Mud-spraying drones to build homes

French architect Stéphanie Chaltiel uses mud-spraying drones to build emergency architecture.

To make the home, first a wooden domed skeleton is constructed, on which bags of hay are mounted. Lastly, the drones spray a mixture of clay and fibres on the dome, binding the structure together. This way, the house becomes durable and weatherproof. Coating the dome would take weeks if it had to be done by hand, while the drone only needs a few minutes. The material is fed to the drone through a tube.

The system could be used to build emergency housing in disaster areas or refugee camps, since the construction materials are readily available, and there is no scaffolding needed.

Chaltiel has been experimenting with a variety of mud mixtures. She has fine-tuned it to be fitted in a drone, which can spray large amounts and have a constant flow of material. She also experimented with the types of fibres added. The fibres are added to reinforce the material and prevent cracking. For a prototype in London, Chaltiel used linen fibres, which are thin, long, and break down in the machine so they don’t block the pump.

The drone was custom made by a team of engineers at the University of Leuven.

Photos: Rosie Marks (via Dezeen)