Controlling the rheological properties of cement for a submillimetre-thin shell structure

Wei Wang, Brandon Gerber, Jia Zie Lai, Shu Jian Chen, Kwesi Sagoe-Crentsil, Wenhui Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Thin shells are widely used in structural design and developing lightweight high-performance materials and composites. A fluid coating-assisted additive manufacturing method proposed in the literature shows great potential in fabricating lightweight composites using shell-like framework architectures. However, understanding the fabrication of thin shells by controlling the fluid rheology for a submillimeter-thin coating is still limited. As a demonstration, we investigated the effect of surface tension and yield stress of cement paste on the spreading and stabilisation on a curved honeycomb scaffold to form a thin-shell structure via a lattice-Boltzmann method simulation. We found the coating of cement paste is governed by the coupling effect of surface tension (γ) and yield stress (σy), which not only controls the stability but also affects its geometry. The optimal ranges of γ and σy were determined and their correlation was derived as a design guideline for future development of this cementitious thin-shell structure. As well, equivalent microscale rheological parameters (γ = 0.015 N/m and σy = 3.42 Pa) were identified. This study improves our understanding of the fabrication of high-performance cementitious shells and sheds light on the fabrication of submillimetre-thin shells using a wide range of materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141
Number of pages17
JournalMaterials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Fluid coating-assisted additive manufacturing
  • Lattice-Boltzmann simulation
  • Lightweight cement
  • Rheological property
  • Thin shell

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