Can you really rebuild a coral reef with 3D printing?

Posted on: 20/08/2018

Event looking at applications of additive manufacturing that require small scale printing

KTN’s Additive Manufacturing Special Interest Group (SIG) is collaborating with the Emerging Technology and Industries Team to bring you an event to explore the applications of small and micro scale additive manufacturing or 3D printing.

The event will look at three themes:

  • Electronics / Flexible electronics
  • Medical
  • Fashion /Jewellery

Potential application areas of Small Scale AM include Organic LEDs, Organic Photovoltaic, bone tissue printing, and wearables with use in many industries from construction to health, fashion to transport. Furthermore, we will look at emerging technologies in AM, such as bio printing, nature inspired AM to give an outlook into the future.

One application you are unlikely to have considered is how 3D printing could be used to rebuild coral reef ecosystems. But that’s exactly what Dr Jon Chamberlain and Dr Louis Clift from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex will present their striking research on.

“Coral reefs are in danger of being lost within the next 30 years, and with them the ecosystems they support. This catastrophe will not only see the extinction of many marine species, but also create a humanitarian crisis on a global scale. Reef restoration projects can take many years for meaningful recovery due to the slow recruitment of species to unnatural structures that do not replicate the complexity of coral reefs.‚Äù

“We propose to rebuild and augment coral reefs using 3D printing of highly complex structures in natural materials.”

David Fletcher, Precious Metal AM Business Manager at jewellery supplier CooksonGold will present the opportunities and challenges within the industry. He said: “The AM of precious metals is gaining traction within industrial and jewellery industries with many companies now starting to adopt or consider the technology.”

As well as hearing from a great line-up of speakers, there is the opportunity to have one-to-one sessions with colleagues from Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network to advise on funding and how you can integrate additive manufacturing and emerging technologies to accelerate your business.

More speakers are being added to the programme but interest is already very high for this event so early booking is advised. It takes place in Birmingham on the 16th October, 10am – 5pm. Click here to register for free.

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