Lee M., Mata-Falcón J., Popescu M., Block P. and Kaufmann W.
Digital Concrete 2020 - Second RILEM International Conference on Concrete and Digital Fabrication
Springer International Publishing
Conventional construction of doubly-curved concrete structures is a time-, labour- and cost-intensive process. Flexible formworks have already been identified as a possible solution to produce such structures more efficiently. The KnitCrete technology developed at ETH Zurich uses 3D weft-knitted fabrics as stay-in-place formwork, which deliver multiple advantages over woven textiles due to their wider range of feasible geometries and possibility to include features and local material properties. The textile is initially coated with a fast-setting high-strength cement paste. The stiffened membrane is stable enough to serve as formwork for the final concrete layer. This paper discusses potential reinforcing strategies to guarantee structural safety and serviceability in KnitCrete structures. Possible approaches range from the use of the textile as a stay-in-place formwork as well as final reinforcement (by utilising high-strength fibrous materials such as aramid, glass or carbon fibre) to the implementation of geometric features, such as channels within the textile to guide conventional reinforcement or post-tensioning tendons. The feasibility and efficiency of the proposed reinforcement strategies have to be experimentally verified, for which a systematic methodology is proposed. Preliminary analyses of the experimental campaign show the beneficial effect of the knitted reinforcement on the cracking behaviour of the textile-concrete composite material. Additional research is needed to exploit the potential of possible hybrid solutions using short steel fibres, post-tensioning or linear steel or glass fibre reinforcement.
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