Mechanical behaviour and durability aspects of concrete elements with 3D-printed moulds


  • Michiel Bekaert 
  • Kim Van Tittelboom (supervisor)
  • Geert De Schutter (supervisor)


In the construction industry, automated or industrialized production is a major point of attention nowadays. Even while the construction industry is considered to be more conservative than other industries, it is expected that automated production can invoke a rather disruptive change in the coming decade. On the internet, several pilot cases of 3D-printed concrete structures can be found. These are mostly prestige projects in which the structural and durable behaviour are still an open question. This problem discourages smaller contractors to use the new building technologies. Therefore, the middle ground is explored between the use printing and conventional concrete.

The main advantage of using the 3D printing technique in the production of concrete elements includes the fact that the time-consuming moulding of customized elements with complex geometries is no longer required. A golden solution would be to print the outlines of the structure and fill the inner parts of the construction with cast concrete. This solution creates a construction which contains a higher degree of freedom and a known structural core. This would lower the threshold to apply the technique in the industry. Therefore, the aim of this project is to realize concrete elements by printing the mould in mortar and to fill this mould subsequently with traditional concrete.

Although the structural and durable behaviour of the core material is known, this is not the case for the printed material. The use of a printed mortar as a formwork material brings questions related to the structural behaviour of the formwork during several construction phases. Not only the structural, but the durable aspect of the construction have to be investigated too. By performing material and structural tests, the behaviour of the combined structure is unravelled. Based on the results, helpful advice can be given to easily apply the method in the industry.

3D Printed Concrete elements

3D Printed Concrete elements


BBRI logo