Due to concrete’s traditional role as casted material its appearance as a uniform solid mass with identical properties in all directions is one of the its most distinct traits. When poured in a mould concrete adheres to the shape of the formwork (macro scale) and material composition (micro scale) is unable to respond to heterogenous stresses at a more at a more detailed level.

This project investigates how large-scale 3D printing opens up new means for controlling the distribution of concrete at a previously impossible intermediate scale - its meso-scale. Compared to casting in a mould that creates massive structures, the precision offered by 3D printing can be programmed to introduce local variation in the build-up of the material that results in novel material structures with varying material properties. The overall aim of this project is to develop new strategies for optimising material use in building production by developing a digital workflow that bring design and manufacturing closer together.

Project leader: Helena Westerlind, Kungliga tekniska högskolan