Collaborative Research: 3D Printing of Civil Infrastructure Materials with Controlled Microstructural Architectures

NSF 1563389

An interdisciplinary team of Civil and Chemical Engineers and Materials Scientists from Vanderbilt University (VU), Purdue University and Tennessee Tech University (TTU) proposes a research project focused on a new paradigm in development of the multiscale hierarchical design of microstructures of cement-based materials. This development is facilitated via 3D printing and offers an innovative avenue for designing, testing, and accelerating innovation in infrastructure materials. The goal of this collaborative research is to develop a fundamental understanding of (1) the intertwined mechanisms between chemistry, printed filament layer solidification, and 3D printing successive-layering-deposition process conditions and (2) the interfacial interactions at printed layer interfaces that control the bonding mechanism between filament layers. 3-D printing is anticipated to enable the controlled spatial variation of material properties through continuous gradients in functional components. Experimental investigations of the filament layer solidification process and of the interfacial characteristics will be integrated with computational analysis, including molecular dynamics simulations of the molecular scale structure, energetics, and mechanical properties of the inter-filament and interfaces to unravel the physico-chemo-mechanical mechanisms that underpin the processing/manufacturing-microstructure-property relationship of the proposed microstructurally architectured materials.

Graphic illustrating the 3D printing layering process with filament stack, intra-filament structure, inter-filament regions and interfacial zones between filament inclusions and filament matrix