Introducing the Shell Wall system, a new type of 3D concrete printing (3DCP) technology that promises to revolutionize the construction industry.
Traditionally, 3DCP involves a robot-operated extruder nozzle that constructs walls one horizontal layer at a time, resulting in a rigid and heavy structure. However, the Shell Wall system, developed by Dr. Mania Aghaei Meibodi and her team at the University of Michigan’s DART Laboratory, offers a more efficient approach.
By using less concrete, the Shell Wall system creates walls that are a remarkable 72% lighter than their conventional counterparts. Unlike traditional 3DCP, which limits architectural designs to simple shapes, the Shell Wall system allows for more intricate and customized features.
At a Shell Wall building site, an extruder nozzle moves in straight lines parallel to the ground, creating molds for walls. The hollow centers of these molds are then filled with rebar and concrete, resulting in strong and durable walls.
The process begins with the creation of a computer model of the structure, which determines the minimum amount of material needed to provide the necessary strength to each part of the building. This means that no excess materials are included in the construction process.
Using this model as a guide, the print nozzle creates layered wall elements made up of curved vertical structural ribs and thinner curved membranes spanning the spaces between them. The concrete layers are deposited in a non-planar fashion, resulting in walls that don’t necessarily run parallel to the ground. As each element is built, vertical sections of rebar are inserted inside the hollow ribs, and thermal insulation is placed inside the hollow membranes.
In summary, the Shell Wall system offers a new and efficient approach to construction that minimizes waste and maximizes strength. The system employs a unique approach to construction that is both efficient and eco-friendly.