Biomimetic Design Reveals Stronger 3D Printing for Additive Manufacturing

Overlapping structure of mother of pearl layers in abalone (Haliotis) and oyster (Pinctada) shells. (Simon Frølich, James C. Weaver, Mason N. Dean and Henrik Birkedal)

Overlapping structure of mother of pearl layers in abalone (Haliotis) and oyster (Pinctada) shells. (Simon Frølich, James C. Weaver, Mason N. Dean and Henrik Birkedal)

February 25, 2018 | Source: 3D Printing, 3dprintingindustry.com, 8 March 2017; Advanced Engineering Materials, 10.1002/adem.201600848, 2 March 2017

Research, funded in part by the Danish Council for Independent Research Technology and Production Sciences, takes inspiration from oyster and abalone shells for stronger materials. A combination of algorithm-based design and multilateral 3D printing is used to discover what makes iridescent mother of pearl “ca. 3000 times greater than that of its main mineral building block.”

In the paper, researchers create a four-part framework to better understand the stacked “brick-and-mortar” structure of mother of pearl, also known as nacre. The framework is a looped process, with each stage informing the next for continued development of material that matches nature.