The field of construction has seen some of its biggest jumps in recent years with the innovation of 3D printing. Now FIU has received over $3 million from the Army Corps of Engineers to 3D print ultra-high performance concrete.
Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is seen as a truly superior counterpart to traditional concrete. The material is predicted to become essential to the construction industry in the near future, said Atorod Azizinamini, Director of Infrastructure Research and Innovation at the Office of Research & Economic Development and Professor of Civil Engineering at the FIU College of Engineering & Computing.
UHPC will provide plenty of upsides according to its proponents, such as being very difficult for water to penetrate, making UHPC a solid preventer of corrosion. “The idea of having really high-quality concrete is that you increase the time it takes for chloride in water to penetrate the concrete and reach the steel,” said Kingsley Lau, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and co-principal investigator of the grant.
The more than obvious upsides in this new innovation has sparked the interest of the Army Corps of Engineers. This will allow FIU to research the technology and come up with recommendations for three types of 3D printing: printing layers, spraying layers and a new extrusion type of printing that FIU is patenting. Having a specific "ingredient list” for UHPC also will help with the fact that concrete is often locally sourced and its chemical composition can change from place to place.
Members of Congress supported the grant, and plenty involved in the process are excited to see how the research will unfold.
"This is an important investment by the Army Corps towards Florida International University, which will help maintain our defense readiness while further advancing innovation and creating jobs for our workforce in Florida," said U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL).