3D printed house with GLAPOR cellular glass

Recently, a nice YouTube-movie appeared about full printing a 3D-house. The house was put on GLAPOR cellular glass gravel, while the flat roof was insulalted with GLAPOR-boards.

The movie shows the use of cellular glass gravel and the printing of the house, layer by layer. In fact, the house was printed by only two people and a huge cement mortar printer. The challenge was to develop a mortar, which allows printing but which does not flow after printing.

On the flat roof, GLAPOR cellular glass boards were installed with bitumen. Although, the main target was to use only mineral materials, bitumen, as an exception on the rule, was used to have a firm adherence to resist important wind loads.

More information about the printing can be found in another YouTube movie.

Old patent study foaming glass in a mold

The following patent US 2377076, filed in 1943 by Walter Ford, is such a nice piece of work in a former great company. The patent describes two shapes of molds wherein the glass is foamed at high temperature. Both shapes have been applied although without top cover like seen in the pictures hereunder.

Foaming in demountable mould
Foaming in non-demountable mould

The patent mentions that the demountable mold does not need a short heatup to release the foam during stripping.

Further, the patent gives a recipe for a coating, which is needed to release the foam from the mold without damaging the mold or the foam. The basic substance should release gas between 600°C and 900°C to facilitate parting. Hydrated Alumina (Al(OH)3) is such a substance found in Bauxite or Clay (Kaolinite) or which can be bought pure. Dextrin is added to improve adherance on the mould.

Glass literature

To understand fully the unique properties of the different types of cellular glass, it makes sense to read some more didactic books for glass science. I found these books on the Internet and I guess I am allowed to mention them.

The first work I like to advise is the under graduate student book of James E. Shelby. I got sympathy for the book by its definition of a glass: A glass can be defined as “an amorphous solid completely lacking in long range, periodic atomic structure, and exhibiting a region of glass transformation behavior”. Any material, inorganic, organic, or metallic, formed by any technique, which exhibits glass transformation behavior is a glass.

The second work is a little bit more academic. About glass is a shorter but more difficult version of the above one. 

Cellular glass can be foamed from different glass compositions. The history of the glass composition is the perfect introduction how the world evolved from colored glass beads to optical fibers. This topic is interesting because cellular glass is the best method to recycle all kinds of glass. 

Linux on an USB-stick

Knoppix is well known as a live-LINUX in Germany, which allows to taste LINUX on a CD or DVD, without writing on the hard disk of your PC. Any possible damage on your Windows-system is excluded. Klaus Knopper started in 1998, already 23 years ago as a LINUX and open source software consultant. He also developed his own LINUX, KNOPPIX on a live CD/DVD and later on a USB-flash drive. Since USB 3.0, such a flash drive is fast enough for a gentle opeation.

Knoppix logo

This standard KNOPPIX USB-drive (XTRA-PC) is delivered by SoftwareFair for 23.85€ in Germany, delivery included within 2 days. After plugging into an (old) PC and booting for the US-drive, the LINUX system runs. The orginal PC-XTRA does not allow writing on the USB-flash drive, which means that extra installed programs are lost after shutdown. For that reason, you will find on the desktop a button to make a copy of the USB-flash drive with an overlay up to maximum 65GB. Once booted with the new USB-flash drive, all work and installed programs will be saved on the USB-flash drive. This USB-flash drive can be used on any Windows of Mac computer, every where on the world, even without internet connection with all your work included.

Libre office alternative of Word, Excel,Powerpoint, Drawing and Access

The USB-flash drive system contains a preinstalled an enormous amount of open source software. Libreoffice (Office replacement), GIMP (Photoshop replacement), a terminal emulator, Chromium webbrowser and a File explorer are a few examples. I included a FORTRAN compiler, which allows to run all my old programs, Texmaker (to work with Latex to write my book), YAD to generate a graphical interface and Anydesk to be able to take over PC’s of my customers all over the world. All this software is easily loaded from the Debian site but don’t forget to run first the “sudo apt update” command before installation.

Texmaker editor

As a service, BELGLAS sells this USB-flash drive with possibly all the FORTRAN programs, with and without source, I have written about cellular glass annealing, foaming, thermal shock, pipe thermal insulation, … . By nature, when your PC is booted with this USB-flash drive, all the programs will run for sure.

At last but not at least, I like to thank Klaus Knopper, who developped this valuable tool.

Klaus Knopper

 

WSL: Linux during Windows

logo_smallIn a previous post in 2016, we already reported on this move of Windows. At that time, a real BASH – shell was available. In this application, only text based programs without GUI could be run. Today, we have WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux), which works with a real Linux-kernel and allows to call GUI-programs from the command line.

storeWSL-Ubuntu can be run as in a terminal of  (as an example) MobaXterm. The X-server of MobaXterm (free for home-use) makes the GUI possible. We have succesfully installed and used

  • GNU FORTRAN
  • Mousepad and Gedit editors
  • GNUplot to show our data
  • LibreCad to make 2D drawings
  • Qpdfviewer to show pdf-files
  • Krusader to search and navigate in the filesystem.
  • Zenity to write BASH scripts with GUI

krusader-twinpanel-thumbIt is possble to enter the Windows filesystem, which is mounted under /mnt and in this way, Linux and Windows-applications can be run on the same files. A C-complier and Python2 and python3 interpreters are already standard availbale with WSL-Ubuntu. The ordinary scientist has everything for his standard scientific work with this WSL-Ubuntu.

DownloadWe may speculate about Windows 11. Will it be totally based on LINUX and in that way make all other LINUX-distros unnecessary? I would not be surprised. In the mean time, I enjoy the feeling that a community of free of charge working programmers clearly influence the decision of a large multinational.

 

 

FORTRAN: An old but new language in memoriam of Prof. Dr. Olav Verbeke

logo_smallThe first time I met FORTRAN (and programming) was as a part of a numerical analyis course at the University in 1981. We had to “write” the program with punch cards. It was FORTRAN77 and we did not speak about structured programming at that time. During my PhD-time, I worked with FORTRAN 77 with my adviser Olav Verbeke. In that time, there were already rumours that in further versions, we should have to decalere all variables and we should forget the equivalence statement.  Later on, I learned C at one employer and then again I used FORTRAN77, with a lot of GOTO´s at another one. I moved from UNIX to LINUX, introduced there the GNU FORTRAN compiler and  used him to compile succesfully the old HP-FORTRAN77 programs.

fortran_bannerI made some new programs myselves and I found out that structured programming without GOTO, COMMON, … statements is very wel possible with FORTRAN90 for all our typical numerical programs. Structures of different types of variables can be described while subroutines can be collected in modules. C-functions can be merged in a FORTRAN program. Moreover, object oriented programming and parallel programming is also possible in FORTRAN 2003 and 2008, but I do not use that for the moment. Recently, also a GUI is available in order to make the program userfriendly with buttons and graphs. In case only a graph is needed, including GNUplot in the program is a fast and neat way to go.

imagesSome time ago, I was considering Python but the slowness of this interpreter is sometimes a problem. A direct competitor is C++, which is as fast as FORTRAN with splendid GUI possibilities but is complicated to learn. I decided to continue with my “old” FORTRAN and to wrap the subroutines in Python, if a GUI is needed. In fact, a lot of the Python modules in Numpy and Scipy are wrapped FORTRAN routines.

220px-John_Backus_2A lot of free FORTRAN source is available with the Numerical Recipes for FORTRAN 77 and FORTRAN 90, where the routines are well explained. Today, I program with CODE:BLOCKS IDE under Raspbian LINUX . I thank John Backus and his team for this wonderful job. John was the first one, who realized that developing a higher level language above assembler would speed up programming a lot. But he did not only have the idea, he also realized his idea at IBM. The name of his child was FORTRAN.

 

 

Raspberry Pi 4, a very nice “open source” surprise

logo_smallFor a long time, I am in favor of open source programs. My scientific work is done under Linux with GNU FORTRAN and some Python. Reports are written with Latex and spreadsheets are done with Libreoffice. Graphics are made with GNU-plot and my documentation system is Wikipedia. But I have to agree that I needed a lot of times an expensive LINUX consultant to get the thing running. And in some cases, the expert was not able to get it running because the relevant computer component has not a good driver for LINUX.

71RJj8SmQGL._SX355_The Raspberry Pi on the other hand is a cheap computer, developed to run with LINUX, in this case the Debian based Raspbian. Moreover, it is meant as a didactic tool for students. I bought a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB RAM, transformator, 32GB SD-card, which serves as hard disk, a small touch screen  and a HDMI cable for 100€ all-in. This is indeed cheap.

My colleague (a Windows expert) assembled the small computer and installed Raspbian on the SD-card in about 30 minutes and  it was already running. He also installed RDP (remote desktop) to have access from another PC or tablet or mobile phone when a second monitor, keyboard and mouse are not available.

I installed  without any knowledge GNU FORTRAN, a Python development environment, a keyboard on the small screen, LATEX with Texmaker, GNU-plot, SAMBA (to allow Windows explorer in the Raspberry Pi), Midnight Commander, Apache web server and WORDPRESS together with the MySQL database with the help of the well documented Raspbian site but without an expensive LINUX consultant. I program my Raspberry with a Windows laptop running MobaXterm.

And indeed, everything is working perfect, it is a nice surprise I never expected for 100€. I advise to install like me the small screen for (25€ ) because it allows to type a new Wifi code without monitor, keyboard and mouse. After making a copy of the SD-card, I can share my work on a new Raspberry Pi 4 without any installation.

 

The first passive house with cellular glass walls

logo_smallA typical saying is that passive house walls with cellular glass are becoming too thick due to the moderate thermal conductivity. Like most sayings, the truth is something else, it is founded on conservatism. Indeed, Denmark has its first cellular glass passive house and the next one is underway.

The house is a Clean Tech Block result, which is already mentioned in previous blog. Clean Tech Block is a project from  Gråsten Teglværk, the University of Aalborg and the University of Ljubljana.

Havnevej 60 (u_stillads) 001.jpeg

newspaperThe project is described in a  newspaper, the “Der Nordschleswiger”.  It is real example of durable building and all the typical certificates are granted.

The choice for cellular glass is obvious:

  • air tight (passive house standard)
  • vapour tight and so no risk for humidity accumulation
  • free from rodents, ants and other animals.
  • long if not eternal lifetime
  • ecologic, according to the Swiss even the most ecologic thermal insulation
  • non-combustible
  • self-supporting, no deformation due to mechanical load or temperature
  • almost the same thermal expansions as the other minerals used in the building
  • not expensive if produced by direct foaming of recycled glass.

In our opinion, this is a major step in cellular glass building.

Ants like XPS and EPS but hate cellular glass

logo_smallPolystyrene is used in the thermal insualtion world in two versions: XPS (Extruded polystyrene) and EPS (expanded polystyrene). Both are used as thermal insulation in buildings besides cellular glass.

mierAnts are insects which lives in large groups and may destroy some building materials. It has been found in an extensive work of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health that ants are excaviating XPS and EPS in an important way, while leaving cellular glass in peace.

Hereunder, we give a comparison figure, extended with glass wool and mineral wool.

antcomparison

It is clear that cellular glass is not of interest for ants, which is a major advantage of cellular glass compared to the other thermal insulations. Some people should argue that a laboratory experiment is not the real case. The following XPS-boards, found on a jobsite in Germany  in real life says everything.

The damage to the building is clear but these ants do not absorb this polystyrene. It ends as plastic contamination in the soil and is dangerous for the human health. It is amazing that this material is still allowed.

 

 

 

Taiwanese cellular glass

logo_smallEverywhere in the world, small cellular glass companies are popping up. Most of them are based on direct foaming of recycled glass. Taiwan is another example with Taiwan Material Development Co., Ltd.

This company describes themselves in the following way:

TWMD-v2-1-1Innovation, Green energy, Quality, and Service are the purpose of Taiwan Material Development Co., LTD, and become the greatest sustainable operation green material industry is our goal. We provide high quality construction and guarantee in building material, construction, techniques, and after-sales service, and also reduce the waste of energy resources. We provide a healthy, environment friendly, convenience and high quality functional material. TWMD introduce AH lightweight solid wall to market, and provide users the internal wall partition with all function. On the other hand, we keep developing related green building materials. Look forward to developing a complete production system. To build a green building material brand. Hope to satisfied architects, interior designers, businesses of related industries and ordinary people by doing one-stop shopping.

icon1-300x300They describe their product as a Lightweight Insulation block, foamed from LCD glass, obtained from Spring Pool Glass. This means that they are foaming a borosilicate glass. This kind of glass has a lower thermal expansion coefficient and higher chemical resistance, which means that this product can withstand more than standard cellular glass. It is not clear how this glass is foamed because LCD glass does not contain sulphate because it is sodium free. I guess it will be carbon black and Antimonytrioxide.

The product is nevertheless promoted as a typcial building material and not an industrial one. The boron in the glass gives other perspectives. As end of this post, I give you also the link to some movies about this product:  1, 2 , 3, 4  and 5.  The last one seems to be the best one. In this movie, the use of cellular glass as an acoustic screen is mentioned.