Additive Manufacturing of Thermally Enhanced Lightweight Concrete Wall Elements with Closed Cellular Structures


  • Gido Dielemans TT Professorship Digital Fabrication, Department of Architecture, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  • David Briels Chair of Building Technology and Climate Responsive Design, Department of Architecture, Technical University of Munich
  • Fabian Jaugstetter TT Professorship Digital Fabrication, Department of Architecture, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  • Klaudius Henke Chair of Timber Structures and Building Construction, Department of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Munich
  • Kathrin Dörfler TT Professorship Digital Fabrication, Department of Architecture, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany



Additive Manufacturing, Lightweight concrete extrusion, Computational design, Thermal performance, Functionally graded materials


Building envelopes incorporate a multitude of functions, such as structure, room enclosure, insulation,
and aesthetic appeal, typically resulting in multi-material layered constructions. With the technology
of additive manufacturing, geometrical freedom can instead be utilised to integrate functional
requirements into mono-material building components. In this research, the additive manufacturing
method of lightweight concrete extrusion and its potential for thermal performance via geometric
customisation is explored. It investigates whether the insulating performance of wall components can
be increased through the creation of closed cellular structures, and further, whether these performance
features can be functionally graded by locally adapting the geometric properties. A design tool for closedcell wall geometries is created, which integrates lightweight concrete extrusion related fabrication
constraints and takes into account thermal and structural performance considerations. Through the
simulation of heat transfer, generated wall geometries are analysed for their thermal performance.
By calculating the layer cycle times and determining the overhang during extrusion, the structural
capacity during printing is validated. Finally, experimental manufacturing of 1:1 scale architectural
prototypes is executed to test the feasibility of the concept.


Agustí-Juan, I., & Habert, G. (2017). Environmental design guidelines for digital fabrication. Journal of Cleaner Production, 142, 2780–2791.

Association for Robots in Architecture. (2020). KUKA|prc.

Bankvall, C. (1972). Natural convective heat transfer in insulated structures. pdf

Bekkouche, S. M.A., Cherier M. K., Hamdani, M., Benamrane, N., Benouaz, T., & Yaiche, M. R. (2013). Thermal resistances of air in cavity walls and their effect upon the thermal insulation performance. International Journal of Energy and Environment, 4(3), 459–466.

Bos, F., Wolfs, R., Ahmed, Z., & Salet, T. (2016). Additive manufacturing of concrete in construction: potentials and challenges of 3D concrete printing. Virtual and Physical Prototyping, 11(3), 209–225.

Bos, F., Wolfs, R., Ahmed, Z., & Salet, T. (2019). Large scale testing of digitally fabricated concrete (DFC) elements. In RILEM Bookseries (Vol. 19, pp. 129–147). Springer Netherlands.

Buswell, R. A., Leal de Silva, W. R., Jones, S. Z., & Dirrenberger, J. (2018). 3D printing using concrete extrusion: A roadmap for research. In Cement and Concrete Research (Vol. 112, pp. 37–49). Elsevier Ltd.

Dubai Future Foundation. (n.d.). Office of the Future. Retrieved September 4, 2020, from our-initiatives/office-of-the-future/

EnEV. (2007).

Falliano, D., Crupi, G., De Domenico, D., Ricciardi, G., Restuccia, L., Ferro, G., & Gugliandolo, E. (2020). Investigation on the

Rheological Behavior of Lightweight Foamed Concrete for 3D Printing Applications. In RILEM Bookseries (Vol. 28, pp. 246–254). Springer.

Furet, B., Poullain, P., & Garnier, S. (2019). 3D printing for construction based on a complex wall of polymer-foam and concrete. In Additive Manufacturing (Vol. 28, pp. 58–64). Elsevier B.V.

Gibson, L. J., & Ashby, M. F. (2014). Thermal, electrical and acoustic properties of foams. In Cellular Solids: Structure and Properties, Second Edition (pp. 283–308). Cambridge University Press.

Goldman, R., Schaefer, S., & Ju, T. (2004). Turtle geometry in computer graphics and computer-aided design. CAD Computer Aided Design, 36(14), 1471–1482.

Henke, K., Talke, D., & Matthäus, C. (2020). Additive Manufacturing by Extrusion of Lightweight Concrete - Strand Geometry, Nozzle Design and Layer Layout (pp. 906–915).

Huizenga, C., Arasteh, D., Finlayson, E., Mitchell, R., Griffith, B., & Curcija, D. (1999). THERM 2.0: a building component model for steady-state two-dimensional heat transfer.

Jaugstetter, F. (2020). Design Tool for Extrusion Based Additive Manufacturing of Functionally Enhanced Lightweight Concrete Wall Elements with Internal Cellular Structures. Technische Universität München.

Jin, Y. an, He, Y., Fu, J. zhong, Gan, W. feng, & Lin, Z. wei. (2014). Optimization of tool-path generation for material extrusion-based additive manufacturing technology. Additive Manufacturing, 1, 32–47.

Keating, S. J., Leland, J. C., Cai, L., & Oxman, N. (2017). Toward site-specific and self-sufficient robotic fabrication on architectural scales. Science Robotics, 2(5).

Markin, V., Ivanova, I., Fataei, S., Reißig, S., & Mechtcherine, V. (2020). Investigation on Structural Build-Up of 3D Printable Foam Concrete. In RILEM Bookseries (Vol. 28, pp. 301–311). Springer.

Matthäus, C., Back, D., Weger, D., Kränkel, T., Scheydt, J., & Gehlen, C. (2020). Effect of Cement Type and Limestone Powder Content on Extrudability of Lightweight Concrete (pp. 312–322).

McNeel & Associates. (n.d.). Rhinonoceros (Rhino) Version 6.0. Retrieved September 4, 2020, from


Van Der Putten, J., Van Olmen, A., Aerts, M., Ascione, E., Beneens, J., Blaakmeer, J., De Schutter, G., & Van Tittelboom, K. (2020). 3D Concrete Printing on Site: A Novel Way of Building Houses? In RILEM Bookseries (Vol. 28, pp. 712–719). Springer. https://doi. org/10.1007/978-3-030-49916-7_71

Vantyghem, G., Steeman, M., De Corte, W., & Boel, V. (2017). Design of cellular materials and meso-structures with improved structural and thermal performances. Proceedings of the 12th World Congress of Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimisation.

Vantyghem, G., Steeman, M., De Corte, W., & Boel, V. (2020). Design Optimization for 3D Concrete Printing: Improving Structural and Thermal Performances. In RILEM Bookseries (Vol. 28, pp. 720–727). Springer.

Wangler, T., Lloret, E., Reiter, L., Hack, N., Gramazio, F., Kohler, M., Bernhard, M., Dillenburger, B., Buchli, J., Roussel, N., & Flatt, R. (2016). Digital Concrete: Opportunities and Challenges. RILEM Technical Letters, 1, 67. rilemtechlett.2016.16

Weger, D., Kim, H., Talke, D., Henke, K., Kränkel, T., & Gehlen, C. (2020). Lightweight Concrete 3D Printing by Selective Cement Activation – Investigation of Thermal Conductivity, Strength and Water Distribution (pp. 162–171).