3D-printing and Biomimicry Combined In New Material Design
Aerospace engineers at the Technicon-Israel Institute of Technology have used 3D-printing to experiment with the design of new materials inspired by fish scales.
Assistant professor Stephan Rudykh, head of mechanics at the soft materials lab, set out to design a new material that mimicking fish scales and their combination of strength and flexibility, two properties that are usually competitive in the design of human objects.
Rudykh observed that fish had soft tissue underneath hard scales. His design mimics that with a soft layer covered by an armour material.
A process of exploration and experimentation with different material structures was enabled by 3D-printing, which Rudykh became familiar with while working at MIT.
By Rudykh’s own admission, the final application of the material is unclear. However, the development of this material is an illustration of the design benefits of both biomimicry and 3D-printing.