The 13th March lecture at the BAGNO Showroom in Wanchai was the inaugural event in the Advanced Materials Tripartite Series being featured by AIA Hong Kong this year.
During the first part of the lecture, Dr. Toby Gill and Dr. Feng Yan introduced the audience to graphene, a material that is often referred as a “miracle material”. Graphene is lighter than steel but 200 times stronger. At the same time, it offers excellent thermal and electrical conducting properties, and has the potential for use in star-wars-like architecture and urban design. With its enormous strength alone, it may revolutionize our built environment – much like concrete did for the Roman Empire and steel did during the Industrial Revolution.
In the second part of the lecture, Dr. Kai Tai Wan explained the use of integral optical fibre sensors that can monitor deformations in a complex structure. When asked about his findings from practical use of the sensors, Dr. Wan shared some very interesting discoveries. On one occasion, sensors installed on the Guangzhou Broadcasting Tower actually detected a nearby earthquake instead of irregular performance in the structure; in another example, at a conventional public housing estate in Singapore, the sensors were able to alert the authorities to early deformation in the structure of the building due to improper construction.
The evening ended with several The University of Hong Kong students sharing their studio projects, each of which incorporated advanced energy-harvesting technologies in their designs.
Overall, it was a fascinating, if quite scholarly, lecture but one that inspired many of us to ponder how we can effect positive changes to the built environment using the state-of-the-art materials and technologies presented.
With grateful thanks to our Corporate Affiliate Member, VSC, and to our Venue Sponsor, BAGNODESIGN, for providing the venue for the evening, as well as some excellent cheese and other snacks, and fine wines.
AIA members in attendance earned 1.5 LUs/HSW/SD
Contributor: Kam Ng, AIA