The US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Illinois has managed to successfully 3D print a 512 square-foot concrete billet structure.
This achievement was made possible thanks to a US Army program called Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (ACES) which "uses an additive manufacturing process to "print" semi-permanent structures in a theater of operation", according to a statement posted on the US Army’s official website.
The ACES program is expected to improve the US military logistics by significantly reducing both the manpower requirements and the dependency on shipped construction materials.
"The ACES team designed, built, and validated an additive, three-dimensional concrete printing technology that is a real game changer. Unlike previous efforts, ACES can use up to 3/8" aggregate in the concrete that is used. In addition, the ACES project paid particular attention to methods of reinforcing printed concrete, both horizontally and vertically," Case added.
The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center has already entered an agreement with Caterpillar Inc to explore the potential for commercial application of this new technology in disaster relief operations and conventional construction.
Furthermore, CERL scientists are also working together with their colleagues from NASA to develop a new concrete printer which is expected to be delivered around September 2017.