white glass architecture building

The New Look of Architecture: 3D-Printed Lattices

Light Construction Materials of the Future

It has now become practically impossible to develop stiffer designs after you see these 3D printed family of architectures that maximizes the stiffness of porous lightweight materials.

For lightweight construction, it is important that construction materials be made of internal components that are both light and with a degree of complexity, yet robust to be of maximum efficiency. 3D printing and other additive production techniques have now made it possible to manufacture materials with internal structures of previously unimaginable complexity.

A research team from ETH Zurich and MIT has developed and fabricated material architectures that are equally strong in all three dimensions, and that are simultaneously extremely stiff. They were able to show that it’s possible to determine mathematically in theory just how stiff materials with internal voids can become. For this research, the scientists are aiming to come up with stronger latticework. A characteristic feature of the design is that the stiffness in the material’s interior is achieved through plate-lattices rather than trusses.

Latticework is an openwork framework consisting of a criss-crossed pattern of strips of building material, typically wood or metal; the design is created by crossing the strips to form a grid or weave. Trusses, on the other hand, consist of triangular units constructed with straight members; the ends of these members are connected at joints, known as nodes which are able to carry significant loads.

Trusses are old designs, long been used, such as in the Eiffel Tower, and they are perceived to be lightweight. The scientists were able to use computer calculations, theory and experimental measurements, to establish a new family of plate-lattice structures that are up to three times stiffer than truss-lattices of the same weight and volume. They are not just stiff, approaching theoretical maximum values, but are also strong.

Via 3D printing, a micrometre scale was produced from plastic having all the constituent materials on all length scales that are universally applicable – from the very small to the very large.

Architectural Advances in Seattle

We at 3D Composites anticipate the advent of such fine advances in architecture where latticework is concerned. However, for now, when you have some need for parts or tools for construction purposes and you think they can be 3D printed, come see us, your experienced 3D company in Seattle.