Iowa Department of Transportation
Feasibility analysis; Infrastructure; Mix design; Printers; Technological innovations; Three dimensional displays
There is a growing interest in 3D concrete printing worldwide. Through automation, digitalization, and process planning, 3D printing technology permits to create concrete structures having complex geometry (various shapes/cross-sections) with high precision. It also enables concrete construction under extreme conditions that are difficult and/or very costly for conventional concrete formwork setup, placing, and/or consolidation. Many breakthroughs have been made in 3D concrete printing already, and one of them is the recent development in printing of reinforced concrete, which has opened a new door for further innovations and applications of 3D printed concrete. In spite of significant progress of this technology, studies on 3D concrete printing for the applications in transportation infrastructures are still very limited. This proposed project is to explore the feasibility to fill this gap. Research has indicated that in addition to the proper printing equipment and automation design tools, a core for successful 3D printed concrete is to have a desirable robust “ink” – an engineered concrete mixture. The focus of this proposed project is to develop a printable, functional concrete mixture. It is expected that this explorative study will bring many 3D printing related innovations to Iowa and offer a revolutionary perspective on the future structural concrete design and construction of transportation infrastructures as well as on emergency road/bridge repairs.