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3D printing of geopolymer-based concrete for building applications

Asif Ur Rehman (Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)
Vincenzo M. Sglavo (Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 23 September 2020

Issue publication date: 28 November 2020




Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology allows geometric complexity and customization with a significant reduction in the structural environmental impact. Nevertheless, it poses a serious threat to the environment when organic binders are used. Binder jet printing of alkali-activated geopolymer precursor can represent a successful and environmental-friendly alternative.


The present work reports about the successful 3D printing of metakaolin-based alkali-activated concrete, with dimensional integrity and valuable mechanical behavior.


The geometric behavior was studied as a function of alkali activator flow rate, and the minimum geometric deviation with complete saturation was recorded at 103 mg/s. The printed specimen is characterized by a modulus of rupture as high as 4.4 MPa at 135 mg/s.

Practical implications

The 3D printed geopolymer-based concrete can be potentially used in a wide range of structural applications from construction to thermal insulation elements.


The analysis of the 3D geopolymer-based concrete printing system and material conducted in this paper is original.



This research work was supported by grants from the Department of Industrial Engineering at The University of Trento, Italy. The support provided is gratefully acknowledged.


Ur Rehman, A. and Sglavo, V.M. (2020), "3D printing of geopolymer-based concrete for building applications", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 26 No. 10, pp. 1783-1788.



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