A research team within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently 3-D printed full-scale concrete walls in an effort to create quick-to-assemble barracks for field housing, according to Engineering News Record. The project, named Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (ACES), aims to engineer structurally efficient and safe concrete barracks with precast roofs and 3-D-printed walls. In their latest tests, they were able to produce 9.5-foot-tall reinforced concrete walls for 32-foot by 16-foot barracks, made from about 25 cubic yards of concrete. The next phase of the testing will tackle printing concrete roof beams. Backed by the U.S. Marine Corps, Caterpillar Inc., NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Kennedy Space Center, ACES is pushing the boundaries of military on-site construction using as little money and manpower as possible. The project has undergone two years of testing with structural engineering experts from the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who had previous experience working in 3-D printing through a project with the U.S. Department of Energy. After several iterations, the group concluded that construction time on such structures could shrink to a single day as opposed to five days, the average amount of time it takes to build wood-framed barracks. Printing concrete barracks would also eliminate the need to ship construction materials for conventional barracks by instead using local concrete from wherever the build-out would occur. For this prototype, ACES spent $6,000 and in addition, found out that it would take just three trained crew members per shift for three continuous printing sessions to build the barracks. Though exhausting, the process is even less labor intensive than basic barrack construction. While 3-D-printed building technology is looking more viable every day, it's not perfect yet. According to ENR, SOM said that pre-testing the performance of the concrete is imperative and that the printing process must not be interrupted to ensure overall structural efficiency. Cracks from shrinkage can occur on long, straight walls as well, so ACES employed a chevron design that undulates, changing direction every two feet. ACES will do further testing over the next month to refine the technology and the construction process. They expect to be done with the project's precast concrete roof in September and will then issue a report with design guidelines. During 2019, the group hopes to build four or five pilot machines for Marine Corps units to use in the field for additional evaluation.
Posts tagged with "3d printed concrete":
The always-superlative Dubai is set to build the world’s first fully functional 3D-printed office building
What do office buildings and onions have in common? Layers! Dubai is gearing up to 3D-print an entire office building to temporarily house staff of the Museum of the Future. The high-tech structure takes the shape of an elliptical-shaped spectacle engraved with Arabic letters set to open in 2017. Its breathless marketing vaunts the fact that all interior fixtures and furniture will also be 3D-printed. The building will go up layer by layer in “a process much like a baker might ice a cake,” 3D printing company WinSun Global claims on its website. The Shanghai-based firm, a joint venture between Chinese 3D printing technology company WinSun and international investors, is partnering with Dubai to fabricate the 2,000-square-foot building within a number of weeks. While 3D printers have thus far been used to manufacture exterior walls or frames for homes, the technological museum claims that its sci-fi reminiscent, short-term headquarters will be the world’s first fully functioning, 3D-printed building and the most advanced 3D-printed structure ever built. Its exterior will be made of cement and printed concrete treated with special hardeners to ensure each layer can support the next. Reinforced plastic and glass fiber reinforced gypsum will also be used in construction. "This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design sectors," said Mohammed Al Gergawi , UAE Minister Of Cabinet Affairs and The Chairman of UAE National Innovation Committee. "We aim to take advantage of this growth by becoming a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come." Experts estimate that courtesy of the advanced technology, construction time can be shaved by 50–70 percent, labor costs by 50–80 percent, and construction waste minimized by 30–60 percent. The project is the Museum of the Future’s first major initiative before it opens in 2017. While there is scant information on the office’s interior design, museum authorities maintain that it represents “the latest thinking in workplace design” based on “in-depth research about the requirements of future work.”