3D printed recycled plastic bricks outperform traditional bricks

Researchers at De Montfort University in Leicester has created a super-insulating house brick out of domestic plastic waste. The brick made from recycled domestic plastic waste outperforms the clay one for thermal insulation

A team led by Dr Karthikeyan Kandan, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at De Montfort University, made the brick using 3D printing and lattice architecture technologies, criss-crossing strips of recycled plastic to form a weave.

Laboratory tests show it providing 10-times better insulation than traditional bricks made from clay.

To test its thermal insulation characteristics a brick was placed inside a hot-box calorimeter – a piece of equipment used to measure the U-value of an object, which can be set up to simulate the regulatory standard for buildings. The results showed a U-value of 0.25 W/m²K, making it 10 times more effective than a clay brick, which delivers an average of 2.94 W/m²K.

Saad Alqahtani said: “Our work has demonstrated that 3D printed bricks made from household plastic waste are thermally far superior than the existing bricks made in the market. This breakthrough can literally help us build the future.”