Researchers print complex buildings with half the concrete

A way of printing complex structures using half the concrete required by traditional construction methods has been developed by a team at the University of Zürich’s Digital Building Technology department.

The EHT Zürich method uses “optimisation algorithms” to create the most efficient formwork for the structures, and has also developed a process that allows it to control the setting rate of the concrete filling.

According to the team, this digital control over the setting rate means it can “extrude a fluid concrete that emulates the complex surface of the formwork perfectly, and a fast setting concrete that does not need any additional formwork for the upper structure”.

Image: Digital Building Technologies/Ana Anton

The method, it says, is superior to traditional formwork, which has limited scope and predefined shapes, and also requires less manual labour and resources. This in turn allows “radically new aesthetics in slabs” and will be able to “facilitate a more diverse repertoire of contextualised design solutions in real buildings”.

The team is made up of Ana Anton, Andrei Jipa and Benjamin Dillenburger from Digital Building Technologies, and Lex Reiter from the Physical Chemistry of Building Materials department.

Top image: Digital Building Technologies/Andrei Jipa

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