Issue 028 Cover

Disbonding Agents

By Khaled Abou Alfa • 13 of June, 2020



We discussed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in issue 011. The issue focused on the problem as it relates to our slow methodical distraction of our oceans and rivers. The issue ended with a call to arms. To search out or specify or manufacture products that understand and consider the entire cycle.

How poetic then that the waste byproduct of fish could unlock and feed our insatiable need for plastics. MarinaTex is a new solution that uses natural fish byproducts to create a polymer’ that is both stronger than regular LDPE (Low-Density PolyEthylene) and will decompose in a matter of 6 weeks. Winner of a James Dyson National Awards, the next step is to move the concept into mass production.

Going Green for the Economy

Issue 023 was undoubtedly one of the hardest issues I’ve written. My mind, like everyone in the world, was hijacked. While it has been described as a bleak issue, the intent was to try and remain hopeful. Hopeful at the direction we could set ourselves on. This hope is now given some weight as some of the world’s leading economists have demonstrated that for the economic recovery to succeed, environmentally friendly policies should be our focus moving forward.

Disbonding Agents

The National Composites Centre and Oxford Brookes University have jointly developed the necessary technology that allows composite materials to be separated (or disbonded) using a heat source - typically around 160°C. While the applications are legion, our interest in this development was discussed in issues 020 and 027. Wind blade graveyards don’t qualify under the principles for a circular economy and is the major mark on their incredible potential and impact. How the technology works:

Small quantities of expandable graphite (widely used for fire protection) or thermal expandable microspheres are added to adhesives routinely used to bond composite parts. The additives have minimal impact on the performance of components in normal operation, but when heated to the required temperature exert a force causing components to pop apart’.

Most importantly, the NCC has proven that this works on an industrial scale. There is also a virtual conference geared toward this very subject, under the title Sustainable Composites: The Future’, that will be held from the 29th of June to the 03rd of July.


The use of engineered timber continues to grow. China has finally entered more purposefully in this space with the start of a 6-storey mass timber building in Shandong province. When completed it will be the first mid-rise timber building in China.

Over at consultancy Fast+Epp, their Concept Lab has some nice tools, including the Timber Bay Design Tool, which is a web based tool that allows you to review the impact of changing parameters.

In France, all new public buildings are required to be made of at least 50% wood from 2022. We haven’t reached the dizzying heights promised in issue 007, but we are heading in the right direction.

Publications of Note

The Book of Japan

It should come as little surprise that here at Stet.Build HQ, we are enamored with Japanese culture (although maybe not the associated work culture). Monocle has worn their fascination with Japan on their proverbial sleeves. They have compiled all their love into a gorgeous looking package with a striking golden dot on the cover.

Bloomberg Green

A new quarterly publication from the Bloomberg empire might not be exactly what everyone has been clamoring for. However the manner in which Bloomberg Green has chosen to tackle the subject of sustainability is certainly cause to take notice. Their daily newsletter is also recommended as the coverage is always considered.

Tools of the Trade

30x40 Procreate Pack

Digital goods made with care and attention are some of our favourite goods. While there is no shortage of free digital goods, to find the good stuff, you will to drop some cash. Case in point is this Procreate toolkit by 30x40.

The Stet newsletter explores the ideas, projects and technologies that define our built environment.