3D Printed Buildings Could Benefit from Human Bone Structure

A team of researchers from Purdue University discovered that 3D-printed materials, designed with similar internal structures like bones, might lead to more durable 3D printed buildings.

To test the theory, they created 3D printed polymers with a trabecula architecture. Trabecula is a microscopic tissue structure in the form of small interconnected vertical struts and horizontal rods acting as columns and beams. The denser the trabecula, the more robust a bone is.

Bone is a building. It has these columns that carry most of the load and beams connecting the columns,” stated Purdue’s professor Pablo Zavattieri in a press release.

The 3D printed version of the human bone trabecula (Source: Purdue University)

The team proved their theory by mimicking the structure and making it about 30% thicker, resulting in the artificial material lasting up to 100 times longer. In contrast, the mass of the polymer did not significantly increase.

When something is lightweight, we can use less of it,” Zavattieri said. “To create a stronger material without making it heavier (…)could be an enabler for bringing more architected materials into the construction industry.”

(Source: Purdue University)

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