California-based architecture firm Emerging Objects has used a 3-D printer to produce a structural column, which they say can withstand the impact of an earthquake.
Named ‘Quake Column’, the pillar is made from 3-D printed cement bricks that have been designed using CAD tools to fit together in a vertical structure, without the need for mortar or rebar.
The bricks are hollow, creating a high strength-to-weight ratio, while their interlocked arrangement prevents any horizontal movement in the column, helping it to stay stable during seismic shocks.
Emerging Objects came up with the shake-resistant structure during a material exploration that experimented using sawdust, ground-up tires, salt, and pulverized bone as construction materials.
According to the architects, the technique used to build the Quake Column could be expanded to fabricate building code compliant, load-bearing walls.
The team is currently working on increasing the tensile strength of their materials using reinforcement fibers.