Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Coralizing Surfaces

Layering calcium through electrolysis

Published onDec 09, 2019
Coralizing Surfaces

Towards Seacrete Archipelago

The world is set in the future where reef technology outgrown its restoration purpose and transforming into colonies of self-sustaining seacrete archipelago within the Southeast Asian sea.

These paradise islands are floating upon a system of autonomous reef growing technology where conductive structure is perpetually printed, charged, precipitated and grown by the constant fragmentation of coral polyps.

Sci-Fi Inspirations

Source Victoria, Diamond Age:

Self-Assembling City From the Sea, Wolf Hilbertz:


Initial experiments with the electrolysis process, inspired by the Biorock technology invented by Wolf Hilbertz and Thomas Goreau. The aim of the experiments is the familiarize myself with the process and science of biorock and testings of materials and process parameters.

Biorock Process

Image source:

From the initial experiment, using aluminium as the anode, while still producing toxic chlorine and hydrogen gas, provides the best result of calcium carbonate accretion to the cathode structure.

Simultaneously, I’ve also acquired 5 specimens of Astrangia corals from the Rotjan Marine Ecology Lab in Boston University.


Study of the modular surface of Schoen’s Batwing minimal surface model as a prototype.

The prototype model is a single module in 3d-printed wireframe of the surface wrapped with aluminium mesh as the conductive cathode surfaces for the electrolysis process.


Time lapse video of the 10 hours electrolysis process:


After about 20+ hours of electrolysis process, clumps of calcium precipitation are present and accumulated unevenly across the aluminium mesh.

Conclusion- A Talk with Thomas Goreau

The prototype is still a research/ experiment-in-process of the concept. Towards the end of the prototyping, I’m also fortunate enough to have a discussion with Thomas Goreau, president of the Biorock technology inc, and get some feedback on the project.

To take the project further, he recommended to conduct the experiment in a bigger and better circulating tank environment as a small closed system isn't sufficient enough to circulate the toxic product of the electrolysis process which is detrimental to the corals. Also it is not recommended to use aluminium as both anode and cathode since it is prone to be eroded easily and fast. Some materials from the Biorock technology company could also be provided if the experiment is to be taken further..

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?