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Additive manufacturing technology in construction

Additive manufacturing (AM) of construction materials has been one of the emerging advanced technologies that aim to minimise the supply chain in the construction industry through autonomous production of building components directly from digital models without human intervention and complicated formworks. However, technical challenges need to be addressed for the industrial implementation of AM, e.g. materials formulation standardization, and interfacial bonding quality between the deposited layers amongst others.

This project will work on addressing the aforementioned challenges. Ongoing research actions are currently aimed towards partly replacing ordinary Portland cement (OPC) with industrial by-products. However, the AMTC project targets the development of eco-friendly cementitious mix formulations reinforced with commercially available additives and agricultural waste to achieve structural load-bearing building blocks produced by AM technology.

There are crucial links between the material design formulations and the printing system for the manufacturing of complex 3D geometries. AM uses a combination of materials science, architecture and design, computation, and robotics.

This project considers the market uptake perspectives, human safety, and the risk of environmental contamination, in light of events such as pandemic and natural disasters rapid shelter or quarantine provision without the intervention of humans, done by robots/3D printers on sites has huge potential.


  • 1) The influence of nano-additives in strengthening mechanical performance of 3D printed multi-binder geopolymer composites (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2020.118928)
  • 2) Effective extrusion-based 3D printing system design for cementitious-based materials (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rineng.2020.100135)
  • 3) 3D printing set to transform the construction industry (https://doi.org/10.1680/jstbu.18.00136)
  • 4) Additive manufacturing technology and its implementation in construction as an eco-innovative solution (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2018.05.005)
  • 5) Construction 4.0: An Innovation Platform for the Built Environment: The potential for additive manufacturing to transform the construction industry (https://doi.org/10.1201/9780429398100)
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Graphene-based additive material
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Nano-clay additive material
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Fibre additive material
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Stages of AMTC project activities and project milestones
3D printing of cementitious composite

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Seyed Ghaffar - Dr Seyed Ghaffar is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Civil Engineering. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng, MICE), a Member of the Institute of Concrete Technology (MICT) and a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He is the leader of Additive Manufacturing Technology in Construction Research Group (AMTC). The focus of AMTC is on valorising construction and demolition waste using materials science and 3D printing to achieve the circular economy goals of sustainable construction. Dr Ghaffar, as the Principal Investigator, has been successful in securing a €220K project funded by the H2020 EU Commission on ''Digital fabrication and integration of Material reuse for environmentally friendly cementitious composite building blocks (DigiMat)' 2021-2023. Dr Ghaffar is the Principal Investigator of a £300K project funded by the British Council (Institutional Links) on 'Direct Writing of Cementitious Inks to Scaffolds with Complex Microarchitectures (DiWoCIS)' 2020-2022. He is also the Principal Investigator of a £300K project funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on 'High-Performance Compressed Straw Board (HP-CSB): A New Generation of Building Materials' 2018-2022. Dr Ghaffar's research covers a number of construction materials, with a focus on the development of low carbon technologies suitable for new and retrofitting applications by combining materials sciences and innovative technologies. Dr Ghaffar is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Results in Engineering (Elsevier) and the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Structures and Buildings (ICE Publishing).   During his PhD (2012-2016), Dr Ghaffar was simultaneously working as a research associate on several European research projects, i.e. Grow2Build, VIP4ALL, REWOBIOREF and GELCLAD. Natural fibre composite production, formulation and characterisation are part of Dr Ghaffar's research expertise. In 2015, he was appointed Manager of Grow2Build European Centre of Excellence (Grow2Build), which serves as a permanent focal point for local manufacturers, industries and research centres interested in bio-based building products, providing technical support and innovation for utilisation of bio-based products in the construction industry. Moreover, construction waste management and valorisation (WasteValue) is another of Dr Ghaffar's research interests. This research aims to study the feasibility of the circular economy (cradle to cradle) management of waste and the environmental sustainability of the systems in construction. WasteValue evaluates and analyses current technologies and strategies concerning construction and demolition waste management in the UK.

Related Research Group(s)

Resilient Structures and Construction Materials

Resilient Structures and Construction Materials - RIMS research group brings together material scientists and structural engineers to deliver resilient infrastructure (buildings, bridges etc.) made of sustainable, advanced materials to perform under harsh natural environment and human-induced hazards.

Project last modified 05/01/2021