NY Times Features CERC-BEE Project

September 26, 2019

Big Area Additive Manufacturing at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL was used to 3D print molds that were needed to cast the precast concrete facade of a 42-story tower in New York City. Image credit: Oak Ridge National LaboratoryUnder the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center for Building Energy Efficiency (CERC-BEE) consortium, which is implemented by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a team of researchers and industry professionals from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), and Gate Precast is working collaboratively to develop next-generation precast concrete that is half the weight, twice the thermal performance, and faster to produce than traditional precast concrete, but is also cost-neutral.

The CERC-BEE project was featured in The New York Times article, “A New Tower Opens on the Domino Site in Williamsburg,” and describes the award-winning facade design of the Domino Sugar Refinery apartment complex, which is using precast concrete set in carbon-fiber reinforced plastic frames created by large-scale 3D-printers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and Ohio-based Additive Engineering Solutions.

The article notes that, instead of using traditional wood molds, which are limited in shape, require regular upkeep, and can only be used several times, 3-D-printed molds (shown at left) have faster lead times, increased durability, better quality, and can be reused at least two hundred times. 

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