Technology in "Growth"

Wonder how plants grow?! Yes, through germination. Believe! Inventions grow through imagination. Got a nursery, but hate messing up with changing the pots as your dear plants grow? Read at once this article to know about the growing plant pot. Yes, it’s hot!

It all began when Begum and Bike Ayaskan, the twins who were from Royal College of Art thought of designing a plant pot with a complex origami form fused into it, enabling it to unfold and accommodate more space for roots as the roots grow.

"Growing plant pots" are made of polypropylene and automated with a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) router fitted into a cylinder made up of checkered triangles.

Each vessel can expand to more than five sizes of its base volume, either when the roots push outwards naturally, or through manual adjustment, which makes the process of re-potting not necessary.

To do this, the pair looked into methods that would enable transformation in three dimensions, and it quickly became apparent that origami held the answer.

Browsing through many origami patterns and trying a few of their original imagination to identify the fitting method, the triangle-based pattern was implemented to modify, and they calculated the equation to get the perfect cylindrical shape of the design. Finally, a scalable pattern that can be easily modified to have more or fewer facades was arrived at.

The Growth Pots of Begum and Bike Ayaskan are made of flat sheets of polypropylene, heat welded into a cylindrical shape with a CNC routing. A mesh of the same material is fixed to the base part of it to drain water.

The pot starts off in its folded form, ready for a small plant to be homed inside.

The designers estimate that a small tree would normally need re-potting at least three to four times in its lifetime, but Growth enables development with a sense of freedom.

Why did they choose Polypropylene?


Polypropylene, like every other polymer, has advantages and disadvantages that make it more suitable for certain uses than others.

Advantages of polypropylene:

  • It is a relatively inexpensive material
  • It possesses high flexural strength because of its semi-crystalline nature
  • It has a low coefficient of friction
  • It is very resistant to moisture
  • It has good chemical resistance over a wide range of bases and acids
  • It possesses good fatigue resistance
  •  It has good impact strength
  • It has a good resistance to electricity and is thus a good electrical insulator
  • It is more easily repaired from damage

Disadvantages of polypropylene:

  • It has a high thermal expansion coefficient which limits its high temperature applications
  • It is susceptible to UV degradation
  • It has poor resistance to chlorinated solvents and aromatics
  • It is known to be difficult to paint as it has poor bonding properties
  • It has a high flammability
  • It is susceptible to oxidation

Despite its shortcomings, polypropylene is a great material. It has a unique blend of qualities that aren’t found in any other material, which makes it an ideal choice for many projects.

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