Additive Manufacturing and Characterization of Architectured Cement-based Materials via X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography

Mohamadreza Moini, Jan Olek, Bryan Magee, Jeffrey Youngblood, Pablo Zavattieri

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


There is an increasing interest in the fabrication of cement-based ma-terials via additive manufacturing (AM) techniques. However, the processing-induced heterogeneities and interfaces represent a major challenge. The role of processing in creating interfaces and their characteristics requires understanding of the microstructure of 3D-printed hardened cement paste (hcp). This work in-vestigates the microstructural features of architectured cement-based materials, including processing-induced heterogeneous patterns, interfacial regions (IRs), and pore network distributions with respect to the architectural pattern. A 3D printer was modified and merged with an extrusion system and specimens were 3D-printed using a layer-wise direct ink writing (DIW) process capable of fabri-cation of ‘lamellar' architectures of materials. A lab-based X-ray microscope (XRM) was used to perform X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) evaluations to explore the microstructural characteristics of 3-day old intact (i.e. not tested) 3D printed and cast specimens at two levels of magnification: 0.4X and 4X. CT scans of printed specimen revealed a patterned pore network and several microstructural features, including: a) macropores (visible during print-ing), b) micropores at interfacial regions (IRs), c) accumulation of anhydrous ce-ment particles near macropores, and d) rearrangement of filaments away from their designed toolpath. In comparison, microstructural investigation of cast spec-imen at 4X scan revealed randomly distributed pores with no connectivity throughout the specimen. The aptitude of micro-CT as a non-destructive tech-nique for microstructural characterization of architectured cement-based materi-als is discussed. The role of processing to induce and to pattern heterogeneities such as IRs in materials is demonstrated and the role of architecture in controlling such heterogeneities and their directionality through the interface is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages189
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Aug 2018
Event1st RILEM International Conference on Concrete and Digital Fabrication - ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Duration: 10 Sept 201812 Sept 2018


Conference1st RILEM International Conference on Concrete and Digital Fabrication


  • 3D-printing
  • Cement paste
  • Micro-CT
  • Interfacial Region (IR)


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