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Cocoa engineering
Alex Jordan (graduate student), Sigrid Adriaenssens (faculty), and Axel Kilian (faculty)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and School of Architecture
A structure made entirely out of chocolate? While it sounds like something out of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, the idea has a serious goal: to systematically understand how the process of design can interact with unexplored materials. What you see here is an inverted hanging shell built with flat 'frames' made of chocolate, a quarter of an inch thick each, and welded together with liquid chocolate. The result of this curved shape is minimal stresses in a material whose strength-to-weight ratio is 24 times less than that of concrete. This proof-of-concept vividly demonstrates the unprecedented potential of "intelligent design" and new workflow processes to design and build structures informed by material constraints.