Finite: A new composite material from desert sand

Industrial Design Student 2017

Hamza Oza
Royal College of Art / Imperial College London
Innovation Design Engineering

Finite is a new sustainable and reusable composite material made from desert sand.

There is a common misconception that sand is an abundant resource. Beach, river and quarry sands are in high demand and heavily used in many industries, especially construction. Desert sand however has little use, as its grains are too smooth and fine to bind together in concrete. Even Dubai imports sand from other countries like Australia to construct its buildings.


The development of Finite opens new opportunities to make use of desert sand. Finite can be formed into structures that have the same strength as housing bricks and residential concrete. However, compared to bricks and concrete, the process to make Finite is simple and does not require extreme temperatures. It is also environmentally friendly, with less than half the carbon footprint of concrete. Most impressively, Finite can be dissolved and then remoulded for multiple life cycle uses. The material can be pigmented to create different aesthetics such as marbling to suit the desired application whilst producing smooth intricate finishes.

Finite’s re usability and sustainable end of life has led Hamza and his team to explore its application in short-term infrastructure projects. Structures using Finite would be made from abundant local materials using a simple process. Once these structures are longer needed, they can be deconstructed thanks to their design and Finite’s unique properties. The remaining material could then be reused, or left on-site to safely biodegrade into the local environment.

The team hopes Finite will prove the power of building with abundant and reusable natural materials. Hopefully relieving demand on overexploited ocean and river sands.

Finite was developed by Hamza Oza and his team mates: Carolyn Tam, Matteo Maccario and Saki Maruyama