In the realm of 3D printed construction, geopolymer has long been hailed as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional concrete. However, until now, the world had yet to witness the creation of a 3D printed geopolymer building. In this exciting video, we delve into not only the groundbreaking 3D printed geopolymer building but also explore a precast geopolymer structure and innovative flat pack disaster housing. Join me, Jarett Gross, as I take you on this journey of automation and sustainability.

Firstly, I had the pleasure of meeting William Hoff from Geopolymer International, who has been tirelessly searching for a solution to low-cost housing for over 30 years. Inspired by the United Nations’ efforts to provide better shelter for refugee camps, William embarked on his mission to utilize geopolymer instead of steel or concrete. To achieve this, he cleverly repurposed a used shipping container into a portable, precast mold system. By casting geopolymer walls inside the container, he was able to create a cost-effective and sustainable construction solution.

Curious about the lifting process, I inquired about how the walls were maneuvered into place. William explained that a 10,000-pound forklift was used to carefully position the precast sections. With a glance inside, it became evident that the system employed angle iron and embedded fixtures to weld the panels together, creating a sturdy structure. This innovative approach, reminiscent of the tilt-up concrete technique, showcased the versatility of geopolymer as a building material.

As we delved deeper into the science behind geopolymer, William demonstrated the components used to create this remarkable material. Silicates were mixed with reactive minerals, along with sand, to form the geopolymer. William emphasized the importance of using dry sand to avoid moisture-related issues, as geopolymer’s strength lies in its crystalline structure. Resistant to extreme heat and highly durable, geopolymer boasts remarkable resilience, making it an excellent choice for construction.

William also clarified a common misconception about geopolymer, noting that it is not an alkaline-activated material as some might think. Instead, it undergoes a process of polymerization, growing a matrix of crystals that interlock and reinforce the structure. This distinction is crucial because alkaline-activated materials can be hazardous, while geopolymer is safe to handle and poses no harm to the skin.

Intriguingly, Geopolymer International expanded its horizons from precast construction to embrace 3D concrete printing. Collaborating with Strongprint 3D, they successfully printed the world’s first geopolymer 3D printed house. The process involved using Renca geopolymer material, which was shipped from afar but is soon to be produced locally in the United States. This development is a testament to the increasing accessibility and affordability of geopolymer construction.

William explained that geopolymer’s exceptional bonding properties minimize cracking, with expansion joints mainly used in areas with columns. The flexibility of geopolymer allowed them to print continuously, although they divided the printing into five phases to accommodate the nighttime working schedule and ensure the well-being of their team.

Inside the house, I discovered that rough-ins for plumbing and electrical systems were already in place. William had strategically integrated PEX tubing and electrical cutouts while printing the structure, making the installation process significantly easier. This approach saved both time and expenses, providing a glimpse into the efficiency and practicality of geopolymer construction.

Throughout the interview, William passionately discussed the advantages of geopolymer over traditional Portland cement. He highlighted sustainability, durability, recyclability, fireproofing, and waterproofing as key factors. With Portland cement responsible for a significant portion of CO2 emissions, geopolymer emerged as a more environmentally friendly and longer-lasting alternative. William emphasized the recyclability of geopolymer, highlighting its potential to be crushed and reused, further reducing waste and enhancing sustainability.

In conclusion, witnessing the birth of 3D printed geopolymer construction is an exciting development for the industry. William Hoff and Geopolymer International are demonstrating this sustainable material, showcasing its versatility, strength, and longevity. Geopolymer is throwing its hat in the bucket for housing, disaster relief, and environmentally conscious building practices. As we embrace this innovative technology, the future of construction looks brighter and more sustainable than ever.

Note: This article is sponsored by the course “How to 3D Print a House” offered by Jarett Gross. The course provides in-depth insights into the construction process of 3D printed homes, comparing them to traditional construction methods and offering guidance on software, hardware, materials, and more. For those interested in embarking on their own 3D printed construction journey, the course offers valuable knowledge and is currently available at beta pricing.

Published by Jarett Gross

Construction Tech Correspondent Spreading Awareness of Cutting Edge Firms Building the Future of the Industry

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