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Purdue Develops 3D-Printed Cement Paste

Thursday, October 11, 2018

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Researchers at Purdue University have reportedly created a 3D-printed cement paste that gets tougher under pressure. The technique could eventually be used to build more resilient structures in preparedness for natural disasters.

"Nature has to deal with weaknesses to survive, so we are using the 'built-in' weaknesses of cement-based materials to increase their toughness," said Jan Olek, a professor in Purdue's Lyles School of Civil Engineering.

The Findings

Engineers at the university are the first to use 3D printing to create bioinspired structures using cement paste, and they are taking a cue from nature, mainly arthropods—such as lobsters and beetles—or, more specifically, their shells.

The 3D designs are inspired by the shells and how they control how damage spreads between layers.

"The exoskeletons of arthropods have crack propagation and toughening mechanisms that we can reproduce in 3D-printed cement paste," said Pablo Zavattieri, Purdue professor of civil engineering.

3D printing the materials, as opposed to using molds, gives engineers more control over the designs, which include patterns such as “honeycomb,” “compliant” and “Bouligand” designs called “architecture.”

"3D printing cement-based materials provides control over their structure, which can lead to the creation of more damage- and flaw-tolerant structural elements like beams or columns," said Mohamadreza "Reza" Moini, a Purdue Ph.D. candidate of civil engineering.

The team plans to continue exploring using 3D elements for improving the resiliency of buildings.

   

Tagged categories: 3D Printing; Cement; Good Technical Practice; North America; Research and development

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