Benay Gürsoy, an assistant professor of architecture, received nearly $50,000 for an innovative concrete 3D printing research. She has been awarded the Stuckeman School’s Collaborative Design Research Fund for 2023-24, which promotes collaboration in design innovation. Gürsoy aims to overcome the difficulties of 3D printing concrete structures on indefinite surfaces in order to reduce the environmental impact of housing construction.
Gürsoy, the director of the Form and Matter (ForMat) Lab in the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing (SCDC), leads a team of faculty and student researchers from the Stuckeman School of Arts and Architecture and the College of Engineering on the project.
Concrete 3D Printing research
Although robotic arms provide precision and control during the fabrication of concrete structures, they are limited in their ability to sense the environment and respond accordingly. In her proposal, Gürsoy’s ForMat Lab team will scan and digitally reconstruct the robot’s work environment in small-scale robotic fabrication applications before applying it to large-scale concrete 3D printing workflows in collaboration with the Additive Construction Lab (AddConLab) and the Control and Autonomous Robotics Lab (CARL). The team will use a system developed as part of his doctoral research by zgüç apunaman, a ForMat Lab researcher and architectural doctoral candidate.
The project, titled “A Vision-Based Sensing Framework for Adaptive Robotic Additive Manufacturing of Concrete on Indefinite Surfaces and Real-Time Monitoring of the 3D Printing Process,” is also part of Paniz Farrokhsiar’s architecture doctoral research at ForMat Lab and AddConLab. It is an extension of her master’s thesis research, which she completed in 2020 under the supervision of Gürsoy.
“Concrete is one of the most widely used construction materials globally and contributes up to 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. By 3D printing concrete, we can reduce construction time and waste, which is more sustainable than conventional practices. However, the 3D-printing process brings about critical challenges that affect the structural stability and the quality of the 3D-printed concrete structures.”– Paniz Farrokhsiar, a ForMat Lab and AddConLab member
According to the researchers, the developed system will enable precise digital reconstruction and registration of the work environment prior to robotic tooling operations; 3D printing concrete on indefinite surfaces; real-time monitoring of the 3D-printing process; real-time adjusting of the system to correct errors; and formwork-less 3D printing. This system contributes to AddCon Lab’s ongoing effort to create methods for automatically monitoring and controlling the concrete printing process.
The following Penn State faculty members are co-principal investigators on the project: José Pinto Duarte, director of the SCDC and Stuckeman Chair in Design Innovation; Sven Bilén, professor of engineering design, electrical engineering, and aerospace engineering; and Donald Ebeigbe, assistant professor of electrical engineering and CARL director in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Shadi Nazarian, a co-principal investigator and former associate research professor of architecture in the Stuckeman School, is now the H. Ralph Hawkins, FAIA, Chair in Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs.
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