Thermodynamics Visualization


Project Brief

The goal was to uncover new ways of representing the invisible qualities of a space. We were looking at how the ephemeral quality and data of a space could inform its own built environment.

A project made in a class called Ecologics, a project based design-research seminar that investigates adaptive dynamic behaviors inspired by natural processes and biomimetics as a basis for design ideas. We use contemporary parametric modeling to incorporate environmental information into iterative design process and form making. The objective is to speculate about translation of performative contingencies into functional morphologies informed by data sets and simulation. We engage design processes in which systems’ performance metrics underpin creative exploration of organization and form.

Spring 2017
2 month long project

Wax, White and light sensitive PLA filament

This project was developed in collaboration with designers Jenny Hu and Aisha Dev.


Exploration of ephemeral qualities that affect the phenomenology of spaces. Represent data in a physical space. To help people understand the invisible forces that influence their behavior and perception.


^A heat mapping was taken with the FLIR camera. We decided wax for the medium because of its tangible ability to collect material memory.


The heat mapping images were used as a base to inform the structure the wax would organically respond to. The photo is of a 6 pointed arch in Carnegie Mellon’s CFA Hall. The image was translated in grasshopper and printed out. This mesh structure was then outlined with a PLA 3D printing pen. The nodes and connections between meshes were extruded with the filament as well. The height of this extrusion depended on the density of the mesh. This framework then allowed for wax to slowly drip and build up on the structure.

A closeup of ceiling heat visualization and its structural correlation to the mesh
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 9.44.00 AM.png
Hair-like added volume and the form after the wax cast

The light sensitive filament transitions to purple under UV radiation. After completing the series of heat visualizations, we presented them in the space they were documenting. The project was an extended visualization of the current physical space.


  • Material exploration of ephemeral processes
  • Iteration on how to communicate thermal data
  • Final creation and refinement

My methodology utilized the design processes to allow for the data system and medium to support the creative exploration of organization and form.


1. Concept Creation

The initial research involved understanding ephemeral processes and transition that can be physically represented.



2. Material Exploration

Extensive research into the material behavior of paraffin wax. It was crucial to understand the medium in order to imagine ways it can be a communication tool.



3. Contextualization

This stage involved refining ways to control the wax in order for it to it to clearly communicate the evolving thermodynamics.



4. Creation