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3D-Printed Concrete Beam

2022 // 

Traditional mold-based concrete construction methods are inefficient, due to the time and material cost of constructing formwork. However, 3D-printed concrete is expected to replace the conventional method and become an emerging intelligent construction method with its characteristics of flexibility, automatization, speed, and ability to construct complex forms without a mold. This paper investigates a novel method for 3D-printed new concrete beam members with malleable behavior and optimized topology. 3D-printed concrete beams with optimized topological structure and ductility can result in higher mechanical capacity, material savings, and even reduced weight of their components. In combination, these factors can reduce the overall environmental impact of the concrete structure when compared to conventional methods. Inspired by the clear expression of the compressive and tensile elements within a lenticular truss, we will attempt to create a 3d-printed concrete truss that takes advantage of this clarity of structure. By using 3d printed concrete for the compressive elements and steel cable for the tensile elements, we can utilize each material to its full potential. In order to test this hypothesis, we will use Grasshopper & Karamba3D to optimize our form before the final print. By eliminating the hollow parts of the truss beams using a 3D-printed concrete mold, we could address the geometric complexity of the formwork. These voids within the truss can become molds into which concrete can be poured to further strengthen the joints. Additionally, the cavities can used to house various ducts and utilities. This process significantly reduces material waste compared to those produced using traditional templates. The potential implications of this research are to promote free-form production, optimize concrete beam members, and ultimately achieve light structures that save concrete material while facilitating fabrication. In addition, optimized design can reduce transportation costs and carbon emissions.

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