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Mix design and fresh properties for high-performance printing concrete


This paper presents the experimental results concerning the mix design and fresh properties of a high-performance fibre-reinforced fine-aggregate concrete for printing concrete. This concrete has been designed to be extruded through a nozzle to build layer-by-layer structural components. The printing process is a novel digitally controlled additive manufacturing method which can build architectural and structural components without formwork, unlike conventional concrete construction methods. The most critical fresh properties are shown to be extrudability and buildability, which have mutual relationships with workability and open time. These properties are significantly influenced by the mix proportions and the presence of superplasticiser, retarder, accelerator and polypropylene fibres. An optimum mix is identified and validated by the full-scale manufacture of a bench component.

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This project is funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the UK (EPSRC) Grant (EP/E002323/1) through the IMCRC at Loughborough University. The authors gratefully acknowledge the supply of materials from Weber (St Gobain), Hanson Cement, BASF and Grace Construction Products and the assistance in designing the freeform components from Foster + Partners and Buro Happold. The authors are also grateful for the laboratory assistance of John Webster, Jonathan Hales and David Spendlove.

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Correspondence to T. T. Le.

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Le, T.T., Austin, S.A., Lim, S. et al. Mix design and fresh properties for high-performance printing concrete. Mater Struct 45, 1221–1232 (2012).

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  • Additive manufacturing
  • Build
  • Concrete
  • Extrusion
  • Open time
  • Printing