resin. Image: Industrial Polymers Corporation.

Three-dimensional printing has accelerated the material embodiment of architectural ideas at a small scale. However, due to the limitations of the printing bed size, this method is not yet suitable for constructing material details at full or enlarged scales.

The Industrial Polymers Corporation offers a solution in the form of an expanding resin called HydroSpan 100. The material enables a process akin to using a three-dimensional copy machine to fabricate near-perfect enlargements. Appropriate for small material details, objects, foundry molds, and castings, HydroSpan 100 is a flexible urethane casting resin that expands to 60% larger than its original size when soaked in water.

IPC has tested the accuracy of the resin in three-dimensional enlargements of objects such as coins, insects, and human hands with remarkable results. The company also offers a shrinking casting resin, which may be used to create miniature models from physical building materials and details.



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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.