Optimisation of 3D printed concrete for artificial reefs: biofouling and mechanical analysis

  • Published source details Ly O., Yoris-Nobile A.I., Sebaibi N., Blanco-Fernandez E., Boutouil M., Castro-Fresno D., Hall A.E., Herbert R.J.H., Deboucha W., Reis B., Franco J.N., Borges M.T., Sousa-Pinto I., van der Linden P. & Stafford R. (2021) Optimisation of 3D printed concrete for artificial reefs: biofouling and mechanical analysis. Construction and Building Materials, 272, 121649.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use environmentally-sensitive material on subtidal artificial structures

Action Link
Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures
  1. Use environmentally-sensitive material on subtidal artificial structures

    A replicated study (year not reported) on open coastlines in the English Channel, France and the UK, Matosinhos Bay, Portugal, and Santander Bay, Spain (Ly et al. 2021) reported that concrete mixes with different mortars and recycled aggregates supported different microalgal, macroalgal and invertebrate biomass, depending on the location, but results were not statistically tested. After six months, on average, settlement blocks with geopolymer mortar supported 6 g of algal and invertebrate biomass/block, while blocks with cement mortar supported 7–9 g/block. Biomass was 6–9 g/block with shell-sand aggregate, 6–8 g/block with limestone-sand, and 6–7 g/block with glass-sand. Results varied depending on the location (see paper for location-specific results). Concrete settlement blocks (160 × 40 × 40 mm) were 3D-printed with different mortar (geopolymer, cement) and recycled aggregates (limestone-sand, glass-sand, shell-sand). Nine blocks of each mortar-aggregate combination were attached horizontally to platforms at 1 m depth in each of France, the UK, Portugal and Spain (month/year not reported). Microalgal, macroalgal and invertebrate biomass (dry weight) on blocks was measured in the laboratory over six months.

    (Summarised by: Ally Evans)

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