3D Printing

Manufacturers take a page from Mother Nature

By The Wall Street Journal

Nov 29, 2016

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When designers at Airbus Group SE and Autodesk Inc. sat down to re-engineer a divider for jetliner cabins, they found inspiration at low altitude: slime molds and animal bones.

The European aviation giant wanted a lighter, 3D-printed version of a partition mounted to a curved cabin wall that supports fold-down seats for flight attendants. The efficient way simple slime molds spread to seek food in forests and other places inspired designers, who eventually created a complex lattice of more than 60,000 tiny metal bars using a structure based on mammal bones.

Big manufacturers including Airbus, Boeing Co., General Electric Co., Daimler AG and Siemens AG are already 3D-printing metal parts, many with forms inspired by nature.

Read the full story at wsj.com.