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3D printing improves potential of physical modelling

shutterstock 560236789 3 d printing

Use of 3D printing is opening up new potential for physical modelling of geotechnical issues.

A number of presenters at the the 9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics in London yesterday outlined how 3D printing was aiding advances in centrifuge modelling.

EBP project engineer Dionysis Stathas said that 3D printing was an easy and low-cost tool. He presented work that looked at the use of concave segmental retaining walls with the wall elements and geogrids created using 3D printing to create scale models for centrifuge testing. The research showed that concave walls offer higher performance than conventional vertical or inclined walls.

University of Dundee discipline lead for civil engineering Jonathan Knappett presented research that used 3D printed vegetation root systems to look at the potential stabilising effects of roots on slopes compared to conventional piled solutions. His research team is using polymers to 3D print models for centrifuge testing which is showing that low shrubs could be better at stabilising shorter slopes but piles remain more effective on taller slopes.

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