To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Effect of 3D printer enabled surface morphology and composition on coral growth in artificial reefs

Ilse Valenzuela Matus (Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Jorge Lino Alves (INEGI, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Joaquim Góis (CERENA, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Augusto Barata da Rocha (Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Rui Neto (INEGI, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Carlos Da Silva Mota (Fragário do Norte, Lobão, Portugal)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 29 March 2021

Issue publication date: 4 June 2021

211

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to prove and qualify the influence of textured surface substrates morphology and chemical composition on the growth and propagation of transplanted corals. Use additive manufacturing and silicone moulds for converting three-dimensional samples into limestone mortar with white Portland cement substrates for coral growth.

Design/methodology/approach

Tiles samples were designed and printed with different geometries and textures inspired by nature marine environment. Commercial coral frag tiles were analysed through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to identify the main chemical elements. Raw materials and coral species were selected. New base substrates were manufactured and deployed into a closed-circuit aquarium to monitor the coral weekly evolution process and analyse the results obtained.

Findings

Experimental results provided positive statistical parameters for future implementation tests, concluding that the intensity of textured surface, interfered favourably in the coralline algae biofilm growth. The chemical composition and design of the substrates were determinant factors for successful coral propagation. Recesses and cavities mimic the natural rocks aspect and promoted the presence and interaction of other species that favour the richness of the ecosystem.

Originality/value

Additive manufacturing provided an innovative method of production for ecology restoration areas, allowing rapid prototyping of substrates with high complexity morphologies, a critical and fundamental attribute to guarantee coral growth and Crustose Coralline Algae. The result of this study showed the feasibility of this approach using three-dimensional printing technologies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (LNEG) for providing the limestone used in this work.

Citation

Matus, I.V., Lino Alves, J., Góis, J., Barata da Rocha, A., Neto, R. and Da Silva Mota, C. (2021), "Effect of 3D printer enabled surface morphology and composition on coral growth in artificial reefs", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 692-706. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-07-2020-0165

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles