Tunnel linings on hard rock by 3D concrete printing

(25-01-2022) Yaxin Tao researched in his PhD how tunnel linings on hard rock can be applied via 3D concrete printing.

Sprayed concrete is widely used for the construction of tunnel linings on hard rock, with the advantage of high flexibility and the avoidance of formwork. The disadvantages of sprayed concrete are irregular surfaces and relatively large quantities of concrete that fall back to the ground due to the spray pressure.

With 3D concrete printing, the pressure is much lower, so there is less loss and the surfaces are more even. However, when 3D printing concrete, 2 crucial problems occur: the shear of the printed material due to loose rock and the loosening of the printed concrete due to lack of adhesion or bonding.

"For these two problems I have sought a solution in my doctorate," says Yaxin Tao.

"On the one hand, I looked at how the stiffening rate of the printed material could be increased and, on the other hand, I investigated the influence of the inclination of the surface and the properties of the printed materials on the adhesion."

"As a result of my research, tunnel linings on hard rock via 3D concrete printing can be applied more efficiently," concludes Yaxin.

Read a more detailed summary or the entire PhD


PhD Title: Automated Construction and Structural Behavior of 3D Printed Concrete Tunnel Linings


Contact: Yaxin Tao, Geert De Schutter, Kim Van Tittelboom

Yaxin Tao

Yaxin Tao, who was born in Anhui, China in 1993, has obtained his bachelor’s degree in Road and Bridge Engineering at Southeast University, China in 2015 and his master’s degree in Architectural and Civil Engineering at Tongji University, China in 2018.

He started working as a doctoral researcher at the Department of Structural Engineering and Building Materials of Ghent University in 2018. His research interests include concrete rheology, inline mixing methods of 3D printable concrete, numerical simulation of concrete pumping and extrusion, and studying the adhesion mechanism of fresh concrete.

During his study at Ghent University, he has published or submitted 9 peer-reviewed journal papers and 7 conference papers as the first author. Based on the developed stiffening control system, a patent has been granted. In addition, he worked as a teaching assistant for two courses and was highly involved in two industrial service projects at Ghent University.



Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Final editing: Ilse Vercruysse - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke