Method for the Enhancement of Buildability and Bending Resistance of 3D Printable Tailing Mortar

Zhijian Li, Li Wang, Guowei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


The innovative 3D printing has been successfully applied to layeredly build-up construction-scale structures through the extrusion of various cementitious materials. Favourable buildability of fresh cement mixture and the hardened properties of the printed structures are essential requirement for the application of 3D concrete printing. This paper firstly proposed a 3D printable cement mixture containing 40% mining tailings. The influence of paste age on the buildability of forty-layer structure was evaluated, as well as the bending resistance of prism specimen sawed from the printed structure. The bonding between layers is a critical factor that influences the structural capacity. In particular, the weak bonding interface formed in the layered extrusion process was identified through high-resolution X-ray CT scanning. It is necessary and desirable for the cement paste to perform both well buildability and mechanical performances. Thereafter, a proper amount of viscosity modify agent (VMA) was used to improve the structural integrity by increasing the contact behaviour between the adjacent extruded layers. Meanwhile, the impact of curing method on the hardened properties of 3D printed structures was accessed. Results indicated that the prepared tailing mortar achieved sufficient buildability to be used in an extrusion-typed 3D printer at the paste age of 45 min. The mould-cast specimens process flexural strength of 7.87 MPa. In contrast, the flexural strength of printed specimens values 5.22 MPa and 12.93 MPa, respectively, after the addition of 1.5% VMA and 90 °C steam curing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalInternational Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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