Sep 13, 2017 | By Tess

This past April, an initiative near Nantes, France was introduced with the goal of building a 95m² social housing building using a construction 3D printing technique known as BatiPrint3D. The ambitious project, called Yhnova, is now preparing to go into full swing, as the construction job broke ground yesterday.

According to the consortium behind the 3D printed social housing initiative (which includes the University of Nantes, Bouygues Construction, Lafarge Holcim, and others), it will have completed 3D printing the shell of the 95m² house in just a few days. The house itself was designed by Nantes-based architecture firm TICA architectes & urbanistes.

The process being used to create the compact house for the Nantes Métropole Habitat organization is called BatiPrint3D and was developed by researchers from the University of Nantes. The patented process consists of a four-meter-long robotic arm and a laser system, which guides the former for the deposition of various construction materials.

Namely, the system is built to extrude three layers: one formwork layer, made from a foam-like material; an insulating layer, which enables efficient heating; and a structuring layer, made from a special 3D printable concrete material.

At the construction site, a smooth base slab was built over the summer so that when the project launched, the robotic 3D printer could begin extrusion on a flat and uniform surface right away. The walls of the house (consisting of the three layers) are expected to be complete by the end of the week, and the internal foam layer will be covered with a final plaster layer.

The house itself is expected to consist of five rooms and is being built in a wooded area, where traditional construction methods would be ineffective and difficult to work with. Luc Stéphan, the director of innovation at Nantes Métropole Habitat, thinks that 3D printing construction could open new doors and avenues for alternative housing locations.

Bouygues Construction, one of the companies involved in the project, is hoping to eventually exploit the 3D printing technology to streamline and simplify its own construction efforts. As Bruno Lineatte, the director of R&D for building models at Bouygues Construction, explained: “We see in this solution a potential to reduce the laborious tasks on site.”

The development costs for building the 95m² house are listed as €195,000 ($232,317), a sum which was put up by the various partners in the construction 3D printing consortium.

As part of their investment, the various companies and organizations will see the 3D printed house outfitted with high-tech sensors and automation systems which will be able to measure and analyze how the house’s 3D printed structure and individual layers are behaving. The sensors will also monitor the thermal and acoustic quality of the home.

For more information on 3D printing in the construction industry, you can check out our top 27 3D printed housing and construction projects.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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