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biomimicry for biological & emergent systems

source biomimicry institute

inge holsbeeks

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of biomimicry for biological & emergent systems

1. Nature runs on sunlight.
2. Nature uses only the energy it needs.
3. Nature fits form to function.
4. Nature recycles everything.
5. Nature rewards cooperation.
6. Nature banks on diversity.
7. Nature demands local expertise.
8. Nature curbs excesses from within.
9. Nature taps the power of limits.
founding principles
“the copying or imitation of a natural phenomenon's or environment's efficiency and survival mechanisms in manufacturing processes or in applied case-based reasoning.”
Emulating natural forms, processes, and systems to give sustainable solutions to today’s problems.

A new way of viewing and valuing nature. Nature is a teacher rather than a collection of resources available for extraction.

Nature is the judge, determining the ecological rightness of human innovations.


NATURE as...
1997 - Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature

1998 - Biomimicry Guild founded (for-profit)

2005 - Biomimicry Institute founded (non-profit)
biomimicry addresses the design of products,
rather than how products are used.
Before aerodynamics of the airplane wing were understood, humans
tried to recreate the bird’s flight system through direct imitation.

Though it took several attempts to lead to successful human
flight, the source for initial inspiration and ideas was found in nature.
It is a natural instinct to copy what works
if the way it is working is apparent.
Eastgate Center
* Ventilation system based on termite mounds

* Adopting this system cuts ventilation costs by 90% when compared to conventional HVAC systems.

* Building maintenance accounts for 40% of all energy used by humans (Biomimicry Institute).

*HVAC costs are practically eliminated
Harare, Zimbabwe
Bullet train : Kingfisher
* The pressure change is similar to that of a kingfisher when transitioning from air to water.

* The nose of the train is modeled after the beak of a kingfisher to eliminate the sonic boom that occurs when the train emerges from a tunnel.

* Reduced electricity by 15%, even when traveling 10% faster than before.
Tubercules were added along the leading edge of wind turbine blades.

This bio-inspired design improved lift by 8%, reduced drag by 32% and increased the angle of attack by 40%.
Windturbines : Humpback Whale Fins
a well-balanced system
ecosystems out of balance: the red fox comes to Australia
Natural ecosystems cannot process the excess
carbon dioxide created by human industry.
invasion of human populations: there will always be some disruption due to the differing social, economic, political, spatial, and environmental needs between humans and other species
By looking at natural models for consuming carbon dioxide, systems can be designed to restore balance in the ecosystem and reduce excess concentration in the atmosphere.
Inspired by coral and seashells...
concrete that uses carbon dioxide
instead of producing it.
starter motor model
goods and services
local action
expanding human, material, and organizational resource base
new goods and services
Aga Khan Rural Support Program & Biomimicry
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of
thinking we used when we created them.”
- Albert Einstein
fundamental differences
The theory proposes that the more human the human world functions like the natural world functions like the natural world, the more likely it is to survive.
This logic is faulty, because nature copes in a fundamentally different way than humans do.
Natural and human technologies are separated by differences in fundamental shapes and mechanical aspects.
the design process:
right angles
dry and stiff
hinges slide and connect through joints
engines expand or spin
wet and flexible
hinges bend
engines contract and slide
Human products:
tools and techniques
manufactured and assembled
create waste
macroscopic level
attention given to physical and functional characteristics
Natural products:
physical characteristics
consume by-products
microscopic level
attention given to chemical make-up and physiological characteristics
Considerations should be made as to whether biomimicry is an appropriate and realistic approach.
The scale, structure, or weight of a natural solution may not adapt accordingly to the human counterpart.
Nature evolved slowly within the context of ecosystems
The rate of environmental deterioration does not allow endless opportunities for experimentation
It is imperative to install and practice environmentally friendly solutions now
Biomimicry Institute and all other advocators need to bridge the gap between user and product.
Biomimicry should be viewed as part of an approach to sustainability, rather than an approach in itself.
A sustainable future will not rely on one single approach, but rather the consolidation of sustainable ideas. It is the responsibility of organizations to shift their goals towards a collaborative approach to a sustainable future.
Nature is inspiration and initiate in the design process
Considerations of the problem context should determine the best solution
Consumer choice and human practice should work in tandem with the design, use, and manufacturing of products and processes.
model and solution
If the general consumer fails to understand the product, then a good intention falls short of success
focuses too heavily on the design of a physical product and the education of designers and engineers
falls short in stage of local action
considering human behavior
Shark-skin swim suite
Shark-skin surfaces for fluid-drag reduction in turbulent flow
Drag reduction of nearly 10% in optimal design h/s 0,5
recent 'swimming improvements'
Bird protection glass
Why are spiderwebs not destroyed by birds?
Why do so many birds crash on glass windows?
Self-cleaning surface of lotus leaf
microstructure and substructure
Applicable for:
solar panels
Cleaning with dielectric forces
technological application - no example of biomimicry
Patankar (2004): Mimicking the lotus leaf effect.
Calculations on structures
Neinhuis and Barthlott (1997): Characterization and Distribution of Water-repellent, Self-cleaning Plant Surfaces
Gecko tape
microstructure of Gecko feet -> adhesive tape
Geim et al. (2003)
Davies et al. (2009): synthetic gecko tape
Box fish
box fish resistance
how measured?
car design
Bartol et al. (2005): Body-induced vortical flows: a common mechanism for self-corrective trimming control in boxfishes
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