LafargeHolcim is sponsoring research at Southeast University in Nanjing, China into concrete and mortars for on-site 3D printing. Â
The cement, aggregate and concrete giant aims to become a "full 3D printing solutions provider", it said in a press release.
Professor Yamei Zhang of Southeast University said: "My team and I have been working on sustainable concrete and the development of 3D printing concrete technology. The partnership with LafargeHolcim will allow us to take it to the next level."
"Our global network of academic partners is critical in helping us think outside the box," said Edelio Bermejo, head of R&D for LafargeHolcim. "We need theÂ brightest minds to help us lead the next frontier of building solutions."
The company works with 40 university departments around the world in a range of fields from materials science to sustainable construction. Many of the PhD students from the network go on to become LafargeHolcim employees.
It currently finances two university chairs advancing sustainable construction, one at theÂ Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, and one at the Ã‰cole des Ponts ParisTech in France.
Other partnerships are researching innovation in low-carbon and resource-efficient buildings, as well as resilience and durability of concrete structures. Â
The company recently launched the first 3D printing hackathon, calling on students to pioneer new home-printing ideas. (See further reading.)
It dedicates 55% of its innovation resources to advancing green construction, with 45% of its patents in this area at present.
Image: GE, LafargeHolcim and Cobod are using 3D printing for super-tall wind turbines pedestals