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Posts Tagged ‘concrete’

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Photo: Houben/Van Mierlo architecten
New homes in the Netherlands are being created with a 3-D printer. 

Now for something completely different: how those creative Dutch are using 3-D printers to create homes.

Gianluca Mezzofiore reports at CNN, “Living in a community of 3D-printed homes will soon be reality in the Dutch city of Eindhoven.

“In what is considered a world first, a single-floor, three-room house made of 3D-printed concrete will be ready for occupation in 2019. More than 20 people have already registered their interest in the house since Dutch construction company Van Wijnen announced the project. …

” ‘We need a technical revolution in the constructing area to respond to the shortage of skilled bricklayers in the Netherlands and all over the world,’ Rudy van Gurp, a manager at Van Wijnen, told CNN. ‘3D printing makes things quicker, better, cheaper and more sustainable by using less material. It also fosters creativity and freedom in the design.’

“Working along with the Eindhoven University of Technology, the construction firm is printing a special type of concrete for the house’s exterior and inner walls by adding layer upon layer.

In laying concrete only where it is needed, the amount of cement being used is significantly lower, which helps cut down on costs and environmentally destructive carbon-dioxide emissions. Van Gurp estimates that 3D-printed walls of the new houses will be 5 centimeters thick, while normally they would be about 10 to 15 centimeters. …

“At the moment, research costs and regulation restraints outweigh the benefits of 3D houses, but we may see mass production of these in the next few years, van Gurp said.”

For more pictures and details, go to CNN, here.

Photo: Houben/Van Mierlo architecten
A 3-D printer lays down layer upon layer of concrete for a new home.

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Who can resist a playful idea, especially one that comes from civil engineers, a cohort perhaps given too little credit for creativity.

Corey Kilgannon writes in the NY Times, that a beloved pastime among civil engineers is racing concrete canoes.

“It might sound like an idea that would go over like the proverbial lead balloon, but in September, a group of engineering students at City College of New York began meeting and devising a way to build a concrete canoe.

“ ‘When I heard that, my response was like: “What? A boat made of concrete?” ‘ said Dr. Friso Postma, an expert paddler from Brooklyn, who had not heard of such a thing until he was asked to coach the team this spring, once the canoe was finished.

“Team members reassured him that while they were building the canoe over the winter, in a workshop at City College, they had made certain that the vessel would float. After all, they told Mr. Postma, the primary rule in concrete canoe competitions — yes, there are such events — is paddling a boat that does not sink.

“They also told him that concrete canoeing has a rich tradition among civil engineers, and at City College, whose teams go back to at least the 1970s.

“ ‘It’s a huge thing within the civil engineering program,’ said Juan-Carlos Quintana, 29, a team member. ‘We take it very seriously.’ ”

More here.

Photo: Kirsten Luce for the New York Times
Esther Dornhelm, left, and Fidan Mamedova practice at Paerdegat Basin in Brooklyn for this weekend’s national concrete canoe championships.

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The concrete that the ancient Romans created is so durable that it may hold lessons for those who want to reduce carbon emissions.

Paul Preuss, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, explains.

“The chemical secrets of a concrete Roman breakwater that has spent the last 2,000 years submerged in the Mediterranean Sea have been uncovered by an international team of researchers led by Paulo Monteiro of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Analysis of samples provided by team member Marie Jackson pinpointed why the best Roman concrete was superior to most modern concrete in durability, why its manufacture was less environmentally damaging – and how these improvements could be adopted in the modern world.

“ ‘It’s not that modern concrete isn’t good – it’s so good we use 19 billion tons of it a year,’ says Monteiro. ‘The problem is that manufacturing Portland cement accounts for seven percent of the carbon dioxide that industry puts into the air.’ …

“The Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, lime and volcanic ash were mixed to form mortar, and this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms. The seawater instantly triggered a hot chemical reaction. The lime was hydrated – incorporating water molecules into its structure – and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together.”

Apparently the key ingredients are found all over the world, enough to make a big difference in construction — and carbon emissions.

There’s more at the Berkeley Lab site for readers who can follow a technical explanation.

Photo: Berkeley Lab

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