Swiss Cell Wabe
Not part of the exhibition anymore.
Gerd Niemöller has invented a revolutionary building material that is eco-friendly and at the same time can be used in a wide range of applications: he produces honeycomb panels of thin cellulose, soaked in resin, from which entire houses, including their furnishings, can be constructed.
The resin-soaked paper is compressed under high pressure at a temperature of around 200 °C into the typical honeycomb shape. Combined with special covering layers, they can be used to produce walls, ships, containers, and furniture, in almost every shape. These honeycomb panels are light and simultaneously extremely sturdy; they can bear a load of more than 200 tons per square meter, and with a special noncombustible covering, they can reach insulation values of a passive house. In aircraft construction, the structure, copied from bee, is already successfully used in form of high-tech combs made of aluminum. But Niemöller’s invention is much less expensive: one squaremeter costs only a fraction of aluminum combs. Niemöller’s walls are as stable as heavy duty building materials, are absolutely weatherproof and heatresistant, once equipped with the appropriate covering layer noncombustible, earthquakeproof, very simple to produce and process, and up to 100 percent recyclable.
This material is especially suitable for construction of houses in poor countries and disaster areas. Within a few days, a building with several stories, which can be used for several generations, can be built without elaborate technical support. And the production of panels on site provides new jobs. But the use of honeycomb panels is not limited to residential buildings. With a transparent outer skin, the panels can be used to build greenhouses. With a glass fiber covering layer, they can be turned into propeller blades for wind energy plants, weighing 80 percent less than conventional propellers.
The principle of the honeycomb is simple, obvious, and copied from nature. Despite this simplicity, the potential uses of Niemöller’s invention are more varied than most other materials.
Text: Nora Kronemeyer