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Towards development of sustainable lightweight 3D printed wall building envelopes – Experimental and numerical studies

Cuevas, Karla; Strzałkowski, Jarosław; Kim, Ji-Su; Ehm, Clemens; Glotz, Theresa; Chougan, Mehdi; Ghaffar, Seyed Hamidreza; Stephan, Dietmar; Sikora, Pawel

3D printing technology can be of crucial importance in the design of sustainable and energy efficient building envelopes. With this technology, there is the potential to mechanically and thermally optimise the topology of printed walls. Additionally, the printing and infill materials used can be insulating, and thus contributing to the overall reduction of heat loss. To date, limited examples of 3D printed envelopes and information about the thermal and mechanical perfor mance of 3D printed walls are available. This study developed a 3D printable wall element with an insulating property for application in building envelopes. Seven wall topologies are studied through simulations of mechanical and thermal performance using two mixtures: a control mixture (normal-weight) and a lightweight mixture containing expanded thermoplastic micro spheres (ETM) for thermal insulation. One wall topology is selected based on the performance of the simulation and printed using both mixtures. The 3D printed envelopes were tested under compressive strength and analysed with the ARAMIS system, a digital image correlation (DIC) technology. Computer simulations and the DIC analysis identified the main causes for failure, which are the inter-filament weakness and the imperfections of the geometry of the printed envelope.
Published in: Case Studies in Construction Materials, 10.1016/j.cscm.2023.e01945, Elsevier