Brian Carter
BFA Industrial Design
The University of Kansas (2003)
Bachelor of Fine Arts - KU

Sustainable Design

Brian Carter

Sustainable Design

This project is an exploration of low energy, renewable, and potentially sustainable materials that can degrade without causing damage, the processes used to make those materials, and how those materials can be utilized within a design. A developed identification system (taxonomy) helped organize 44 created materials. These are material concepts having physical properties that vary from hard rigid to soft flexible traditional plastics, and some have a textile-like appearance. Material properties and possible use were noted during development. Design concepts utilizing developed materials also consider what materials are used within a design, how those materials are used, and what can be done with the product or part after its current useful form. This process of goal, research, and observation lead to a wide range of material property based application possibilities.

Material Properties

A non-linear user-centered process involving goal, research, observation, and implementation led to a wide range of material-based application and design possibilities for several of the developed materials. Research along the way covered where we obtain materials and methods of how we process those materials, including such topics as the industrial use of native tropical bamboo forests and the equitable trade of carnauba wax. Throughout this exploration, material processes and properties were fundamental. Design concepts utilized such materials as shown here: an aesthetically and texturally pleasing material that dried with low heat in a few minutes without warp. Later, certain material parts for biodegradable electronics were prototyped using moderate heat and a computer-milled aluminum form (SolidWorks).

Biodegradable Electronics

Application possibilities from chemical-free coverings for balsa wood gliders (shrinking covering tight) to rigid burlap 'cardstock' packaging, impregnated with seed, for lawn and garden attachments (just throw on the lawn and water using your new garden hose attachment) to biodegradable cell phone face plates and even larger compostable electronics are discussed, documented, and explored in the original entry, in detail.

IDEA 2003 Gold Award

"The Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) are dedicated to fostering business and public understanding of the importance of industrial design excellence to the quality of life and the economy and showcase the best industrial design from across the US and around the world."

Innovation Magazine ’03


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