petrification is A rapid fossilisation process, transforming PAPER and cardboard into stone.
Petrification is a new manufacturing process that transforms cellulosic materials (paper, cardboard, rope, paperpulp, plants etc) into ceramic. The process involves an infusion of the cellulosic preform with a silica gel, and a pyrolisis under Argon atmopshere at 1400°C. The resulting material, called Silicon Carbide, is nearly as hard as diamond, resists to temperatures of 2000°C and is one of the best abrasive. Starting with a very accessible and simple material, the process allows to create high-end products in decorative arts, but also technical filters, heating systems or molding.
Furthermore, the project isn't just a new biomineralization process, it transforms organic into inorganic materials, the principle of petrification. And this principle has been one the most powerful symbolic fantasm across many cultures, from Greeks to Roman, Paouasian, Celtic and Japanese. The process calls for powerful association, questionning our relationship to nature, survival and post-human ecologies.
The famous third industrial revolution summoned by Jeremy Rifkin demands for new accessible tools and processes. These processes should focus on accessible and localized raw materials, but also known, distributed and shared shaping techniques. Paper, cardboard, paperpulp or weaving are typical examples of techniques we all know and which can be deployed to impressive complex shapes. Using those techniques and bringing a process that can make these prototypes resistant to heat, water and pressure, opens up new perspectives for localized ceramic manufacturing techniques.
Petrification was initiated during a SACRe PhD by practice held by PSL University and prepared at EnsAD. Looking for inspirations to transform cellulose, I found an article of a research lab in California which invented a way to transform a cubic piece of wood into Silicon Carbide. Extending this first experiment, I explored the possibility of using other cellulosic materials as paperpulp, paper, cardboard, rope, cotton etc.
The first tests were conducted in 2015 at Collège de France following an invitation of Prof. F. Babonneau from UPMC. A second series of tests and experiments were held at Chimie ParisTech with 5 students for a year, under the supervision of Philippe Barboux (2016-17)
With the principle and chemistry variables set, the research had proven its potential and I built an atmospheric oven to be able to produce bigger and more intricate pieces.
shaped in tesselated origami, non-linear folding or multi-layers
The piece should then be placed inside an atmosphere furnace to be brought to 1400°C for 2 hours. No oxygen can enter the furnace otherwise the cellulose would burn and be transformed into CO2.
Silica Gel Infusion
The cellulosic preform should be sunk into a silica charged preparation and left enough time to have it infused inside the piece.
giving strength to the final structure
High temperature filter
The porosity of the initial material will define the quality of the filter.
The resulting SiC can withold very high temperatures without deformation.
A new ceramic craft could be imagined for cutlery, plates or vases.
The material can be used to become a mold for metal foundry, as it withold over 2000°C.
Organs ? Flesh ? Animals ?
not tested yet
opening innovative shaping techniques
which can be shaped like ceramic paste
Transforming elements into SiC will allow to generate fossils to next generations. The question becomes : what would we like to showcase of now ?
28.02.2019 - 30.09.2019
Milan Design Triennale
French Section - Design as a large Ring
The Persistence of Fragile Assemblages
26.11.2018 - 06.12.2018
Musée des Arts et Métiers
Muthesius Kunsthoch Schule
Let's get sustainable