Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have pioneered ground-breaking 3D printing construction materials and processes that could reduce the building industry’s carbon emissions as part of a multilateral project (Acronym 3D Printing).
For carbon sequestration, the IISc Centre for Sustainable Technologies used 3D printable material formulations made from industrial by-products such as construction and demolition waste (CDW), blast furnace slag, and fly ash. These formulations have the potential to be used in the manufacture of walls, slabs, and other building components.
Cement Industry in India
According to the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the developed material can store 35% to 40% of CO2 by mass of cement using an optimised process of accelerated carbonation curing.
“The exact percentage depends on factors such as density, curing conditions, and mixture formulation. An additional benefit is the formation of small crystals of carbonate minerals during the sequestration process, which enhances the engineering performance of the material.”– Department of Science and Technology
The cement and brick manufacturing sectors in India emit an astounding 200 to 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, a challenge that is becoming increasingly pressing as the country commits to achieving net-zero emissions.
Two critical goals
According to DST, “The mission to realise sustainable, low-carbon construction depends on two critical goals: reducing the reliance on mined resources and curbing the CO2 emissions inherent in material production, known as embodied carbon. At the forefront of this innovative endeavour lies the concept of accelerated carbonation curing. This process leverages CO2-rich industrial flue gases to mineralize carbonates within construction materials, creating a stable and permanent means of CO2 storage.”
This advancement in 3D printed construction materials has the potential to be a long-term substitute, capable of replacing up to 75% of natural sand in cement-based construction materials.
According to DST, this innovation provides a path to reduce reliance on energy-intensive steam curing while also minimising the extraction of mined resources such as natural aggregates and Portland cement.
3D Printing Construction Materials Partnerships in India
Last year, Manufactur3D reported about a high-profile partnership between India Cements and Tvasta, a construction 3D printing Startup, to work on developing new materials among other things. Similar initiative was also taken up by IIT Bombay when it bought a concrete 3D printer for its SEMT Lab under the department of Civil Engineering. This lab will be using the printer for research purposes by its faculty and students to develop compatible and sustainable materials to improve the gains from the technology.
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