Development of binder jet 3-D printing of cement-based components for structural applications

Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: Paolo Bocchini, Clay Naito
Co-PIs: John Fox

The research will investigate cement based concrete mixes for application in 3-D printing and will be utilized for innovative solutions in structural engineering. Advances have been made in the use of fused deposition modeling technologies for concrete construction in which wet concrete is deposited in layers that are several inches thick for the fabrication of walls and structural components. While these systems are effective for large components where surface quality and accuracy are not critical, they are not ideal when refined topologies and lightweight components are desired. The research will utilize binder jet methods to deposit water-based liquid binding agents onto a dry cementitious powder aggregate material. This approach facilitates fabrication of components that are fully supported during construction by the unused material that surrounds it and allows for complex shapes with reentrant corners, negative draft, and hollow forms not currently possible with form based construction. The research will focus on the development of effective dry mix designs utilizing cementitious materials produced by Buzzi Unicem. The team involves experts in binder jet printing, structural engineering, and cement chemistry at Lehigh.