Monthly Archives: January 2014

3D printing revisited: A soil model for experimenting

3DP_soil_AbertayIt is relatively straightforward to envision 3D printed EVOs (let’s call them Physical Environmental Models or PEMs) to be of use as concept and demonstration models in the environmental sciences. But how about stretching the scope further and using PEMs even for research and experimentation?

A team of scientists at Abertay University (UK) has already taken steps in this direction. They used ct scanning for obtaining the intricate 3D structure of soil and visualized it in the computer. Then they used powder bed 3D printing to produce a nylon model of the scanned soil volume that realistically traces the detailed structure of the soil. Their aim is to use this ‘articficial soil block’ for investigating microbial interactions in soil.

It seems it’s about time to sit back and start thinking about all the possibilities that making specific EVOs physical may offer to environmental sciences.