For example, an abalone shell is stronger than high-tech ceramics because of its internal structure. Diatom shells are made of silica (glass), but they are extremely strong because of their stress-distributing pattern of holes.
Like nature, 3-D printers can excel at building complex structures from simple materials, said Benyus. Both use an additive process, meaning larger pieces are built up from smaller ones.
In contrast, conventional industrial manufacturing is typically subtractive: Pieces are cut out of rolls of prefashioned material, or extracted from natural resources like ore or timber. The problem with that approach is it creates a lot of waste. A leaf isn’t cut out of a roll of green stuff.
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