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Use of polymer concrete for large-scale 3D printing

Martin Krčma (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)
David Škaroupka (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)
Petr Vosynek (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)
Tomáš Zikmund (Central European Institute of Technology, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)
Jozef Kaiser (Central European Institute of Technology, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)
David Palousek (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, Brno, Czech Republic)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 27 February 2021

Issue publication date: 2 April 2021

513

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to focus on the evaluation of a polymer concrete as a three-dimensional (3D) printing material. An associated company has developed plastic concrete made from reused unrecyclable plastic waste. Its intended use is as a construction material.

Design/methodology/approach

The concrete mix, called PolyBet, composed of polypropylene and glass sand, is printed by the fused deposition modelling process. The process of material and parameter selection is described. The mechanical properties of the filled material were compared to its cast state. Samples were made from castings and two different orientations of 3D-printed parts. Three-point flex tests were carried out, and the area of the break was examined. Computed tomography of the samples was carried out.

Findings

The influence of the 3D printing process on the material was evaluated. The mechanical performance of the longitudinal samples was close to the cast state. There was a difference in the failure mode between the states, with cast parts exhibiting a tougher behaviour, with fractures propagating in a stair-like manner. The 3D-printed samples exhibited high degrees of porosity.

Originality/value

The results suggest that the novel material is a good fit for 3D printing, with little to no degradation caused by the process. Layer adhesion was shown to be excellent, with negligible effect on the finished part for the longitudinal orientation. That means, if large-scale testing of buildability is successful, the material is a good fit for additive manufacturing of building components and other large-scale structures.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was carried out in cooperation between Faculty of mechanical engineering BUT and VIA ALTA a.s. company supported by grant TJ01000354 and internal faculty project FSI-S-17-4144. TZ and JK thank to MEYS CR projects CEITEC 2020 (LQ1601) under the National Sustainability Programme II and CzechNanoLab Research Infrastructure (LM2018110).

Citation

Krčma, M., Škaroupka, D., Vosynek, P., Zikmund, T., Kaiser, J. and Palousek, D. (2021), "Use of polymer concrete for large-scale 3D printing", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 465-474. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-12-2019-0316

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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