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Purdue University Develops 3D Printed Cement Paste
The Paste Gets Stronger Under Pressure

Purdue University Develops 3D Printed Cement Paste

Purdue's work was funded by the National Science Foundation with a $246,000 grant to further the research.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a 3D-printed cement paste that actually gets tougher under pressure. The idea was derived from the toughening capabilities of shells found on arthropods, such as lobsters and beetles.

In an article found on, Jan Olek, a professor in Purdue's Lyles School of Civil Engineering, states, "Nature has to deal with weaknesses to survive, so we are using the 'built-in' weaknesses of cement-based materials to increase their toughness."

The aforementioned article mentions that Purdue is the first institution to use 3D printing in order to create bio-inspired "structures using cement paste..." Future implementation of this technology could be used in buildings and other elements of infrastructure that are subject to stressors, such as weather or traffic.

Reportedly, the researchers first conceptualized this idea by studying the mantis shrimp, which uses a club-like appendage that grows stronger on impact.

Several of the designs already fabricated by the team include the "honeycomb," "compliant" and "Bouligand" designs, called "architectures."

"Each of these architectures allowed for new behaviors in a 3D-printed element once hardened. The Bouligand architecture, for example, takes advantage of weak interfaces to make a material more crack-resistant, whereas the compliant architecture makes cement-based elements act like a spring, even though they are made of brittle material," states the article.

A video of the 3D-printing process can be seen on the Purdue Concrete 3D Printing Team's YouTube page HERE.

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October 15, 2019, 10:27 pm PDT

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