Coral reefs are being saved by the combination of traditional Roman concrete and advanced 3D printing.


The underwater coral reefs of the world are in grave danger. Due to pollution, climate change, and other negative factors, these diverse and fascinating ecosystems are facing extinction. It is estimated that 90% of Earth’s coral will die out by 2050. However, scientists and researchers are not sitting idly by. Efforts are underway around the world to provide the oceans with 3D printed coral reefs, in hopes of preserving their biodiversity.

In recent years, several exciting technologies have emerged in the field of coral preservation. From growing natural coral on 3D printed structures to fish preservation, various materials and 3D printing technologies have been employed. Now, a multidisciplinary team from the University of Texas at Arlington is embarking on their own coral preservation project in the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the challenges faced in previous efforts at artificial reef creation is the choice of materials used to create a safe area for ocean wildlife to thrive. In the early stages of this process, a wide range of objects were used, from decommissioned ships and scrap metal to rubber tires and concrete blocks. However, these materials posed risks of breaking apart or further polluting the environment due to the shifting currents and underwater wear and tear.

To address this issue, the UTA team, led by Warda Ashraf, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, plans to use a 3D printing material similar to ancient Roman concrete. Roman concrete, while appearing similar to modern construction material, has several key differences that make it stronger and more durable. It is mixed with various rocks, large pieces of stone or rubble, and volcanic dust or ash, which create reactions when mixed with seawater. This results in a substance that is more resistant to cracks and breaks. In fact, Roman concrete continues to harden and strengthen for years, or even decades, after construction, making it one of the most durable building materials in human history.

It is these underwater characteristics of Roman concrete that interest Ashraf and her team. The saltwater-resistant material could potentially provide a long-lasting solution for repairing and rebuilding coral reefs. Furthermore, it poses less of a risk for environmental pollution compared to modern concrete or other solutions.

The team has already conducted successful tests by 3D printing small pieces of Roman concrete and submerging them underwater in Baffin Bay, a small inlet off the Gulf of Mexico. Barnacles have attached themselves to the new reef, demonstrating that the materials provide a suitable habitat for marine life. Additionally, the concrete has shown an increase in strength of 40% to 50% in seawater within just five months.

Interestingly, the Roman concrete used in this project carries the added bonus of being capable of capturing carbon dioxide, much like real coral does to build its skeleton. As a result, the Roman concrete coral reefs could potentially sequester thousands of tons of carbon under the ocean, offering coastal resilience and supporting marine habitat.

With a team of professionals and a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Ashraf and her team are determined to make a significant impact on preserving marine biodiversity worldwide. The project not only aims to repair and rebuild coral reefs but also seeks to address carbon sequestration and coastal resilience.

What do you think of the concept of Roman concrete reefs? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below or on our social media pages. Stay updated with the latest 3D printing news by signing up for our free weekly newsletter. Together, let’s work towards preserving our precious coral reefs and ensuring a sustainable future for our oceans.

Title: Dive into the Depths: Exploring the Wonders of the Ocean

Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the surface of the vast, mysterious ocean? The realm beneath the waves holds some of the most intriguing and captivating secrets of our planet. Join us on a virtual journey into the depths as we unveil the incredible wonders that reside in the aquatic world.

When it comes to exploring the ocean, visuals play a vital role in invoking a sense of awe and curiosity. That’s why we have created a sanctuary for all ocean enthusiasts on our YouTube channel. Come and immerse yourself in a collection of breathtaking videos that capture the beauty and diversity of our oceans.

As you browse through our channel, you’ll be transported to vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish and mesmerizing patterns. Through high-definition footage, you can witness the intricate dance of marine life that unfolds beneath the waves. From the quick and elusive movements of a graceful manta ray to the harmonious synergy between dolphins, every video showcases the magnificent tapestry of life that exists beneath the ocean’s surface.

Our YouTube channel is not just about stunning visuals; it’s an educational hub as well. Each video is accompanied by informative and engaging commentary, narrated by expert marine biologists. You’ll learn about the delicate balance of marine ecosystems, the fascinating behavior of various species, and the crucial conservation efforts being made to protect these underwater wonderlands. We believe that by sharing knowledge, we can inspire a deeper appreciation and concern for the ocean’s wellbeing.

At the heart of our videos are the incredible achievements and the ongoing research conducted by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). A special shoutout goes to them for generously sharing their cover photo with us, which underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in unraveling the ocean’s mysteries.

Our YouTube channel acts as a window to a world that few get the chance to witness firsthand. It allows us to bring you closer to the enchanting marine ecosystems that span across our planet. With every video, we hope to ignite a sense of wonder, inspire a desire for exploration, and foster a sense of responsibility towards our oceans.

So, if you find yourself yearning for a peek into the ocean’s depths or seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, head over to our YouTube channel. Let us take you on an awe-inspiring journey through the underwater realm, where adventure and beauty await at every turn. Together, let’s discover and protect the treasures of the deep blue sea.

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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Meet the mastermind behind GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.


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