HS2 uses 3D concrete printing

Concrete being 3D printed

High Speed 2 London tunnels contractor Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture is using 3D-printed concrete to assemble structures on site rather than transporting them as pre-cast slabs.

The technology means that robots can ‘print’ buildings in physically restricted areas rather than relying on cranes to lower large components in place. It is also claimed to be less disruptive as robots can - in certain locations - print the structure while trains are running rather than it being built overnight in engineering possessions.

The concrete used in the printer is strengthened using microscopic strands of graphene, which eliminates the need for conventional steel reinforcement, providing greater flexibility in construction, quicker build time and a lower (claimed to be up to 50%) lower carbon footprint. The graphene reinforced concrete was developed by advanced materials specialist Versarien, in partnership with ChangeMaker 3D.