In October, the US Army Corps of Engineers, together with other branches of the armed forces, carried out blast tests on additively manufactured concrete structures. At the Camp Atterbury training area in Indiana, a complete building was constructed in 18 hours using 3D printing and then subjected to a controlled detonation.
A delegation from the Marine Innovation Unit, an elite unit of the Marine Corps, also took part in the test. According to engineer Megan Krieger, it was the first time that a structure had been completely additively manufactured. Beforehand, soldiers from all branches of the armed forces were trained in additive manufacturing so that the technology could be disseminated quickly.
After the demolition, specialists analyzed the damage to the building in order to draw conclusions about its resilience. Lt. Max Wineland from the Marine Innovation Unit sees great potential for using 3D printing to quickly provide safe accommodation for soldiers. According to the army, soldiers will soon be able to use the technology on site to print temporary buildings within days if necessary.
With tests like the one in Indiana, the US military wants to further test additive manufacturing and make the advantages such as flexibility and speed available to the troops.