Harvard University researchers have discovered a new method to 3D-print a cellular composite that’s lighter than wood yet stronger than concrete, using an epoxy resin. They were inspired by the microscopic structure of balsa – mostly hollow and in which only the cell walls are carrying the load – to build their new composite using an epoxy-based resin containing nanoclay platelets for increased viscosity. Continue reading for a video and more information.
According to Gizmag, “One very interesting feature is the fact that the researchers can control the exact stiffness of the material by changing the orientation of the fillers as needed. Orienting the silicon carbide whiskers perpendicularly to the direction which will face the most load makes the material stronger – for the same reason that it’s easier to chop wood longitudinally and not perpendicularly to its fibers.”