Publications / 2017 Proceedings of the 34rd ISARC, Taipei, Taiwan

Applications of Additive Manufacturing in the Construction Industry – A Prospective Review

Daniel Delgado Camacho, Patricia Clayton, William O'Brien, Raissa Ferron, Maria Juenger, Salvatore Salamone and Carolyn Seepersad
Pages 246-253 (2017 Proceedings of the 34rd ISARC, Taipei, Taiwan, ISBN 978-80-263-1371-7, ISSN 2413-5844)

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, produces components by building-up structures from small deposits of materials. Industries such as aerospace, automotive, and healthcare have started using AM for significant applications. Following these advances, there are several experimental applications of 3D printing in the construction sector. Early applications suggest that use of AM technologies for construction have the potential to decrease labor costs, reduce material waste, and create customized complex geometries that are difficult to achieve using conventional construction techniques. However, these initial experiments do not cover the full range of potential applications for construction or exploit the rapidly maturing AM technologies for a variety of material types. This paper provides an up-to-date review of AM, identifies potential construction applications and related benefits and challenges. Potential construction applications include multi-material deposition (e.g., use of high-performance materials only in areas where they are needed), in-situ repair in locations that are difficult or dangerous for humans to access, disaster relief construction in areas with limited construction workforce and material resources, structural and non-structural elements with optimized topologies, and customized parts of high value. AM’s future in the construction industry is promising, but interdisciplinary research is still needed to provide new materials, new processes, higher deposition rates, quality assurance, and data on mechanical properties before AM can realize its potential.

Keywords: Additive Manufacturing, Construction Industry, 3D Printing