Costain and Versarien Complete 3D Printed Headwall for Highway Use

March 6, 2023

Versarien PLC, a UK-based advanced materials engineering group, has completed the construction phase of a 3D printed concrete headwall for use in highway projects.

The project was completed alongside a subsidiary of Costain Group PLC, a construction and engineering company who we have covered before when they fabricated the UK’s first printed water chamber.

In the past, headwall structures have been made with precast concrete, which can have limitations on the structure’s shape, and require steel reinforcement.

National Highways
The UK’s national highways are managed by National Highways. (Image credit: National Highways)

By using an alkali-activated cementitious material and a 3D printer, Versarien and Costain have been able to create a curved headwall that does not require steel reinforcement.

The headwall has been created as part of the Digital Roads of the Future partnership, a collaboration led by the University of Cambridge, Costain, and National Highways, of which Versarien is a partner.

“We are delighted to have partnered with Costain to produce this innovative structure that we believe provides significant benefits over those produced using traditional manufacturing techniques,” said Neill Ricketts, Chief Executive Officer of Versarien.

“In utilizing Versarien’s materials engineering expertise and understanding of the latest techniques, we have highlighted how new technologies can be employed to provide a solution to improve product performance, lower cost and reduce the carbon footprint. We believe this represents the first use of 3D construction on a National Highways project and we look forward to the headwall being installed, demonstrating the viability and attractiveness of using this technology and Versarien’s know-how on future projects.”

The constructed headwall is due for delivery and installation on one of Costain’s projects for National Highways very shortly.



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