Material Sciences

Title :

Advanced Cementitious Composites for 3D printing

Area of research :

Engineering Sciences, Material Sciences

Focus area :

Cementitious Composites for 3D printing

Principal Investigator :

Dr P.S. Ambily, Scientist, CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre (CSIR-SERC), Chennai

Timeline Start Year :


Timeline End Year :


Contact info :


Executive Summary :

Objective: Construction industry is one of the largest industries in the world economy. Due to poor productivity, construction has suffered for decades and it is mainly because construction remains largely manual. It is facing a number of serious problems such as quality control at the sites, skilled labour, high accident rates during construction etc. 3D printing has become one of the fastest emerging technologies in the world which combines digital technology to allow free-form construction without the use of formwork-which typically accounts for 40% of the total budget. This field of research is still in its infancy in India due to lack of in-house expertise, cost of the equipment and difficulty in scaling operations

Summary: 3D printing is an emerging technology which is gaining more popularity and is in nascent stage in India when compared to various developed economies across Europe and America. It can be primarily attributed to the cost of printers. However, the future holds lot of promise in India with the price of printers falling down. Right from manufacturing to healthcare, 3D printing is being adopted across different industries in India. Also Indian government started supporting 3D Printing technology in a big way from 2015 onwards. Since, 3D printing process impacts on the quality, speed of production and cost; it is very important to see the value proposition of the product. The benefits of construction 3D printing are automation, waste minimization, reduced labour, formwork saving etc. While the interest on 3D printing is growing rapidly, however, there are still some concerns about the properties of 3D printed objects, as the manufacturing process is different from the conventional method. Considering global demand to reduce CO2 emission, there is a need for innovative construction technologies to not only pave the way towards a future of sustainable construction, but also to reduce construction and facilities management costs while providing a competitive edge. 3D printing can offer many advantages, hence the need to eradicate conventional methods completely may not be mandatory. The future of construction is most likely to be an integrated process that allows societies to take advantage of both conventional and 3D printing technologies at the same time. In future construction 3D printing is going to become a game changing technology which will allow for mass customization and complex shapes that cannot be produced in other ways, eliminates the need for tool production and its associated labor, and reduces waste stream. Developing material for 3D printing process is a challenging task. The main challenge is to develop appropriate material that can be extruded continuously and stacked up over one another without causing any deformation in the bottom bead layers. The present project aims at developing a 3D printer for concrete by exploring different approaches and developing sustainable cementitious composites suitable for printing.

Organizations involved