3D printed constructions consist of an additive construction process capable of producing a wide range of complex structures and geometries without formwork through robotic fabrication of a digitally designed concept defined by using a computer software. This technology holds great potential for the construction industry due to its potential ability to lower total costs, shorten construction duration, improve quality and consistency, decrease labour requirements, reduce material utilization, increase customization, promote work flexibility, enhance sustainability and enable construction in harsh environments. These requirements are potentially strategically also for military applications. Starting from printing small parts of weapons, installations and facilities, very latest trends converge toward the application of 3D technology to produce deployable military shelters directly on site. The possibility of delegating construction to robot and the rapid construction processes fully automatized can save lives of personnel as well as the lower embedded construction energy and costs represent two further advantages to be explored. Flexibility of geometry and shape represent also strategic asset for military applications. On the other hand, the production of 3D printer shelter depends on large 3D printing machines, with inherent logistical issues. Moreover, raw materials also need to be transported on site and qualified technicians are needed to program the software and evaluate the workability of the mixture. In particular, the material and structural performance of 3D printed constructions against highly dynamic loadings still represents the main unknown variables to decide wheatear this technology can be successfully applied for defensive structures against blast and ballistic loading.
A master thesis program is aimed at assessing the potential feasibility of 3D printing technology for OoA concrete defensive shelter applications. This project aim is twofold.
- One the one hand, this is aimed at critically assessing the main advantages and disadvantages / issues inherent the application of 3D printed elements for housing solutions. Moreover, thesis is meant at testing, analysing and interpreting the mechanical performance of 3D printed concrete against high velocity impacts. The first task will be translated into a critical literature review of the current scientific production on 3D printed construction technology, with a focus on emerging crucial issues inherent e.g. material production timings, costs, environmental impact, logistics, material and structural properties.
- Once the preliminary overview is completed, an experimental program is set, with the aim of selecting the most promising 3D printing technologies and the material variants on the concrete mixtures. Resulting specimens will be tested against high velocity impact, with induced strain rate ranging from earthquake, impact and blast, both in compression and tension. The material properties of the 3D printed materials and technology will be physically interpreted and analytically assessed against the common understanding and knowledge for traditionally produced concrete.
This project is a joint collaboration between TNO and TU/e. Besides two TU/e supervisors, the candidate will have an external supervisor from TNO.