3D printed concrete from RMIT University is constructed with helicoid layers to increase strength.

Benefits

  • Increased strength
  • Increased resiliency
  • Scalable

Applications

  • Building materials
  • Bridge design

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

The Challenge

3D printed concrete has the potential to make building structures more efficient and sustainable by saving time, money, and materials. However, due to the layer-by-layer printing methodology, the concrete often has planes of weakness.

Innovation Details

The 3D printed concrete is laid in a helicoidal, twisting pattern rather than parallel lines, similar to the design of the lobster shell. This methodology better integrates the layers of concrete as it sets. Additionally, the concrete mixture is reinforced with steel fibers that reduce defects and porosity, allowing the concrete to harden more consistently to create a better base for the layers above.

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Biomimicry Story

Lobster shells are strong, flexible and resistant to cracking. The shell is made of fibers arranged in the Bouligand structure, a helical structure similar to a spiral staircase. This structure helps distribute an impact force or the bite of a predator throughout the shell, lessening the negative effects.