Digitally fabricated ribbed concrete floor slabs: a sustainable solution for construction

Authors

  • Jaime Mata-Falcón Institute of Structural Engineering, ETH Zurich https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8701-4410
  • Patrick Bischof Institute of Structural Engineering, ETH Zurich https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3032-5482
  • Tobias Huber Institute of Structural Engineering, ETH Zurich; Institute of Structural Engineering, TU Wien
  • Ana Anton Institute of Technology in Architecture, Digital Building Technologies, ETH Zurich
  • Joris Burger Institute of Technology in Architecture, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
  • Francesco Ranaudo Institute of Technology in Architecture, Block Research Group, ETH Zurich
  • Andrei Jipa Institute of Technology in Architecture, Digital Building Technologies, ETH Zurich
  • Lukas Gebhard Institute of Structural Engineering, ETH Zurich
  • Lex Reiter Institute for Building Materials, ETH Zurich
  • Ena Lloret-Fritschi Institute for Building Materials, ETH Zurich; Institute of Technology in Architecture, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich; Academy of Architecture, Università della Svizzera Italiana
  • Tom Van Mele Institute of Technology in Architecture, Block Research Group, ETH Zurich
  • Philippe Block Institute of Technology in Architecture, Block Research Group, ETH Zurich
  • Fabio Gramazio Institute of Technology in Architecture, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
  • Matthias Kohler Institute of Technology in Architecture, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
  • Benjamin Dillenburger Institute of Technology in Architecture, Digital Building Technologies, ETH Zurich
  • Timothy Wangler Institute for Building Materials, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Walter Kaufmann Institute of Structural Engineering, ETH Zurich

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21809/rilemtechlett.2022.161

Keywords:

digital fabrication, concrete structures, digital concrete, floor slabs, ribbed slabs, optimisation, sustainability

Abstract

The concrete used in floor slabs accounts for large greenhouse gas emissions in building construction. Solid slabs, often used today, consume much more concrete than ribbed slabs built by pioneer structural engineers like Hennebique, Arcangeli and Nervi. The first part of this paper analyses the evolution of slab systems over the last century and their carbon footprint, highlighting that ribbed slabs have been abandoned mainly for the sake of construction time and cost efficiency. However, highly material-efficient two-way ribbed slabs are essential to reduce the environmental impact of construction. Hence, the second part of this paper discusses how digital fabrication can help to tackle this challenge and presents four concrete floor systems built with digitally fabricated formwork. The digital fabrication technologies employed to produce these slab systems are digital cutting, binder-jetting, polymer extrusion and 3D concrete printing. The presented applications showcase a reduction in concrete use of approximately 50% compared to solid slabs. However, the digitally fabricated complex formworks produced were wasteful and/or labour-intensive. Further developments are required to make the digital processes sustainable and competitive by streamlining the production, using low carbon concrete mixes as well as reusing and recycling the formwork or structurally activating stay-in-place formwork.

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Published

23.09.2022

How to Cite

(1)
Mata-Falcón, J.; Bischof, P.; Huber, T.; Anton, A.; Burger, J.; Ranaudo, F.; Jipa, A.; Gebhard, L.; Reiter, L.; Lloret-Fritschi, E.; Van Mele, T.; Block, P.; Gramazio, F.; Kohler, M.; Dillenburger, B.; Wangler, T.; Kaufmann, W. Digitally Fabricated Ribbed Concrete Floor Slabs: A Sustainable Solution for Construction. RILEM Tech Lett 2022, 7, 68-78.

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Articles