Printing Architecture: an overview of existing and promising additive manufacturing methods and their application in the building industry

R.N.P. van Woensel, T. van Oirschot, M.J.H. Burgmans, M. Mohammadi, K. Hermans

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Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an emerging technology, already used in different fields. The ability to create complex, large-scale components without expensive molds and much labor makes it an interesting technology. However, the application in building construction is still in its research and development phase. This article will therefore compare and explain the state-of-the-art AM methods and investigate their possibilities in the building industry. After conducting a literature study, a distinction can be made between larger-scale and smaller-scale AM methods. The large-scale methods have been developed mostly for load-bearing prefab components and on-site building construction. Smaller-scale methods with a smaller layer thickness have proven to be effective at printing detailed and complex building components and objects such as façade elements and joints. These methods are, however, often limited in their materials, requiring further development. In the near future, AM is expected to complement existing building construction techniques by making objects otherwise more difficult or inefficient to create. These include, for example, double-curved walls/components, structural elements that have been designed by topological optimization, and functionally graded materials. In the future, AM could possibly be used as a full on-site building construction technique, printing entire buildings that suit our functional requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-81
Number of pages23
JournalThe International Journal of the Constructed Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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