3D Printed Reefs

Large Scale 3D Printed Oyster Reef Structures for the North Sea

in 2017 RDL designed a series of 3D printed reef units for the WWF Netherlands oyster reef restoration research project in the North Sea. The units were 3D printed in Rotterdam by Boskalis using D-shape technology. 50 units were printed in sizes ranging from 50cm high to 120cm high and will be monitored over the coming years. This will be one of the largest research based projects assessing the effectiveness of the material and technology. 

 
 
Above photo by  Peter van Rodijnen, Dutch Maritime Productions; WWF-NL.

Above photo by Peter van Rodijnen, Dutch Maritime Productions; WWF-NL.

 

One of the main challenges for this project was how to design the units for simple deployment knowing we couldn’t include any steel reinforcement during the printing process. The obvious answer was to lift from the base but in a way that kept the units upright.

We were able to create a lifting geometry inside the unit that held the majority of mass from underneath while the habitat shelves in the design prevented the unit from flipping over. A fairly simple solution that worked perfectly with this type of printing process.

Concept sketches by Alex

 
WWF 3D Reef Sketches.Alex.Goad.jpg
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Above: One of the smaller 3D printed units is inspected by a diver in the North Sea 6 months after deployment. Photo by  Rob Aarsen

Above: One of the smaller 3D printed units is inspected by a diver in the North Sea 6 months after deployment. Photo by Rob Aarsen