Hello everyone, I hope y’all have been doing well. Today I would like to talk about an improved application of 3D in building construction. For a while now, 3-D printing has been applied to building construction on a smaller scale. However, the large portion of the structure has still been constructed using conventional methods. Experts in various fields of building design and construction have been researching applications that expand the usage of 3-D printing in building construction. This is an area of building construction expertise in which China has recently lead the global market according to Brittney Stevenson.
In April 2014, WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. revealed that 10 homes were constructed entirely out of a 3-D printed, recycled concrete material – an advancement that surprised the engineering and construction community. In January 2015, it was revealed that WinSun had made further advancements in the applications of this 3-D printed material. A 6-story apartment building and home has been constructed and the apartment building itself has an approximately 1,100 square meter floor plan.
The 3-D printed elements were created by inputing a CAD file into a 20′ tall, 33′ ft wide, and 132′ foot long machine printed using a concrete mixture. The concrete mixture includes concrete, fiberglass, sand and a hardening agent. The usage of this material allows for improved reusage of general construction waste while also being flexible, self-insulating and resistant to earthquakes. Reinforcement was used where further strength was required and some of the larger pieces were built off site and transported there. Details of the of building construction process are listed in the article. According to WinSun, they are able to save 60% of the materials required for home construction, construct the building in 30% less time than traditional construction and reduce the required labor by 80%.
These are impressive results if true. I still wonder about the expense of owning and maintaining the machine might be a hindrance at first. And I would hope the cost of collecting the construction waste and creating the concrete mixture is included in those statistics. I think this is a good innovation, especially for low rise buildings since the loads and stresses are lower (although I believe a 6 story building is pushing the limits of standard low rise construction). I would be interested to see how the material ages in regards to long term durability as well. Overall, there are several applications that this would be useful for in the building construction industry.
What your thoughts on 3-D printed building elements? What about the concrete mixture used? Have you heard of any other building materials being used in relation to 3-D printing? If you enjoyed the article, please like it and share it with your friends. Thanks for reading and have a good week!
Brittney Stevenson, “Shanghai-Based WinSun 3D Prints 6-Story Apartment Building and an Incredible Home”, 3D Printer & 3D Printing News, January 18, 2015, http://goo.gl/TwVSKC