Great Barrier Reef – 3D Printing to the Rescue

Just because someone says there’s no such thing as climate change, doesn’t mean it’s true. Unfortunately there are too many examples of climate change reality. Perhaps the saddest is the Great Barrier Reef.  Stretching over 1,400 miles and visible from space, the coral reef has long been one of earth’s most breathtaking sights. Rising water temperatures and pollution are increasingly having an impact on the reef.  When coral gets stressed it loses its color.  So, instead of this…

great-barrier-reef-1
Getty Images

We may eventually have 1,400 miles of this to behold…

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AFP

Scientists have been working to save reefs all over the world by providing structures for coral to build upon. They’ve sunk ships and placed concrete blocks to encourage new growth. Rather unsightly solutions, until covered by beautiful coral, that is. Scientists at the University of Sydney are working on something better. They’re leveraging 3D scanning technology to identify gaps in the reef that need support, then 3D modeling structures that mimic the architecture of the reef itself. And finally they 3D print and install sections of the reef to provide a habitat for fish and a surface for the coral to grown on.

Hopefully this technology of the future can prevent the Great Barrier Reef from becoming something from our past.

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