By Jill Gralow and James Redmayne
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Inspired by the natural, twisting patterns of a lobster shell, Australian researchers say they have found a way, using 3D printing technology, to improve the strength of concrete for use in complex architecture.
Reinforced with steel fibres, the concrete becomes more durable when set in a pattern that copies a lobster shell, according to a new study from Melbourne's RMIT University.
Rather than use a mould, the process involves depositing layers of concrete one on top of the other, directed from a computer program using 3D printing technology.
"The lobster shell is always something that still amazes me by its very interesting shapes and architectures, and especially (as) the lobster shell is really amazingly very stiff," lead researcher Jonathan Tran told Reuters.
Tran said the design would help when building challenging arch or twisted structures with complex geometries.
(Reporting by Jill Gralow and James Redmayne; Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)