Cementitious composites reinforced with 3D printed functionally graded polymeric lattice structures: Experiments and modelling

Yading Xu, Hongzhi Zhang*, Yidong Gan, Branko Šavija

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Cementitious materials are widely used in construction. For their low ductility, they typically need to be reinforced by steel rebars, which cause potential corrosion problems. Polymeric reinforcement, which does not have corrosion problems, has been used to replace steel rebars. However, a relatively high reinforcing ratio is usually required for the cementitious composites reinforced by conventional polymeric reinforcement. Owing to the customizability of 3D printing technology, polymeric reinforcement with a functionally graded structure is able to be manufactured, which significantly reduces the reinforcing ratio of the reinforced cementitious composites meanwhile improves their mechanical properties. In this present study, 3D printed polymeric octet lattice structures were used as reinforcement to develop cementitious composites with enhanced ductility. Four-point bending experiments were performed on the plain mortar, and the reinforced specimens and a finite element model was used to simulate the experiments numerically. A good agreement between experiments and simulations was found: the reinforced specimens have a significantly increased flexural ductility comparing to plain mortar. Composites reinforced by vertically functionally graded lattice structures have a significantly lower reinforcing ratio while exhibiting obviously higher normalized ductility. In addition, the fracture behavior of the reinforced cementitious composites was evaluated using a fracture energy based analytical model. The analysis shows that, from the perspective of fracture energy release, the steady state cracking criteria were not satisfied by the cementitious composites developed in this study so that multiple cracking and strain hardening behavior was not obtained. However, according to numerical predictions, increasing strength of the printed reinforcement material by 40% would allow these behaviors to be potentially achieved. This work shows that additive manufacturing has great potential for developing reinforcement for cementitious materials to reduce the reinforcing ratio and enhance ductility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101887
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Cementitious composites
  • Functionally grade
  • Polymeric reinforcement


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