Gallery: Fractal Structures Could Yield Ultralight 3D-Printable Beams T...

Generation-1 (left) and generation-2 (right) hollow-tube hierarchal structures. (Courtesy: D Rayneau-Kirkhope et al./Phys. Rev. Lett.)

If you were to strip away the walls, floors, and insulation, you’d see that most buildings are constructed on a frame of beams. Most beams are made from steel, and while strong, they’re fairly one-size-fits-all. A new study published in the journal Physical Review Letters found that fractal patterns could be used to create 3d printed beams that are lighter and up to 10,000 times stronger than typical steel beams! This combination of material science and 3D printing technology could make it possible to customize beams for a specific load and purpose, reducing waste and cost.

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1 Comment

  1. bthinker January 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Ever since I read this months ago, I’ve really been considering 3d printing as a constuction method for various things. For larger things, interlocking pieces, Mini spacegrid architecture and buckminster fullerish support for many things. I’m picturing walls, stairs, anything priorly made concrete/wood. The replicator 2X with it’s industry standard ABS plastic makes this pretty tempting to try, being that it could probly makes use of Polycarbonate.

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