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RYC Peer-to-Peer webinar: 3D Printing and Nanotechnology for Sustainable Construction

The next Peer-to-Peer webinar will take place on Tuesday July 26th, 2022 at 4PM Sydney Time (8AM Paris Time) and will be one hour long (2*20 minutes presentations + 10-minute interaction). The registration for this webinar is free.

Theme of the Peer-to-Peer Webinar: 3D Printing and Nanotechnology for Sustainable Construction


Speaker 1: Dr Shujian Chen, Lecturer, University of Queensland

Title: From the flea’s legs to damage tolerant building materials

The use of brittle construction materials can be traced back more than 4000 years ago. Modern construction today also heavily relies on brittle materials, such as concrete, cement, mineral aggregates, bricks and ceramics. Being brittle means buildings and structures can fail suddenly with only a tiny amount of damage, which is a persisting problem that troubles engineers.

In the last six decades, nature has been found to provide excellent solutions to the brittleness of materials. People discovered that living species follow special patterns when building their shells, scales, or bones. These patterns are called “design motifs,” making natural structural materials very robust and damage tolerant.

To date, people have discovered 8 effective design motifs from over 7 million living species in nature. The talk will introduce a new design motif found in the flea’s legs (recently published in Nature Communications 2022, 13 (1), 1289). This new design motif is the only design motif discovered so far that can significantly enhance the material damage tolerance under compression, which is the common use case of brittle materials in construction.

By combining 3D printing, nanoscience and artificial intelligence, new materials inspired by the flea’s legs can be designed and fabricated using cement. These materials are not only ~200% stronger than their traditional counterparts but also extremely damage tolerant. This discovery can significantly reduce cement and energy consumption in buildings while making them safer.

Speaker 2:  Arun R. Arunothayan, PhD Candidate, Swinburne University of Technology

Title:  3D Printing of Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Digital Construction Applications

Construction automation techniques such as 3D concrete printing (3DCP) allow us to build structures with complex geometries by eliminating the use of conventional formworks. The ‘freeform’ construction techniques drive down cost and construction waste while increasing the construction speed and safety. However, the current progress of 3DCP is hampered by the limited range of printable concretes and reinforcing methods. Further, the available printable concretes do not provide structurally viable design solutions to the prospects of architectural intricacy that 3DCP has on offer. To address these problems, we developed 3D printable ultra-high performance concrete composites (3DP-UHPC). These composites will possess very high compressive strength (>150 MPa) and flexural strength (>30 MPa) in conjunction with deflection-hardening behaviour, and fracture toughness, which will reduce the reliance on conventional steel reinforcements in 3DCP. The high strength of 3DP-UHPC enables size efficiency in 3D printed structures. The systematic development of 3DP-UHPC and its applications in structures with complex geometries are presented.

Tuesday 26 July 2022
16h00 - 17h00 (GMT+10)
The event is organized online


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Tuesday 26 July 2022
16h00 - 17h00 (GMT+10)
The event is organized online
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