WASP was born with the dream of printing houses with 100% natural materials, but wisdom teaches that extremism is never a good thing. While trying to find a way to print houses with natural materials and at zero km, there is an urge to plunge into the routine and make a contribution now. And this is when WASP project begins its challenge with materials taboos, such as Co2 generators. Concrete is bad for the planet. A ton of cement generates a ton of Co2, but with 3D printing you can cut down more than 50% of pollution. These are mind-boggling numbers, which can be reached only because we can create programmed infills, otherwise, with the normal techniques it would be unthinkable to create hollow systems. A WASP printer was sent to an Italian Institute of excellence where concrete mortars are studied. Domenico Asprone and some friends of the University Federico II of Naples started using a 4 meters BIGDELTA WASP.
With this mega printer, WASP researchers have developed a system to produce concrete elements that can be assembled with steel bars and beams or can compose pillars in reinforced concrete. The research is being carried on at the CeSMA service centre (Advanced methodological Services Centre) of the University of Naples and it involves the Stress Consortium (the high-tech district of the Campania region on sustainable buildings) and the University of Pavia.
As Domenico Asprone stated to the Ansa agency "this new technology promises to streamline the forms and save material, thus lightening the reinforced concrete elements and reducing costs and environmental impacts. The possibility to obtain complex shapes then, paves the way to new uses of reinforced concrete beyond the conventional ones, with aesthetic properties and design."
"The 3D printing," Marco Iuorio from Stress Consortium explains "allows you to create curved, hollow elements, or with special features that would normally require complicated wooden shapes (moulds) for fresh concrete, with a considerable cost increase".
In the laboratories of the Department of engineering Structures and architecture, a test will be performed on the first beam, of about 3 meters long. The test will also check the mechanical performance of the new reinforced concrete elements. Moreover, the experiments of new assembly systems based on the prestressing technology will continue.
Thanks to these new technologies we could say we are moving towards the House of the future. But why should we set some limits? One day we will also be able to print more complex structures, such as bridges. And there will be broader space for creativity.
Source and top image: WASP
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: 3D Printing Europe 2020 on 13 - 14 May 2020 at Estrel Convention Center, Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.