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3D concrete printing has received widespread attention and been developed for an increasing number of applications. However, a major challenge facing this technology is an effective way to introduce reinforcement into continuously deposited cementitious material. In this study, different layers of steel wire meshes (SWM) are employed to reinforce the 3D printed structures to improve mechanical capacities. Both destructive (bending, compression and splitting) and non-destructive (using electro-mechanical impedance) tests are employed to characterize the impact of this reinforcement method. The damage accumulation process is measured through the smart PZT patches based on the electro-mechanical impedance method. The results indicate that reinforced 3D-printed components with SWM change their failure modes from brittle to ductile. The peak loads are increased by 59.2–173.3% and the deflection capacity can be increased by more than 11 times than the non-reinforced one. Different mechanical responses of print and cast samples under compression are studied. The splitting tensile strength of wire mesh reinforced concrete is also measured, which is 43.7% higher than the non-reinforced sample. The calculating methods of the cracking moment and ultimate moment of steel wire mesh reinforced 3D printed concrete are presented. Comparison between the calculated and the experimental results verifies the effectiveness in predicting the ultimate moment. Experimental results show that it is feasible and effective to employ steel wire mesh for strength and toughness enhancement of 3D printed structures.
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