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3D Printing with Low-Carbon Concrete

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Reducing CO2 Emissions and Material Waste

Concrete is the second most utilized substance on the earth after water, and output is predicted to increase significantly by 2050, rising from 4.4 billion Tonnes to 5.5 billion Tonnes. Unfortunately, this has a significant negative impact on the environment, contributing to roughly 8% of worldwide carbon emissions. Construction sector stakeholders need to concentrate on combining sustainable building materials and cutting-edge procedures in order to accommodate this anticipated expansion.

The energy giant has chosen to partner with Hyperion Robotics and Peikko Group to deploy 3D printing technology to improve the development of its transmission network with the aim of minimizing the environmental impact of these new facilities and decreasing project costs and lead-times.

The answer is very doable and timely, especially given that construction is the least mechanized sector and is currently suffering from a skilled labor crisis. Low-carbon concrete can now be printed in huge quantities using 3D technology, making it easier, faster, safer, and more environmentally friendly to build using concrete.

Hyperion Robotics' unique 3D printing Micro-factories reduce the amount of structural concrete required by up to 75% while also considerably decreasing waste. The approach not only makes the process more sustainable, but it also improves health and safety standards since robots do the hard labor while people watch the process.

Most waste is not recycled at the moment, but the printing system allows for the use of reinforced low-carbon concrete made from a combination of end-of-cycle materials from industry such as blast furnace slag, fly ash, mining tailings, and demolition waste, which contributes to significant cost savings and a 90% reduction in embodied CO2 emissions. Moving cement demands a tremendous amount of energy.

The harmful gases produced during cement manufacture are created by the combustion of limestone. Kilns are heated to 1,400 degrees Celsius, when the carbon in the limestone reacts with the oxygen to produce CO2.

Cement also depletes water resources, and 785 million people lack access to basic water services.

The novel 3D printed structure was tested with horizontal and vertical pull and revealed that in practice, just 25% of the material is required to provide the equal strength as typical pad foundations. This is a big victory for the industry's long-term future in terms of CO2 footprint and building process advancements.



Data-informed layer design through robot speed control

Large-scale robotic 3DCP layered deposition is programmed with the definition of a sequence of plane targets that the robot must travel towards. These planes precisely define the locations and orientations of the Tool Centre Point (TCP), i.e., the tip of the extruder, which are subsequently converted into rotational movements of an industrial robot's six axes of freedom. The robot's motion speed rate is the second critical parameter in the 3DCP process. The speed, which is defined for each plane, directly determines the amount of material deposited locally in the process.

Stress-based toolpath design

The authors created a method that uses stress isostatic curves to minimize the weight of beam members and boost structural efficiency. Principal Stress Lines (PSL) are orthogonal curve pairs that represent internal force paths in each loading scenario and design domain. They denote the spatial orientations when stress is solely axial. Sections orientated along the PSL experience no shear

or bending stress.

Geometric toolpath optimization for 3DCP

In the world of 3DCP, the size of extrusion spans from roughly 15-350 mm in width, providing challenges during print path development since beginning and stopping causes discontinuities, resulting in weak interfaces and aesthetic flaws. The majority of 3DCP manufacturing systems lack synchronized motion and extrusion control.

Curvature-based zone data Z, i.e., a robot-code variable that sets the distance at which the robot computes the movement to the next point, are integrated into the process to further minimize the number of print planes and assure smooth mobility at greater speeds.

Tensile layer reinforcement

Because of the narrow dimensions of the beam components and the stress-based design method, they are printed with the longitudinal side on the print bed. This minimizes the danger of failure owing to elastic buckling during printing while also reducing the number of layers and the resulting load borne by the lower levels.

The method, which combines computational design with 3DCP, takes use of the flexibility and high-resolution technology to programmatically arrange the material in response to structural and geometric numerical inputs, reducing material consumption while enhancing structural performance.

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