Design Students Use SPF for Prototypes


While spray polyurethane foam is typically used for air sealing and insulating buildings, architecture students at the Washington University in St. Louis are using the material in a non-traditional way.

As a part of a Digital and Analog Fabrication course, graduate students in the School of Architecture & Urban Design, part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, are using spray polyurethane foam products to create prototypes of marine boats.

The course, developed for students who are interested in emerging materials and technologies, introduces both new and existing methods for full-scale fabrication and prototyping,” said Jaymon Diaz, lecturer and digital fabrication coordinator.

“By embracing the relationship between the design process and the act of making, students develop an understanding of materials and fabrication methods, as well as critical abstract thinking and making skills which can then be employed in their design work.”


Convenience Products, the manufacturer of Touch 'n Foam polyurethane foam products, is donating the necessary materials for building the students’ prototypes of watercrafts.

In early September, the students were given a product overview and demonstration conducted by Convenience Products’ President Byron Lapin and the marketing team.

The students will test the performance of their small-scale prototypes Oct. 22 and the Touch 'n Foam team will join Sam Fox School faculty and staff in reviewing and rating each team's overall design and watercraft buoyancy/performance. 

The winning design will be recreated full scale by the studio and will be displayed next spring in the School's Steinberg Hall Gallery.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Architecture; Coatings; Color + Design; Convenience Products; Design; Insulation; North America; Spray polyurethane foam

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