Optimizing topology and numerical modeling can greatly increase the thermal properties of 3D-printed concrete, particularly when used with other energy-efficient technologies, according to a new study. Samudrapom Dam explores the study and its ramifications for 3D-printed enclosing structures.





Additive manufacturing or 3D printing, characterized by a low-cost and fast building process, is increasingly gaining prominence in the construction industry. Additive manufacturing has become a common technique to create entire devices or parts, as it allows for rapid prototyping and on-demand manufacturing.

The integration of 3D printed concrete (3DPC) technology with a modular building system can provide sustainable solutions to the current construction challenges. 3DPC technology can increase thermal comfort and decrease energy consumption in a room when integrated and hybridized with other energy-efficient technologies.

Topology optimization can be used to adjust the 3DPC thermal resistance characteristics. For instance, cavities can be introduced in areas requiring low thermal conductivity to improve the insulation properties. However, assessing the energy efficiency and topology optimization of the enclosed structures is necessary using numerical modeling.


The Study

In this study, researchers investigated the energy efficiency and suitability of 3D-printed enclosing structures and determined the optimal configuration to obtain enclosing structures with the most suitable thermal characteristics. The thermal resistance coefficient of 3D printed structures was evaluated. A mathematical model was created to describe the mass and heat transfer process, and the proposed model was validated by comparing the model with experimental results.

Mathematical modeling can determine the heat transfer resistance as it can accurately estimate integral characteristics, such as average surface heat flux, compared to an experiment where these values are determined only at monitoring points.

Multiple enclosed structures were selected for the numerical study. The internal structure of cavities of these structures differed from each other. However, all structures were similar in terms of form factor. The linear dimensions were the same for all structures, excluding the structure depth.