Researchers from Australia’s RMIT University have strengthened steel-fiber reinforced concrete by 3D printing it in a helicoidal lobster shell design.

The spiral, or helicoidal, design of the 3D printed concrete was inspired by the biological design of lobster shells.

Reportedly, printing steel-fiber enhanced concrete in the helicoidal design resulted in concrete that was stronger than traditional concrete and stronger than concrete 3D printed in unidirectional, or single direction, patterns.

Additionally, the team reports that the design allowed for more creative structures via 3D printing. Although 3D printing allows for some creativity, free form structures created through this technology are not as structurally sound when printed in unidirectional patterns and using standard, unenhanced concrete.

The findings appear in the journal 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. For more information, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of RMIT University.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com