UAE start-up Renca has created a new type of green cement compound from industrial waste that is 3D printer friendly.
A part of Dubai’s Future Accelerators program, Renca is a joint venture between Russian businessman Andrey Dudnikov and Italian geologist Alex Reggiani.
According to its creators, the geopolymer cement uses only 10% of the energy compared with traditional Portland cement. The company is presently working with the Dubai Municipality to develop its material for use in 3D printing projects in Dubai.
Dudnikov and Reggiani first met each other at a 2016 Geopolymer Institute conference in France, and have since collaborated with companies in the 3D printing sphere such as Russian firm Apis Cor and the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing at Nanyang Technological University.
Talking about the geopolymer cement, the new concrete has been produced from industrial waste such as pulverised fly ash and ground granulated blast slag; it further possesses greater thermal insulation properties than regular concrete, so is better in hot climates at resisting heat, its creators contend.
Fly ash is a fine powder produced from burning pulverised coal during power generation, while granulated blast slag is a by-product of iron and steelmaking.
Geopolymer cement’s main benefit in 3D printing is that it is cheaper to use than Portland cement, which needs additives to work properly: “For 3D printers you have to adjust the properties of concrete. It should be fluid enough for the 3D printer and it should set very quickly. When the first layer is in place, the second layer will come straight after,” explains Dudnikov.
“To achieve this with normal concrete you have to add a lot of additives, so it becomes expensive. With geopolymer concrete, you can adjust the properties of the cement with the amount of raw materials you add. It’s easy to regulate, achieves fast settings and it is easy to use in these hot temperatures.”
Image content and source: Pawan Singh/Michael Fahy/The National