M-CUBED 2.0: 3-D Printed Buildings

Start Date: 
Oct 1, 2015
End Date: 
Dec 31, 2017

3-D printing technology has made great strides in recent years. Building construction, however, has remained complex, time consuming, and generates significant construction waste. A challenge of 3-D printing brittle concrete is the need for steel reinforcement, which limits the size and shape of printed elements (e.g. flat slabs). The advent of 3-D printing technology and ductile concrete makes dramatic breakthroughs in structural performance and aesthetic appeal plausible. We envision printing buildings of complex shapes by combining materials science, printing technology, and architectural design. This project will explore the junctures and melding of these disciplines, and examine the limits of 3-D ductile concrete printing. As well, the interaction of printing process, material microstructure and composite mechanical properties will be experimentally investigated. 3-D printed prototype art objects will serve to illustrate the feasibility of this concept. Life-cycle environmental impacts of 3-D printing construction process will be evaluated.

University of Michigan - Office of Provost