Brunel University London has launched a new project to develop printed bricks from construction waste.
Engineers behind the three-year DigiMat project hope to develop an eco-friendly cement mix, created from construction waste, that can be easily printed into new, tight, interlocking bricks for use in new buildings.
Project lead Dr Seyed Ghaffar – who heads the Additive Manufacturing Technology in Construction (AMTC) research group – said: “Demonstration projects built over the past few years have shown both the viability and potentials of 3D printing technologies; however, these projects have used conventional raw materials in their concrete feedstock.
“The use of recycled waste driven secondary raw materials to replace virgin aggregates for 3D printing of a building block has not yet been done, but we hope to demonstrate it with this project.”
The goal of the DigiMat project is to reduce the construction industry’s reliance on cement by offering a clean and affordable solution that reuses materials recycled from other buildings.
The engineers behind the project are looking to demonstrate their technology by printing a series of 50cm x 50cm recycled bricks, which will be slotted together to form an interlocked wall – akin to large-scale lego.
Dr Ghaffar said:“Nearly half of all materials extracted from Earth annually are used in concrete, and extraction of construction virgin aggregates is the main part of the global non-metallic mineral consumption.
“Our objective is to decrease the CO2 footprint of printed products against traditional virgin concrete and cementitious mortars through the development of printable mixtures that will use up to 100% recycled aggregates.”
Image: A man carries away construction waste in bags. Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock
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