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Marines 3D-print concrete huts in just 40 hours

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Marine Corps 3D print of 500 square meters concrete barrack

The marine Corps, Army, and Navy Seabees teamed up to 3D print a concrete barrack in just 40 hours.

Marines have a specialized 3D concrete printer for the printing of a 500-square-meter barracks room in just 40 hours.

The innovative project created the world’s first continuous 3D-printed concrete barracks, according to the marine Corps.

The barracks room was built earlier this month in the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois. The army and Navy Seabees were also involved in the construction effort.

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The use of the world’s largest concrete printer, the Additive Manufacturing Team at Marine Corps Systems Command together with the Marines of the I Marine Expeditionary Force.

The largest concrete 3D printer builds a 500-square-meter barracks hut at the U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in mid-August, in Champaign, Illinois. (U. S. Marine Corps courtesy photo)

“This exercise had never been done before,” said Captain Matthew Friedell, Additive Manufacturing project officer at MCSC Activities and Programs/G-3, in a statement. “People have printed buildings and large structures, but they have not done the grounds and all at the same time. This is the first-in-the-world, on-the-spot continuous concrete printing.”

With the help of Computer Aided Design software on a 10 year old computer, the concrete was pushed through a printhead and layered repeatedly to build the walls of the barracks. Friedell said that the job took 40 hours as the Marines were carefully monitoring the project and continually filling the printer with concrete. However, if a robot was used for the mixing and pumping of the building can be built in 24 hours, he added.

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Normally, it takes 10 Marines five days for the construction of a barracks hut made of wood.

Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Force monitor of the computer while the world’s largest concrete 3D printer builds a 500-square-meter barracks hut at the U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois. (U. S. Marine Corps Courtesy Photo)

Against this background, the construction technology can help the U.S. military personnel safe.

“In active or simulated combat environments, we do not want the Marines out there swinging the hammers and the keeping of plywood,” said Friedell. “Having a concrete printer that can make the buildings on the question is a huge advantage for Marines operation of the range.”

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More testing will now be done on the Marines’ new barracks-building technology.

Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Force learn how to operate in the world’s largest concrete 3D printer builds a 500-square-meter barracks hut at the U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois. (U. S. Marine Corps Courtesy Photo)

The construction industry wants the power of 3D printing. Last year, for example, experts of the technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands produced the world’s first 3D-printed reinforced, prestressed concrete bridge. The bridge is part of a new road around the village of Gemert in the south of Holland.

One of the great advantages of 3D printed concrete is that much less concrete is required in comparison with the traditional technique of filling a mold with concrete, according to the experts of the technical University of Eindhoven. “By contrast, the printer deposits only the concrete where it is needed, decreasing the use of cement,” they said, in a statement. “This reduces the CO2-emissions, such as the production of cement has a very high ecological footprint.”

In 2015, 3D printing was used in the construction of a five storey apartment complex and an 11,840 square foot villa in Suzhou, China.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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