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Clay versus water

Clay versus water

Thanks to | Tom Dijkstra | Provincie Groningen C&K

This case study focuses on the ability of earthenware to hold and release water.

We joined forces with creative entrepreneur Tom Dijkstra to tackle this both creative and technical challenge. We were aiming for small ceramic watering elements that supply just the right amount of water to the plants. By experimenting with different additives to the clay mixture, the fired pottery should be able to hold and deposit water to meet the needs of different plants in different air humidity and light conditions.

To produce these elements we had to convert a 3D printer to print clay with additives. We had to control the thickness of the wall of every element so we could compare them. We’ve got a few clay mixtures that seem to work, and some plants are now subject to testing the elements.

Initially we wanted to design ceramic watering elements that supply the right amount of water to the plants. But how much water does a plant need? It would be even better if the plant itself can decide what it needs.

“Can plants play a role in the amount of water that is released through the element?”

That would mean the plant has to take control over its water consumption during different circumstances like differing light conditions or temperatures. This is a question that might already have been answered, we’ll have to consult a botanist to find out if and how plants are self-sufficient. And, how conducive can this element be to serve the plants needs.