3D Printing Coral Reefs
Kyle.Maxey posted on October 31, 2012 |

Coral reefs are an important part of the world’s ecosystem.  Made from calcium carbonate, these structures occupy less than 0.1% of the ocean’s surface but provide sanctuary to 25% of the world’s marine species.

“In a bid to restore lost and damaged reefs around the world,” Sustainable Oceans International, an Australian organization, has developed a method for printing coral reef segments that “look and function like a natural reef.”   

From SOI’s media release, “The recent announcement that the Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its coral and the unrelenting global demand placed on recreational and commercial fisheries has increased the urgency of funding constructed reefs. Constructed reefs, or 'artificial reefs' as they are commonly called, are typically made using precast concrete. However, traditional moulding systems are unable to reproduce the wonderful complexity and diversity of natural reefs.”

Standing one meter tall and weighing 500 kg, each the reef segments, designed by architect James Gardiner, take on the appearance of real sandstone reefs.

In partnership with Reef Arabia, a company that designs and manufactures artificial reefs, SOI “will soon deploy the first 3D-printed reef unit off the north coast of Bahrain. This unit will sit with 270 standard concrete precast reef units and will be closely monitored to gauge its effectiveness.”

Read More about Artificial Reefs at SOI

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