Thermoplastic Composites by 3D Printing and Automated Manufacturing to Extend the Life of Transportation Facilities

Project Details
STATE

FHWA

SOURCE

TRID

START DATE

01/01/19

END DATE

08/31/20

RESEARCHERS

Roberto Lopez-Anido, James Anderson, Douglas Gardner, and Yousoo Han

SPONSORS

University of Maine; USDOT

KEYWORDS

Automation, Composite materials, Concrete structures, Feasibility analysis, Fillers (Materials), Forming, Manufacturing, Precast concrete, Printers, Quality assurance, Recycling, Reinforcing materials, Service life, Specifications, Thermoplastic materials, Thermoplastic resins

Project description

The objectives of this project are to: (a) Identify potential applications for large-scale 3D printing of forms and tooling for precast concrete parts in transportation using bio-based fillers and reinforcements and cost-effective thermoplastic materials. (b) Determine the feasibility of making 3D printed forms for optimized precast concrete parts and elements to extend durability and reduce cost. (c) Document the demonstration of large-scale 3D printing of precast concrete forms and assess the quality of the parts. Establish material and manufacturing specifications to assist the departments of transportation (DOTs) implement this technology in transportation applications. (d) Investigate the potential for recycling the 3D print forms and tooling, and reusing/reprinting the wood-filled thermoplastic material to make it a capital asset for precasters.
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