Energy Performance of 3D-Printed Concrete Walls: A Numerical Study

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Abstract

Three-dimensional-printed concrete (3DPC), which is also termed as digital fabrication of concrete, offers potential development towards a sustainable built environment. This novel technique clearly reveals its development towards construction application with various global achievements, including structures such as bridges, houses, office buildings, and emergency shelters. However, despite the enormous efforts of academia and industry in the recent past, the application of the 3DPC method is still challenging, as existing knowledge about its performance is limited. The construction industry and building sectors have a significant share of the total energy consumed globally, and building thermal efficiency has become one of the main driving forces within the industry. Hence, it is important to study the thermal energy performance of the structures developed using the innovative 3DPC technique. Thermal characterisation of walls is fundamental for the assessment of the energy performance, and thermal insulation plays an important role in performance enhancements. Therefore, in this study, different wall configurations were examined, and the conclusions were drawn based on their relative energy performance. The thermal performance of 32 different 3DPC wall configurations with and without cavity insulation were traced using validated finite element models by measuring the thermal transmittance value (U-value). Our study found that the considered 3DPC cavity walls had a low energy performance, as the U-values did not satisfy the standard regulations. Thus, their performance was improved with cavity insulation. The simulation resulted in a minimum thermal transmittance value of 0.34 W/m2.K. Additionally, a suitable equation was proposed to find the U-values of 100 mm-thick cavity wall panels with different configurations. Furthermore, this study highlights the importance of analytical and experimental solutions as an outline for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number432
Number of pages24
JournalBuildings
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2021

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