By mimicking the curvy patterns found on lobster shells, scientists at Australia’s RMIT University have come up with 3D printing technique for concrete that affords it greater strength and could let taller and more complex structures be built.
As we’ve seen through recently constructed office buildings in Dubai, bridges in the Netherlands and low-cost housing in Latin America, 3D printing is beginning to shape the way modern structures are formed, and new research could further widen the potential of this technology. Scientists at Australia’s RMIT University have come up with 3D printing technique for concrete that affords it greater strength, by mimicking the curvy patterns found on lobster shells.
The RMIT University researchers were experimenting with different approaches to 3D-printed concrete, hoping to land on one that could open up new possibilities in this emerging form of architecture. Where concrete structures are generally formed by casting the material in a mold, those created using 3D concrete printing (3DCP) are gradually formed by printing one layer on top of another in parallel lines.
As part of their research, the scientists included 1 to 2 percent steel fibers in their concrete mix and investigated a variety of alternatives to the unidirectional patterns typically used in 3D printing, but found particular success in what’s known as helicoidal patterns.
These were inspired by the internal structure of lobster shells, which through evolution have come to offer the crustaceans a hardy protective shield.
How lobsters can Help Make Stronger 3D Printed Concrete – RMIT University