New exhibit showcases creative designs made by Lehigh team's innovative automated process

3D-printed concrete designs produced via an innovative technique developed by a Lehigh University team are the subject of a new exhibit at the National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH). 

“The Future of 3D Printed Concrete,” which opened for public viewing in May 2023 at the museum in Bethlehem, PA, spotlights a Lehigh collaboration with cement manufacturer Buzzi Unicem USA. 

According to a press release

"The 3D printing of concrete is a manufacturing technique that aims at revolutionizing the construction industry. A virtual model of the concrete object is made on a computer and a 3d printer manufactures it in a fully automated way. 3D printing concrete has several advantages over traditional concrete casting. Creative geometrical shapes can easily be 3D printed, allowing designers to use material only where it is most beneficial, reducing waste, cost, environmental impact, and labor."

The Lehigh team includes civil and environmental engineering faculty members Paolo Bocchini, John Fox, and Clay Naito; Nik Nikolov, an associate professor of architecture (College of Arts and Sciences); and CEE doctoral students Urinrin Otite and Xingjian Wang.

“While using old ingredients, this new manufacturing technology effectively gives us access to a new construction material, 3D printed concrete, which enables the creation of completely new geometrical shapes, exceptional structural efficiency, and superior environmental sustainability,” Bocchini said in the press release.

Project funders include Buzzi Unicem USA and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA).

Read the full press release here

CEE Professor Paolo Bocchini speaks at the new exhibit “The Future of 3D Printed Concrete” now on view at the National Museum of Industrial History.