12.09.2018 change 12.09.2018

Szczecin/ Scientists have built a 3D printer for concrete

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Poland`s first 3D printer that uses a concrete mix has been built by scientists from the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin. For now they print small objects, but in the future they want to create cubature construction objects.

"Our Cartesian robot is controlled by proprietary software and moves in three axes. The printing material is neither plastic nor ink, but a concrete mix" - says Dr. Adam Zieliński from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture of the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin.

According to Zieliński, 3D printer using a concrete mix is a reference to the growing incremental printing technology, already used in the world of science and industry. It is the first such printer in Poland.

"For now, we have focused on testing. We have built a relatively small printer, we print test objects for research, including models of building structures such as walls and columns. We also print pots and other elements of small architecture. We try to develop the curvilinearity of shapes of printed structures, which is difficult and often impossible to perform in traditional formwork" - says Adam Zieliński. He adds that in the world there are already devices that "print whole houses".

"The target result is the transition to 1: 1 scale elements, we want to create building structures and objects" - explains Zieliński. He notes that the machine is constantly being improved in terms of mechanics, IT and technology. Scientists test different compositions of concrete mixes that determine print quality. They say that the process`s ecology is also very important.

"We use fly ash or silica fumes that are by-products of other industrial processes. They are very important materials for us because they give the mixture the right properties, including its rheology, but also strength" - explains Zieliński.

Researchers from the West Pomeranian University of Technology filed 6 patent applications. They intend to obtain financing for infrastructure development, enlarging the printing machine and improving the print mixes.

The concrete printer is being developed by a team from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics and the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture of the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin.

The printer will be presented to a wider audience during the Researchers` Night on September 28.

PAP - Science in Poland, Elżbieta Bielecka

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