3D printed ceramic tiles will save coral reefs from extinction

Coral reefs have been threatened with extinction for many years. A solution to this problem was proposed by scientists from the University of Hong Kong. Using 3D printing technology, they created special mosaic tiles that are supposed to be placed at the bottom of shallow water areas.

As a result, structures can be created that resemble a natural reef. And coral polyps can freely colonize it. The tiles do not exceed several tens of centimeters in diameter and are made from terracotta clay on a 3D printer. After high-temperature firing, moisture-resistant elements are obtained, which can be grouped in any quantity.

As part of the experiment, scientists combined 128 of these tiles, which became the basis for the future reef in the Hong Kong Marine Park. The resulting design will be monitored for several years. After that, it will be possible to evaluate the success of this approach, which, in contrast to the use of analogs made of metal, promises better coral survival and compliance with strict environmental requirements.