Hardened properties for high-performance printing concrete

Le, T. T.; Austin, S. A.; Lim, S.; Buswell, R. A.; Law, R.; Gibb, A. G. F. and Thorpe, T. (2012). Hardened properties for high-performance printing concrete. Cement and Concrete Research Journal, 42(3) pp. 558–566.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cemconres.2011.12.003


This paper presents the hardened properties of a high-performance fibre-reinforced fine-aggregate concrete extruded through a 9 mm diameter nozzle to build layer-by-layer structural components in a printing pro- cess. The printing process is a digitally controlled additive method capable of manufacturing architectural and structural components without formwork, unlike conventional concrete construction methods. The effects of the layering process on density, compressive strength, flexural strength, tensile bond strength and drying shrinkage are presented together with the implication for mix proportions. A control concrete (mould-cast specimens) had a density of approximately 2250 kg/m3, high strength (107 MPa in compression, 11 MPa in flexure) and 3 MPa in direct tension, together with a relatively low drying shrinkage of 175 μm (cured in water) and 855 μm (cured in a chamber at 20 °C and 60% relative humidity) at 184 days. In contrast well printed concrete had a density of 2350 kg/m3, compressive strength of 75–102 MPa, flexural strength of 6–17 MPa depending on testing direction, and tensile bond strength between layers varying from 2.3 to 0.7 MPa, reducing as the printing time gap between layers increased. The well printed concrete had signifi- cantly fewer voids greater than 0.2 mm diameter (1.0%) when compared with the mould-cast control (3.8%), whilst samples of poorly printed material had more voids (4.8%) mainly formed in the interstices be- tween filaments. The additive extrusion process was thus shown to retain the intrinsic high performance of the material.

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