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Article

Open-Source Script for Design and 3D Printing of Porous Structures for Soil Science

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Université de Lorraine, ERPI, F-54000 Nancy, France
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Université de Lorraine-CNRS, GeoRessources, F-54000 Nancy, France
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Université de Lorraine-CNRS, LRGP, F-54000 Nancy, France
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INRAE, BEF, F-54000 Nancy, France
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INRAE, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris iEES-Paris, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, F-75005 Paris, France
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Université de Lorraine-INRAE, Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, F-54500 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France
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Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Western University, London, ON N6A 5B9, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pietro Zanuttigh
Technologies 2021, 9(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies9030067
Received: 14 July 2021 / Revised: 7 September 2021 / Accepted: 9 September 2021 / Published: 15 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Open Source Agriculture Technology)
Three-dimensional (3D) printing in soil science is relatively rare but offers promising directions for research. Having 3D-printed soil samples will help academics and researchers conduct experiments in a reproducible and participatory research network and gain a better understanding of the studied soil parameters. One of the most important challenges in utilizing 3D printing techniques for soil modeling is the manufacturing of a soil structure. Until now, the most widespread method for printing porous soil structures is based on scanning a real sample via X-ray tomography. The aim of this paper is to design a porous soil structure based on mathematical models rather than on samples themselves. This can allow soil scientists to design and parameterize their samples according to their desired experiments. An open-source toolchain is developed using a Lua script, in the IceSL slicer, with graphical user interface to enable researchers to create and configure their digital soil models, called monoliths, without using meshing algorithms or STL files which reduce the resolution of the model. Examples of monoliths are 3D-printed in polylactic acid using fused filament fabrication technology with a layer thickness of 0.20, 0.12, and 0.08 mm. The images generated from the digital model slicing are analyzed using open-source ImageJ software to obtain information about internal geometrical shape, porosity, tortuosity, grain size distribution, and hydraulic conductivities. The results show that the developed script enables designing reproducible numerical models that imitate soil structures with defined pore and grain sizes in a range between coarse sand (from 1 mm diameter) to fine gravel (up to 12 mm diameter). View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D printing; additive manufacturing; soil structure; open-source; modeling; slicing; open-source image processing software 3D printing; additive manufacturing; soil structure; open-source; modeling; slicing; open-source image processing software
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bedell, R.; Hassan, A.; Tinet, A.-J.; Arrieta-Escobar, J.; Derrien, D.; Dignac, M.-F.; Boly, V.; Ouvrard, S.; Pearce, J.M. Open-Source Script for Design and 3D Printing of Porous Structures for Soil Science. Technologies 2021, 9, 67. https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies9030067

AMA Style

Bedell R, Hassan A, Tinet A-J, Arrieta-Escobar J, Derrien D, Dignac M-F, Boly V, Ouvrard S, Pearce JM. Open-Source Script for Design and 3D Printing of Porous Structures for Soil Science. Technologies. 2021; 9(3):67. https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies9030067

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bedell, Romain, Alaa Hassan, Anne-Julie Tinet, Javier Arrieta-Escobar, Delphine Derrien, Marie-France Dignac, Vincent Boly, Stéphanie Ouvrard, and Joshua M. Pearce 2021. "Open-Source Script for Design and 3D Printing of Porous Structures for Soil Science" Technologies 9, no. 3: 67. https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies9030067

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