3D PRINTING IN CONSTRUCTION AND ITS FUTURE

Geopolymer-concrete_plastbot

Concrete is the largest-volume engineered material produced worldwide; more than 10 billion tonnes of concrete are formulated, mixed and placed every year. The major constituents of conventional concrete by volume is coarse and fine aggregates, typically natural quarried stone or sand. The aggregates are formed into a concrete matrix following the addition of water and a binder such as Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). The quantities of each constituent may be varied to achieve different desirable criteria such as high strength, workability and durability.

The cement and concrete industry generates around 8% of global CO2 emissions through the production of Portland cement alone, and an enormous technological leap is required to enable this to be reduced in a global environment which is demanding more and more materials for infrastructure construction in the developing world.

Concrete material are capable of development in response to changes in design, demanded performance, environmental and sustainability issues as well as social challenges. As a result they have changed and will change further in the future.

In order to reduce further the CO2 emissions associated with concrete further viable alternatives to replace OPC are being examined with geopolymer materials considered to be one such alternative. Given the large number of potential applications for geopolymer materials it’s definition is continually evolving.

Geopolymer concretes offer a number of benefits over conventional OPC concrete including:

significantly lower CO2 emissions than OPC concretes – up to~90%
better thermal insulation properties
higher temperature/fire resistance
providing a viable use for ‘waste’ materials which are often disposed in landfill

The 42nd Annual Convention  of  The Institute of Concrete Technology  has brought together a range of issues that will affect and effect the future of concrete and those who are involved in its manufacture, provision and use.  3D Printing could have an important role  in Construction and its Future.  There’s a certain amount of scepticism regarding the viability of scaling up a technology that, until now,  has only been used to make relatively small objects but Enrico Dini’s D-SHAPE proved  that  this technology could revolutionize the way we design and construct buildings.

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