Sustainability assessment, potentials and challenges of 3D printed concrete structures: A systematic review for built environmental applications

Shoukat Alim Khan, Muammer Koç, Sami G. Al-Ghamdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The built environment defines humankind's daily lives, sophistication, efficiency, and effectiveness. Despite this, its primary industry, construction—which transforms the built environment into a reality and an operation—remains in need of more efficient, innovative, and sustainable strategies, technologies, and instruments. The incorporation of digital fabrication into 3D printing (3DP) technology offers an entirely different and expanded freedom of geometry, functionality, materials, savings, efficiency, and effectiveness. For the inherent potential of 3DP technology, its sustainability assessment and potential contributions should be explored systematically to shed light on future applications and further innovations. This study presents a systematic review of the sustainability potential, assessments, and challenges of 3DP concrete for built environment applications. A comprehensive and comparative review of related literature is performed to identify the current trends and research gaps and recommend reducing or eliminating the energy and environmental footprints and the socio-economic impact. The study concludes that, in terms of documented global warming potential (GWP) values, 3DP technology appears to be a promising alternative to conventional construction and concrete use. A life cycle analysis (LCA) is recorded that is meant to be widely used as an assessment tool for environmental and energy assessment in digital fabrication technology, leaving an integrated review, including social and economic aspects, understudied. The 3DP concrete technology has unlimited potential in terms of material flexibility, savings, labour's cost, design flexibility, and operation agility. Besides, researchers intend on introducing unconventional and locally available materials to increase the sustainability of 3DP technology in construction.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Jun 20 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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