Design, fabrication and testing of discrete 3D sand-printed floor prototypes

Rippmann M., Liew A., Van Mele T. and Block P.
Material Today Communications
doi: 10.1016/j.mtcomm.2018.03.005

This paper describes the concept, design, fabrication and experimental testing of prototype 3D sand-printed floors, derived from principles of shallow arching action and discrete structural systems to initiate internal compressive stresses rather than exclusively flexural stresses. Using industrial 3D printing with silica sand, the presented system enables signifi cant weight reduction of up to 70% when compared to conventional concrete floor slabs, by placing the 3D printed material in key structural areas and by externalising tension forces. The form-fi nding process for the global shape of the floors and the generation of structurally optimised print mesh geometries are presented. Three floor prototypes with varying rib geometries and discretisation layouts were studied. The results from the serviceability and ultimate load testing of the floors are documented in detail. The data showed that this relatively weak material can be used, without internal reinforcement, to print a floor that is able to support loads in excess of typical design code levels.


    author  = "Rippmann, M. and Liew, A. and Van Mele, T. and Block, P.",
    title   = "Design, fabrication and testing of discrete 3D sand-printed floor prototypes",
    journal = "Material Today Communications",
    year    = "2018",
    volume  = "15",
    number  = "",
    pages   = "254-259",
    month   = "",
    doi     = "10.1016/j.mtcomm.2018.03.005",
    note    = "",

Related publications

Liew A., López López D., Van Mele T. and Block P.Design, fabrication and testing of a prototype, thin-vaulted, unreinforced concrete floor,Engineering Structures,137: 323-335,2017.
Block P., Rippmann M. and Van Mele T.Compressive assemblies: Bottom-up performance for a new form of construction,AD Architectural Design,87(4): 104-109,2017 (July/August).Special issue S. Tibbits (Ed.) - Autonomous Assembly: Designing for a new era of collective construction.
Block P., Van Mele T., Rippmann M. and Paulson N.Beyond Bending - Reimagining Compression Shells,Edition DETAIL,Munich,2017 (October).


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