June 23, 2022

IIT-G team develops 3D printing technique to reduce concrete use by 75%

A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) has developed 3D printed street furniture using building materials made from local industrial waste. 3D printing of concrete is gaining ground in the building and construction industries.

Recent developments in this field such as 3D printed modular homes, pedestrian walkways, office buildings, public schools, low cost toilets have the potential to initiate a paradigm shift in construction practice. The IIT-G research group used specially developed printable concrete containing industrial waste as binders to build 3D printed furniture with a seat height of 0.4 m, a width of 0.4 m and a support in arch shape that was modeled and sliced ​​using SolidWorks and Simplify3D, respectively.

The entire unit was printed layer by layer at a speed of 80mm/s, with each layer being 10mm high. Once the unit was printed, it was covered in damp burlap bags for 7 days to harden before being used. Traditionally, these structures were cast in molds, requiring more concrete materials, labor and formwork preparation.

However, with concrete 3D printing, optimized designs are printed with 75% less concrete and without the need for a mold. “We have shown how material-saving structures can be produced in our lab-scale 3D printer. Our goal is to design high-performance concrete mixes made from industrial waste for printing such complex structures” , said Dr. Biranchi Panda, Department of Mechanics. Engineering, said in a statement.

The team is now exploring underwater concrete printing and the possibility of printing functional reinforced concrete using low carbon materials. “3D concrete printing can be a technological solution to reduce the carbon footprint in the building and construction industry,” said Professor TG Sitharam, director, told IIT-G.

“In the Indian context, a techno-economic analysis must be carried out which takes into account not only environmental sustainability, but also the cost, quality, labor and maintenance aspects associated with the 3D printing,” Sitharam added.

The research team believes that on-site and on-demand 3D concrete printing will have a global impact on multi-purpose construction applications and multi-billion dollar markets worldwide. Future jobs will be oriented towards the design, automation, servicing and maintenance of digital systems.

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Posted: Monday, January 24, 2022, 3:32 PM IST


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