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This research into 3D-printed materials could shape how buildings are constructed in the future

For Dr Phuong (Jonathan) Tran, senior lecturer in advanced manufacturing at RMIT University, the future of building materials comes from looking at what already exists in nature.

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“One of the objectives of our research group is to look into nature materials and learn how they’re structured and designed, and how they’ve evolved over millions of years to achieve structures that are very light, but with high performance,” Tran told create . “For example, take an abalone shell … It lives in a very harsh environment under the seabed and is subjected to pressure underwater and attack by predators. It evolves over millions of years to have an architecture that helps it to sustain in the harsh environment. And that’s where we should focus our learning.”

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While researchers have been studying biological structures for many years, Tran says in engineering this has typically been limited to the materials arena. “There’s […]

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