Chinese engineers will take the ideas of the scientific work and turn it into the world’s largest 3D printing project. Popular mechanics: For two years, officials behind the project want to fully automate the unmanned construction of a 590-foot-high dam in the Tibetan Plateau to build the Yankee hydroelectric plant – entirely with the help of robots. An article published last month in the Journal of Tsinghua University (Science and Technology) outlines plans for the dam, as first reported in the South China Morning Post. Researchers from the State Key Laboratory of Hydraulic Science and Engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing explain the basis for automating the planned Yellow River Dam, which will eventually offer nearly five billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. (It should be noted that China’s Three Gorge Dam – the gravitational dam of a hydroelectric plant that spills over the Yangtze River – is the world’s largest power plant in terms of energy production.) into a massive 3D printing project, or that at every stage of the process the project eliminated workers when they switched to full robotics.

In the process of “printing” the dam, machinery will deliver building materials to the site – to the right place, eliminating human error, they say – and then unmanned bulldozers, pavers and rollers will form the dam layer by layer. The sensors on the rollers will inform the artificial intelligence system (AI) about the strength and stability of each of the 3D-printed layers until it reaches 590 feet in height, about the same height as the Sixth Dam in California and shorter than Hoover Platinum 726 feet. As the largest existing 3D printing structures rise by about 20 feet – from homes in China to office buildings in Dubai – the study of projects printed in 3D printing continues to expand. We’ve already seen a 1640-foot-long retaining wall in China, residential and office buildings around the world, and now the U.S. Army has plans to build barracks at Fort Bliss, Texas.

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