Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

In July 2020, news broke of a group of researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) installing the world’s first 3D printed terracotta artificial coral reef(s) at Hong Kong’s Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park. The reefs’ 128 hexagonal tiles span a total area of circa 40 square metres across 3 sites: the Marine Park’s Coral Beach, Moon Island, and a bay near the WWF Marine Life Centre. Hong Kong’s Marine Park is home to more than three-quarters of Hong Kong’s reef-building corals, but their future is at risk due to bioerosion and coral bleaching (amongst other issues).

Terracotta was chosen as the tiles’ material as the team decided that it would be better suited to the conditions of Hong Kong’s subtropical waters, as opposed to concrete or plastic. In addition, the tiles are perforated to avoid the risk of sediment building up and suffocating the corals. The team intends to develop new tile designs to further their restoration efforts; it is also hoped that the success of the project’s early stages will encourage other cities to preserve and restore their coral reefs as well.

The world’s largest 3D printed coral reef was installed in the Maldives in August 2018, comprising 220 3D printed ceramic moulds that were filled with concrete and slotted together. India’s first 3D printed coral reef was installed circa July 2019; it was named Bennington’s Reef in honour of former Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, who sadly committed suicide in July 2017.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “Coral Reef” is the work of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.