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3D Printed Formwork

for An Optimized Concrete Beam


Team: Prof. Caitlin Mueller, Mohamed Ismail, Yiqing Wang (Toolpath Design and Fabrication)

About 30% of global construction uses earth (Keefe 2005), especially in informal buildings in underdeveloped areas. Earth-based constructions often have much lower environmental impacts compared to traditional materials like concrete and steel. Utilizing 3D-printed clay for making recyclable, low-carbon concrete formwork can lead to efficient and sturdy concrete elements. This approach involves creating formwork for a concrete beam designed to fit the specifications and limitations of 3D-printed clay.

The formwork consists of layered, 3D-printed clay modules designed from a CAD model, enlarged by 15% to account for shrinkage. The size of these modules is constrained by the printer's capacity, not the clay's stability. Printed with a Kuka robot arm and a 3D-printing attachment, the modules are assembled on a wooden platform, secured, and covered with plastic to protect against moisture, allowing for reuse after the concrete sets.


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