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What is the overall goal of your project? 
The goal of this project is to design and build an affordable customizable gantry-type 3D printer for large-scale concrete structural construction. In doing so, this project will develop a design methodology that will allow scalability and further customization.

Which grand challenge are you addressing?
Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry and civil infrastructure by providing rapid and affordable construction. Thus, this research project is aligned with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) grand challenge on Restoring and Improving Urban Infrastructure and ASCE’s Future World Vision and ASCE’s Grand Challenges. The first step towards understanding the performance of 3D printed structures is to understand the construction process itself. Unlike small size 3D printers that are used for prototyping using polymers or metals, 3D printers for large-scale structural construction are expensive and allow for limited customization, thus, unintentionally hindering further advancements in structural 3D printing. Our goal is, through interdisciplinary research, to develop affordable customizable gantry-type 3D printer for large-scale concrete structural construction and formulate the design methodology that will allow scalability and further customization.

What is the key challenge your project is trying to solve?
The limited availability, affordability and customization of 3D printing technologies for large-scale construction (> 30 ft. × 30 ft. × 30 ft.) is hindering advancements in additively manufactured infrastructure. Our goal is, through interdisciplinary research, to develop affordable customizable gantry-type 3D printer for large-scale concrete structural construction and formulate the design methodology that will allow scalability and further customization.

What is the impact on society your project has?
Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry and the structural engineering discipline as a whole by allowing rapid and affordable construction. Such an unprecedented capability can address housing problems in underdeveloped and developing countries as well as the lack of housing in communities impacted by natural hazards, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Recovery of communities impacted by natural hazards may also be significantly expedited through rapid affordable housing.

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Petros Sideris

Engineering Majors Targeted: CVEN, CSCE, MEEN, ECEN