Concrete with 3D printed foam shapes
The latest 3D printing app? Form concrete. This is what a team from ETH Zurich affirms that construction with foam forms reduces concrete use by up to 70%. It also offers improved insulation properties. You can see a video of the process below.
Typical concreting relies on a form often made of wood, steel or plastic. It’s easy to do, but difficult to make complex shapes. However, if you can create complex shapes, you can easily put material where it adds strength and omit material where it does not support a load. Using a robotic arm 3D printing technique, researchers can lay out prefabricated foam blocks that create shapes with highly complex shapes.
The foam elements come in a conventional wood form and are poured as usual with, in this case, high performance fiber concrete. The resulting structure is strong but lighter than a conventional concrete structure. Foam pieces can be left or removed at the end of the process.
The design required 12 different shapes and 24 individual elements. 3D printing material is a type of mineral foam made from recycled materials.
We have already seen 3D printing via a robotic arm. Of course, 3D printing of structures is all the rage lately and we’ve seen it done with concrete on a number of occasions.