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“Fossilized” Project Takes a Creative but Practical Approach to Concrete 3D Printing

by • January 20, 2016 • No Comments

amalConcrete is usually not a material that one associates with artistic expression. It is a utilitarian material, intended to be poured and scraped, walked upon or leaned against. 3D printing, yet, has revitalized concrete’s creative future. Incredible shapes and textures have been made by artists armed with concrete and 3D printing devices, but the material’s functional attributes aren’t being ignored: concrete is in addition being explored as a medium for 3D printing entire buildings.

A group of students at the Bartlett School of Architecture have been experimenting with concrete printing as a way to combine both the artistic and the functional. The team, that calls itself Amalgamma, is turn it intod of four Masters students — Alvaro Lopez Rodriguez, Francesca Camilleri, Nadia Doukhi and Roman Strukov — who took on a year-long research project to turn it into new methods for 3D printing concrete. The project, entitled “Fossilized,” had several objectives.

amalgamma“Fossilized is a project that attempts to counteract current ‘stagnant’ 3D printing practices, aiming to reinstate the concept of craftsmanship back into architectural turn it into by adopting a additional tectonic approach to 3D printed form,” the team states. “Rather than focussing on actual form generation, this is accomplished through an belief of aggregation and heterogeneity at the material level, encouraging the dissolution of boundaries at the massing, structural and material scales.”

The results of the project are anything but stagnant. Amalgamma’s printed concrete structures are twisting, multi-layered columns that resemble ancient, decaying trees. Despite their fragile lookance, yet, the structures are strong; one of the team’s objectives is to turn it into sculptural elements that can in addition assist functional architectural purposes.

To complete these results, the group made a novel method of 3D concrete printing that in fact combined two various techniques. The initially was basic extrusion, via a sizeable industrial robotic arm to extrude the concrete material. The 2nd was powder bed printing. Normally, powder bed printing utilizes a laser beam or binding agent to fuse layers of powder together; Amalgamma’s system utilized the “powder” – in this case, a granular, rock salt-like substance – strictly as a assist material.

Basically, the concrete is extruded onto a bed of the granular material. As the layers of concrete are extruded, a 2nd tool head on the robotic arm deposits additional of the granular material around it. The assist material combines with the wet concrete to strengthen the weaker parts of the structure. Not just that, the salt-like material adds an extra element of beauty to the finished columns, manufacturing them look as if they are covered with ice, frost, or a few sort of lichen.

concreteAmalgamma believes that their technique may dramatically reduce the amount of material wasted in traditional construction methods. Rather than via solid, heavy slabs of concrete to turn it into columns or walls, the Fossilized method allows for for structurally sound elements to be turn it intod with much less material:

“Alyet 3D printing a whole structure of begin to finish may not be possible due to fabrication constraints, it may be possible to print, for example, a floor-wall-ceiling assembly or a stair-floor-wall assembly as one whole architectural chunk – every chunk equally turn it intoed as a one-of-a-kind object capable of existing independently.”

Fossilized is the just project Amalgamma has accomplished so far, but they go on to turn it into the system under the tutelage of several Bartlett professors. We’ve seen several 3D printing and other tech-related beginups form out of student collaborations; I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, inside a few years, Amalgamma turns into an new and successful architectural firm. Discuss your yetts on this project in the Fossilized 3D Printed Concrete forum over at 3DPB.com.