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Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of Buildings


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This chapter systematically analyzes the existing literature on bio-inspired materials used in architecture, construction, and building design. Imitating nature accounts for an effective strategy for designing innovative buildings. Integrating this biomimicry strategy into the design process generates benefits for both designers and the natural environment, as bio-inspired designs can contribute to sustainability. Mimicking nature, various biomimetic approaches have produced environmentally friendly, innovative, smart, or intelligent materials for buildings. This literature review demonstrates that researchers and designers are significantly inspired by animals’, plants’, or microorganisms’ innovative biological systems (functions, structures, and processes) in order to design bio-inspired materials for increasing energy efficiency of the buildings. However, the range of innovative bio-inspired materials is not broad, and most of the published research seems to be about one-off cases. The chapter first introduces the systematic literature research methodology used for analyzing the current knowledge of architectural bio-inspired materials. Current research on bio-inspired materials used in architectural and building science is reviewed, and a new classification scheme for clustering relevant data is presented. These innovative materials serve different functions in buildings. This classification scheme enables a new synthesis of existing knowledge based on the multi-functionality of currently developed bio-inspired building. The chapter concludes by substantiating the argument that “there is no systematic and general workflow for data mining innovative building design/construction concepts from biological processes.” Overall, then, this research suggests that there is a need for a bio-architectural workflow assisting scientists and designers to find the relevant organisms in nature as the source of inspiration for innovative design.
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Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of
Biology to Energy Efficiency of Buildings
Marzieh Imani, Michael Donn, and Zahra Balador
Introduction ....................................................................................... 2
Method ............................................................................................ 3
Search Process ................................................................................ 3
Selection Criteria .............................................................................. 4
Summary of Papers Selected: The PearlMethod of Expanding the Search . . . . . . . ....... 6
Classication of Bio-Inspired Materials Based on Biological Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 9
Bio-Inspired Materials for Natural Recycling .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 9
Bio-Inspired Materials Imitating OrganismsMicro/Macrostructure or Patterns ............ 11
Bio-Inspired Materials Imitating OrganismsFunction . ..................................... 13
Bio-Inspired Materials Imitating Biological Processes ....................................... 18
Conclusions and Further Outlook . .. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 19
References .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. . 20
This chapter systematically analyzes the existing literature on bio-inspired
materials used in architecture, construction, and building design. Imitating nature
accounts for an effective strategy for designing innovative buildings. Integrating
this biomimicry strategy into the design process generates benets for both
designers and the natural environment, as bio-inspired designs can contribute to
sustainability. Mimicking nature, various biomimetic approaches have produced
environmentally friendly, innovative, smart, or intelligent materials for buildings.
This literature review demonstrates that researchers and designers are signicantly
inspired by animals, plants, or microorganismsinnovative biological systems
(functions, structures, and processes) in order to design bio-inspired materials for
increasing energy efciency of the buildings. However, the range of innovative
M. Imani (*) · M. Donn · Z. Balador
School of Architecture and Design, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
#Springer International Publishing AG 2018
L. M. T. Martínez et al. (eds.), Handbook of Ecomaterials,
bio-inspired materials is not broad, and most of the published research seems
to be about one-off cases. The chapter rst introduces the systematic literature
research methodology used for analyzing the current knowledge of architectural
bio-inspired materials. Current research on bio-inspired materials used in archi-
tectural and building science is reviewed, and a new classication scheme for
clustering relevant data is presented. These innovative materials serve different
functions in buildings. This classication scheme enables a new synthesis of
existing knowledge based on the multi-functionality of currently developed bio-
inspired building. The chapter concludes by substantiating the argument that
there is no systematic and general workow for data mining innovative building
design/construction concepts from biological processes.Overall, then, this
research suggests that there is a need for a bio-architectural workow assisting
scientists and designers to nd the relevant organisms in nature as the source of
inspiration for innovative design.
Biomimicry has been proposed as a means of merging environment into design
projects in order to achieve principles of sustainability [1] and innovation. The labels
bionic, biomimetic, and biomimicry have been used interchangeably in recent
research. However, there is a ne line between bionic, biomimetic, and biomimicry.
Biomimetic (and its associated noun biomimicry) is proposed as a descriptor for
articial mechanisms to produce materials with performance similar to materials
that exist in nature [94], while bionic is more related to cyberneticsand articial
intelligence [2,3]. Biotechnology as a term refers to a form of biomimicry using
biological systems for industrial processes or using any type of biological organisms
to benet human or human surroundings [4]; in other words, natural solutions are
applied in technological practice to solve human problems [5]. In this chapter,
biomimicry or biomimetic as general terms refers to any type of bio-inspired design
approaches which imitate natures approach [94].
Some authors state that biomimicry promises improvement in the environmental
conditions in buildings [610]. Construction technology has experienced a dramatic
development in the use of bio-inspired materials. Around 0.25% of all known natural
organisms have a current application in the industry [11]. Mimicking structural,
behavioral, functional, and morphological aspects of natural organisms can lead to
numerous types of bio-inspired materials all introducing new methods for structural
design, thermal insulation, waterproong, etc.
Abderrazak El Albani et al. suggest that multicellular organisms have been able to
adapt themselves to the environmental conditions and threats for over 2.1 billion
years [12]. A part of biomimetic science focuses on nding ways organisms have
found to survive. From these, biomimicry promises lessons learned about energy
efciency that can be applied to buildings. Some of these lessons suggest materials
with high thermal performance. For example, buildingsfaçades play a signicant
role in exchanging and storing energy as a lter moderating energy ows between
2 M. Imani et al.
the internal and external environment. Great improvement in thermal performance
of buildings is achieved by imitating nature and considering building façades as
like the skins on living organisms. Even though conventional façade technologies
have partly fullled energy exchange mechanisms, the contemporary biomimetic
approach has opened new avenues for creating innovative materials which effec-
tively contribute to thermal comfort. Likewise, conventional materials such as
concrete and glass are being replaced by bio-inspired materials. Natural patterns
such as honeycombs and soap bubbles structural congurations have recently
inspired the creation of construction membranes described by Peters as innovative
textile membranes[11].
Basically, the energy performance motivation behind most bio-inspired materials
is to either reduce the energy consumption spent on the whole material production
process and recycling systems or to improve buildingsenergy performance. The
manufacturing process of articial materials such as mining, rening, and coating
described by Janine Benyus as heat, beat, and treat[5]consumes a signicant
amount of energy.
The contribution of biomimetic innovation to sustainability can be broadly
classied as following two different strategies: bottom-up and top-down. The rst
strategy studies a biological mechanism and then forms a technological solution.
This bottom-up approach is described by Gruber et al. as solution-orientedor
biomimetics by induction[13]. The second strategy identies a technical inquiry
in a specic area of knowledge. Gruber et al. describes this as problem-orientedor
biomimetics by analogy[13]. Investigating a biological solution for this inquiry
necessitates data mining process in biological science.
This chapter addresses two issues: it examines a catalogue of bio-inspired mate-
rials identifying their strengths, potentials, and limitations and it also investigates
whether the top-down strategy might be formulated into a general framework for
mining biological science for building design inspiration.
Using a systematic literature review (SLR) process, this chapter looks to establish
whether there are examples of the application of biomimetic principles in architec-
tural/building design. In this chapter, the process is used to examine the potential for
mining the biological sciences for bio-inspired principles that can be transformed
into architectural principles for the purpose of innovation. To accomplish the SLR, a
formalized search process is used that derives conclusions which can be considered
trustworthy [14]. The required steps in this process are documented below:
Search Process
The following literature databases have been recognized useful by recent studies and
were searched in the preparation of the base material for this systematic review:
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 3
ProQuest:... is recognized as one of the three major databases used by
academic institutions[15].
Emerald: covers the major computer science subjects [16] and covers the portfo-
lio of around 300 journals.
Scopus: is known as the most extensive database on science and technology [17].
PubMed: has the capability to interlink all databases containing biotechnology
information [18].
Google Scholar (GS): covers a large number of sources, including some of the
IEEE Xplore: allows for a more precise search using efcient search lters.
•“Wiley, Springer Link, and Taylor and Francis (T & F)databases were also
searched; apparently only around 68 percent of Springer links content [19], one-
third of Wileys documents, and one-fth of Taylor and Francispublished
articles are covered by Google Scholar [20].
The search was keyword based. Keywords were sought in the full text, and the
search took place between 1st and 5th of October 2017. In each database, search
terms were made consistent to focus the search process on the research scope. The
databases were scanned three times with ve different sets of keywords since bio-
inspired materials in architectural science are also referred to as eco materials,
biomaterials,or smart materials.
In addition to these separate synonyms which were the main keywords,the
keywords searched for were:
A: Main keyword þbuilding,
B: Main keyword þbuilding þbiomimicry
C: Main keyword þbuilding þbiomimetic
D:Mainkeywordþbuilding þbiomimicry NOT Robot NOT Aircraft NOT Medicine
NOT Polymer NOT Protein NOT Medical NOT Organ NOT Pharmaceutics NOT
Drug NOT Tissue Engineering
E:Mainkeywordþbuilding þbiomimetic NOT Robot NOT Aircraft NOT Medicine
NOT Polymer NOT Protein NOT Medical NOT Organ NOT Pharmaceutics NOT
Drug NOT Tissue Engineering
Only items D and E in this keyword search list focus on the topic of this chapter.
As can be seen in Table 1, without the terms that exclude references not related to
buildings, the main keywords identify many irrelevant references.
Selection Criteria
Very few publications focused precisely on bio-inspired materials in architecture.
Most articles published on the subject of biomimicry and architecture include only a
4 M. Imani et al.
considerably small section in which materials of biological origins are introduced.
Most of these focus on the following topics, so biomaterials are not core to their
content: ow of material through industrial society for the aim of implementing
sustainability in construction and manufacturing, social sustainability and the con-
servation economy, high-quality recycling of construction and demolition, sustain-
able cities, urban metabolism, creativity in education, life cycle analysis, and
biomimicry in landscape and infrastructure.
Biomaterial is a popular word in the following disciplines: biomedical engin-
eering, medicine, tissue engineering, cell biology, polymer science, dentistry, bio-
chemistry, pharmacology, and microbiology. Smart materialsare widely used in
aerodynamics, robotic, and medical applications. Consequently, the searches D and E
applied a ltration process which removed polymer, protein, tissue engineering,
drug, pharmaceutics, medical, organ, robot, aircraft, and medicinefrom the search
process. The gray cells in Table 1show the selected articles.
Table 1 Search terms within the databases (Date of last search: 15 October 2017)
Biomaterials Eco materials Smart materials Bio-inspired
87 K
660 k
T & F
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 5
Summary of Papers Selected: The PearlMethod of Expanding the
The references section of all papers has also been checked for nding the most
relevant articles. This is an application of the pearl method: ensuring that when
relevant references are found, they form the pearlaround which other references
The integrated results for ve sets of keywords (consisting of a total of 1730
papers) were initially screened by looking at the title, abstract, and author-generated
keywords to ensure relevance. This was to exclude irrelevant papers or duplicates.
Nine hundred articles were removed from the list at the rst step. The remaining 830
articles were reviewed in more depth leaving only 200 papers for detailed examina-
tion. On review, only 50 percent of these were excluded for the following reasons
(Fig. 1):
1. There is no line between material and structure in nature as the essence of any
material (e.g., bone, collagen, wood) is the microscopic structure and it is almost
impossible to differentiate structureand materialin natural organisms [21].
Considering this fact, innovative bio-inspired building envelopes can also be
regarded as bio-inspired material but of course in a very large scale called textile
membrane[9]. This type of bio-inspiration is not included in this chapter. Even
novel architectural membranes inspired by biological construction process (e.g.,
underwater reinforced web construction of water spider) or structural properties
of natural composite materials (e.g., ber orientation in insect cuticle) are not
included [22].
2. Materials in nature are used efciently in complicated forms. Imitating this
process, rapid prototyping (RP) in architecture emulates the layer by layer
deposition of materials in a hierarchical structure to improve materialsefciency.
Variable property modeling (VPM) as a bio-inspired fabrication approach for
designing building components is introduced by [23,24]. Created surfaces using
RP manufacturing technology, however, can also be regarded as bio-inspired
materials in the form of a textile membrane”–but are not included in this
chapter as the materials used for prototyping are articial (e.g., plastics).
3. Sometimes natural organisms are utilized in building envelopes without being
even combined with other materials including perhaps articial polymers during
the manufacturing process. For example, in some biological building envelopes,
natural materials improve the ltration/extraction process through which pollut-
ant and volatile compounds are sucked out leaving the interior spaces with
puried air [25]. The direct use of natural materials also contributes to thermal
insulation. For example, Spinifex grasses are a biological material well known for
their resilient leaves [26]. From an architectural point of view, this type of grass is
used for cladding timber frame shade structures and is used also as an adhesive
material in plugging water vessels. Even though the innovative use of such
biological materials shows an efcient climatic response to the rain, wind, and
high temperature, they are not considered as innovative bio-inspired materials in
this chapter.
6 M. Imani et al.
Fig. 1 Different types of bio-inspired building envelopes (not considered in this research)
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 7
4. In very rare cases, natural organisms themselves are responsible for making the
textile membranein architectural design. For example, in Silk Pavilion [27], a
3D printer has been used to fabricate a lightweight scaffold. By controlling the
environmental factors, silkworms are guided to fabricate the whole structure
similar to their cocoon in terms of ber arrangements and silk deposition. These
types of bio-inspired materials are also omitted from this research.
Omitting above four types of bio-inspired materials as they could be considered
more related to bio-inspired building envelopes the literature review suggests that
bio-inspired materials used in buildings can fall into four major categories: (1) using
natural materials in the manufacturing process for better recycling as well as
mimicking (2) structural properties, (3) functions, and (4) biological processes of
natural organisms. Each individual approach yields innovative sustainable outcomes
(Fig. 2). More importantly not even one study explained a process by which
researchers found the source of inspiration in nature in order to develop an innova-
tive building material which means there is no generalised and systematised proce-
dure for mining bio-databases.
Fig. 2 Classication of bio-inspired materials
8 M. Imani et al.
Classification of Bio-Inspired Materials Based on Biological
Bio-inspired materials for recycling can be classied into two major groups: (1)
bioplastics and (2) biocomposites. Bio-inspired materials which imitate organisms
micro/macrostructure or patterns show either (1) load-bearing behavior or (2) ther-
mal behavior. Imitating organismsfunction has inspired materials with (1) intelli-
gent response mechanism known as smart materials mainly used for enabling
movement or thermal regulation, self-cleaning and self-healing, and vibration resis-
tance and (2) waterproong or water harvesting mechanism. Bio-inspired materials
which imitate biological process can be divided into two interrelated and almost
similar categories: (1) growing and (2) reproductive materials.
Researchers in biomaterials study nature following a scale-based approach. Either
macro-, micro-, or nano-scales of imitation ultimately contribute to the energy
efciency of buildings. These types of approaches result in energy efcient and
environmental-friendly construction.
Biomimicry (imitating organismsfunctions, structures, and processes) mainly
focuses at the micro- and macroscale levels of imitation. Nanotechnology can also be
considered as a type of biomimetic design method focusing at nanoscale level of
imitation. Bio-inspired nanostructured materials are founded as nanocomposites (a
mixture of conventional materials with nanomaterials) or as nano-engineered mate-
rials both structurally modied at nanoscale level [28]. For example, imitating
crystallization of natural materials such as mineralized skeleton, researchers have
designed bio-inspired concrete in which physical and chemical properties of con-
crete nanostructure are optimized [29]. Nanotechnology in architecture essentially
contributes to improving the functionality of conventional materials and turns them
into more efcient products such as self-cleaning windows, UV-resistant timber
frames, or dirt-repellent coatings.
Bio-Inspired Materials for Natural Recycling
Most bio-inspired materials in this category (macroscale) are considered as biode-
gradable materials. McDonough and Braungart classify two different cycles which if
improved or understood contribute to waste reduction: biologicaland technical.
While the former benets from adding natural bers into the material mixture (bio-
based materials), the latter intends to assure everlasting durability of metals and
minerals once they enter the manufacturing process.
Recently used synthetic plant-based materials in which plants as raw materials
are dispersed in the polymer matrix are called bio-aggregate-based building
materials [30]. Materials introduced in this category can also be considered as eco
materialsas the whole life cycle (starting from production to disposal stage) of
products is considered to be assessed during the design process to reduce the
environmental impacts of materials [31].
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 9
In the manufacturing process of these eco/ecological/bio/bio-based/bio-aggregate
materials, natural bers are added to composites to improve the material properties.
These materials can be classied into the following basic groups based on their
applications in building industry.
Bioplastics for Natural Recycling
Bioplastics have natural origins (plants or microorganisms) and are made, at least in
part, from renewable biological raw materials in order to facilitate biodegradation
process. This means that polymers can be derived from renewable feedstock or can
return to nature [32]. Plant-based bioplastics include building blocks such as lignin,
vegetable oils, cellulose, thermoplastic starch, polylactic acid, etc. Algae-based
bioplastics have ame-resistant properties showing the potential to be used in the
building industry. However, the procurement process of changing this fast-growing
natural organism into alginsulate foammaterials is costly. The life cycle and
convenient disposal of this type of bioplastics make it distinguishable from conven-
tional polystyrene.
Biocomposites for Natural Recycling
One of the main features of biocomposites is their sound-absorbing quality. Their
specic structure leads to the active control of noise and vibration inside the
building. Biocomposites might have different sources such as plants or animals.
Biocomposites can also be made of a combination of plastics with either reinforced
natural bers or wood.
Wood polymer composites (WPC) are plant-based biocomposites with an
inorganic manufacturing process. They make a perfect combination of desirable
manufacturing properties such as low thermal expansion and moisture resistance.
The application of these composites in buildings can be seen in skirting board
proles. As a new technological approach to using bamboo a traditionally used
material for scaffolding in building industry this natural material has been added to
wood-polymer composites (WPC), ber-reinforced concrete, and bioplastics. Cork
polymer biocomposites, as another sample of plant-based materials, are recently
produced and used in the building sector [33]. Thermal and electrical insulation of
cork-based composites is achieved through corks cellular structure [25]. Corks
water-permeable quality, as well as its thermohygromechanical properties, makes it a
favorable biocomposite for building construction. Subertresas a cork-based prod-
uct is being used for thermal and acoustic isolation purposes in roofs and facades.
Due to their specic surface structure, cork-based materials are also used for interior
design. Jute-based composites as one of the most types of widely used biopolymers
show high tensile strength and are employed in the ceiling, oor, and windows [34].
Hemp concrete is also a biocomposite material made of hemp and lime which, due to
its specic thermal conductivity, can be used for thermal insulation [35].
Biocomposites can be referred to as animal-based biocomposites with an organic
manufacturing process. While the synthesis of a series of biomaterials takes place in
factories, the rapid growth of fungus (a microorganism which is more related to
classication of animals) provides a chance for manufacturers to produce hard foams
10 M. Imani et al.
naturally, as fungus sticks to solid surfaces such as wood and soil to colonize [11].
The threads of this type of foam which are formed by fungus get dehydrated at a
considerably lower temperature than that of required in the manufacturing process.
Bio-Inspired Materials Imitating OrganismsMicro/Macrostructure or
Innovative materials in this category can be classied into two distinctive ways by
which buildingstechnical requirements can be achieved: materials with load-bear-
ing behavior and materials with thermal behavior. The effect of these types of bio-
inspired materials on energy reduction can be also divided into two groups: reducing
the energy spent on (1) off-site manufacture such as construction process, transpor-
tation, and module fabrication and assembly and (2) decreasing thermal conductivity
in buildings. In regard to the rst approach, lightweight materials such as self-
reinforced thermoplastics and ber-reinforced structures contribute effectively to
lower off-site energy consumption. In the second approach, two interrelated aspects
of heat transfer mechanism (thermal insulation and conductivity) get optimized by
innovative foam-based materials in which the structure of air chambers is modeled
after morphological conguration of natural structures.
Materials with Load-Bearing Behavior: Imitating Organisms
Micro/Macrostructure or Patterns
The macroscale and microscale structure of natural organisms has inspired
researchers to design high load-bearing buildings. For example, in macroscales, the
mechanical stability of trees under dynamic loads, and in microscopic scales, the
exible connection of diatomscells, has inspired designers to develop elastic
materials for dampers to reduce the structural failure in buildings intelligently [36].
Imitating the structure of sea urchin spines, researchers have recently developed a
functionally graded concrete with high load-bearing capacity in which the inner
structure has different levels of porosity similar to that of the urchin spines [37].
Studying kinematic behavior of plants during the pollination process has recently
inspired deployable systems in architecture [38]. Bird-of-paradise owers pollina-
tion mechanism motivated a form-nding process in architectural design resulting
in innovative materials used in exible cantilever and single-span beam design. This
biomimetic approach makes the entire building structure capable of elastic defor-
mation without the need for hingesformation. Lienhard et al. and Poppinga et al.
refer to this bending kinematics as a result of the strong relationship between plants
function and morphology [3840].
The mortar-like structure of nacre (mother-of-pearl) and the bone is claimed to be
formed by two types of newly discovered proteins both controlling the biomineral-
ization process in nature as biomineralization is the determining factor for producing
hard bio-inspired materials. A type of biomimetic composite material made of a
hexagonal honeycomb structure lled with uidics is inspired by bonesstructure
and used in Japanese buildings as wooden joints [41]. This composite decentralizes
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 11
load and absorbs the earthquake shocks as joints in buildings are responsible for
absorbing distortions and vibrations.
The high ratio between porous and compact spaces the efcient use of natural
materials in bones structure makes it capable of bearing a lot of weight with a low
density. Honeycomb structures (frequently constructed by social insects) [22] have
also inspired sandwich panels consisting of a comb core (hexagonal lightweight
materials) and two covering layers on sides offering a high load-bearing potential for
construction. The covering sheet is usually made of reinforcement layers of natural
bers such as cellulose [11]. Investigating hierarchical structure of natural materials
has also resulted in the production of fracture-resistant man-made materials [42].
Basically, both toughness and lightness of bones hexagonal structure have
inspired lightweight structures in buildings. Self-healing ber-reinforced polymer
(FRP) composites offer high tensile strength enabling designers to produce complex
geometries. These types of composites are designed by copying the damage toler-
ance and self-repair functions of bones [43]. Copying nacres microstructure, a
multilayer ceramic is designed in which the porous nanostructure interlayer resem-
bles the protein-based layer of nacres structure.
Materials with Thermal Behavior: Imitating Organisms
Micro/Macrostructure or Patterns
Among all bio-inspired approaches to energy efciency including (1) energy pro-
duction, (2) energy storage/harvesting, and (3) energy delivery [44], mostly the rst
and the second ones lead to bio-inspired materials. From another perspective, bio-
inspired engineering of materials for thermal management can also be divided into
two categories: bio-inspired materials for thermal insulation and bio-inspired mate-
rials for efcient heat transfer in cooling applications [45].
In microscale, honeycomb structures, in addition to their high-performance, load-
bearing capacity and pressure resistance properties, have inspired plastics and card-
board panels to serve thermoregulatory purposes in buildings. In comparison to
conventional solar cells, light harvesting and solar energy absorption have been
improved when they are imprinted with the nanostructure of butterys wings [46,
47 ]. These bio-inspired solar cells have the capability to harvest a wider range of
visible light between 400 and 500 nm [48]and show a high-quality photocatalytic
performance [49]. Diatoms as photosynthetic microorganisms benet from a specic
hierarchical structure in their silica-based cell walls. By imitating this structure, more
light can be trapped inside the solar cells to increase the level of electricity generation
As another example, some studies have been inspired by the structure of polar
bear fur and skin; they have developed articial furs capable of collecting solar
radiation efciently [51,52]. Fabricated alumina bers are inspired by the structural
and thermal insulating properties of silkworm cocoons [53]. Even the color-chang-
ing properties of brittle star(a class Ophiuroidea closely related to starsh) which
seem to be caused by lens-like protuberances spread on its skin suggest further
research for the development of a color-changing façade made of optical lenses and
capable of gaining more solar energy [54]. The nanostructural congurations of
12 M. Imani et al.
tapered elements in the compound eyes of Lepidoptera (an order of insects including
butteries and moths) have been inspired antireective glasses which are highly
efcient for incident light absorption [36,52,55]. The energy-harvesting structure of
ys eyes can also be used for optical coatings in solar cells [95].
Plants have similarly inspired innovative materials. A ower called Galanthus
nivalishas retroreective petal surfaces which produce cooler intra-oral temper-
ature. Han et al. designed a new type of building envelope with retroreective
material properties and folded compositions [56]. Energy simulation analysis of
eight building blocks shows that applying this new envelope reduces urban heat
island effects of buildings.
The literature suggests that the hierarchical structure and material compositions of
the intelligent surfaces of trees enable them to control solar adsorption and thermal
regulation processes intelligently. The absorbency and adaptive real-time perfor-
mance of tree bark material have been used to design an intelligent glass with
vascular patterns working as an adaptive cooling layer for the building envelope.
Using this glass material, heat gain can be regulated according to climatic conditions.
As another advantage, this material also can reduce the heat island effect in an urban
environment [57].
Bio-Inspired Materials Imitating OrganismsFunction
In the context of biomimicry, the roles played by the strategies living systems use to
survive extreme environmental conditions have been dened as organismsfunc-
tions. A biological function is an adaptation mechanism of the living systems.
Biological strategies have inspired humans technologies to function in an innova-
tive way that the living systems use to survive.
Materials with Intelligent Response Mechanism Imitating Organisms
Even though nearly all intelligent mechanisms in building design such as self-
healing, self-repairing, self-cleaning, self-assembly, and intelligent movement
require electrical power for actuation or sensing, the amount of energy consumed
for exchanging energy from one form to another as a typical function of smart
technologies is often more efcient than conventional technologies [58].
Natural organisms sense and respond to environmental stimuli. In buildings,
smart materials emulate the intelligent response processes in nature (Fig. 3). For
example, shape-changing materials in plants have inspired synthetic materials
recently used in sun-harvesting solar panels and reactive textiles. The possible
application of smart materialsin architecture can be seen either in sensors or
actuators [59,60] or as no-tech/low-tech hydromorphic materials [61].
The biological membrane of living cells is the basic structural, functional, and
biological unit of all known living organisms which responds to environmental
stresses through using three main components: a sensor, a controller, and an actuator.
Actuators are responsible for producing mechanical effects, while sensors monitor
temperatures, humidity, and movement. Most of the intelligent response mechanisms
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 13
Fig. 3 Bio-inspired intelligent response mechanisms to environmental stimuli in buildings
14 M. Imani et al.
in buildings are achieved through using sensors or actuators in a similar manner so
that buildings also are able to respond to environmental stimuli.
Bio-inspired optical ber sensors do not literally imitate intelligent response of
natural systems but, from another perspective, are inspired by animalsecholocation.
Echolocation has motivated scientists to design distance measurement optical sen-
sors for the purpose of structural health monitoring in building structures.
Materials in this category are inspired by both biological functions and structural
properties of natural organisms as their structural composition is linked with relevant
functions. For instance, the microstructure of Bacillis spore membrane changes over
time according to the UV absorption intensity. Imitating this structural deformation
and UV resistance mechanism is claimed to be the rst step toward developing
biosensors [36]. Imitating structural colors, antireection, and light collection pro-
cesses in birds, insects, and marine animals has also inspired biosensors capable of
reecting light for improving the performance of optical devices [47].
Nano- and micro-electrical mechanical systems(MEMS) sensors as the results of
combining two innovative bio-inspired technologies, smart materials (e.g., piezo-
electric ceramics, polymers, or composites) and smart nanomaterials, are promising
but still unknown to building construction while they are widely used in medical
science. For example, piezoelectric materials inserted in the concrete structure of
beams and plates are used as damage detectors and control the building structure [62,
63 ], while structurally optimized smart nanomaterials show a unique acoustic and
lighting performance [64].
Actuators have also been developed based on smart materials such as shape
memory alloys or electro-magneto-restrictive materials [65], and these have been
used in different parts of buildings.
Shape memory alloys also act to demonstrate another smart material function:
phase change behavior. Current research on multiphasic materials is inspired by
frost-resistant plants offering unique processes by which heat and mass can ow
easily through a porous solid matrix in plant tissues [66].
In addition to bio-inspired materials, some studies report the possibility
of developing an innovative kinematic system inspired by the stiffness adaptive
hingeless structure of plants. The technical translation of kinematic movements
in natural organisms enabled by water-dependent actuation or joint-free exible
systems can be a rod-like structure in buildings using pneumatic cushions for
actuation [67].
Smart Materials for Enabling Movement or Thermal Regulation Imitating
Chen and Chiu refer to kinetic responsive architecture or smart skins[68]asnew
design strategies which employ smart materials to make buildings more energy
efcient compared to static conventional architecture. These approaches benet
either from using natural materials or from imitating the mechanisms that natural
organisms employ to perform movement. In the former, smart materials are the
kinetic systems (no-tech strategy and low-tech strategy), while in the latter, smart
materials act as a generator for the mechanical movements of the kinetic surface
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 15
(low-tech strategy) [69]. Electroactive polymers, hydromorphic biocomposites, and
thermobimetals belong to the rst category of biocomposites which use the no-tech
strategy. Kinematic building envelopes which are animated by shape memory alloys
belong to the second group (low-tech strategy).
Hydromorphic biocomposites (HBC) are modeled after natural hydromorphic
actuators found in a pinecone and wheat awn [70]. The stems of pinecone scales
consist of two different materials showing opposite behaviors to humidity as one
shrinks while the other opens up. Imitating this intelligent mechanism, a multilayer
articial textile (veneer-composite system) made of numerous small aps is devel-
oped in which aps close and open up in response to air humidity [71]. This
responsive architectural system does not use electronic equipment for sensing,
actuation, and control but instead responds to climatic conditions following the
biological principles plants employ to actuate organ movement.
Dielectric electroactive polymers (DEAPs) change shape and stiffness when a
voltage is applied to the surface of materials which are covered by metal electrodes.
Generating dynamic movements using DEAPs has been used for different purposes
in building design such as soundproong and energy saving [72]. Conventional
glasses can be replaced by a new type of glass which is covered by DEAP-laminated
sheets which bend around the vertical and horizontal axes and effectively regulate
the light transmission to mitigate overheating in interior spaces. Thermobimetals are
used in building envelopes to improve energy performance by dynamic movement
as well as automatically taking control of reectivity and light transmission through
solar shading [73].
The stomatal movements in plants stimulated by humidity, temperature, carbon
dioxide concentration, and light intensity have been investigated by measuring the
amount of CO
O produced within a leaf. Following this approach, active mate-
rials for current building façades have been developed which respond to both
temperature and humidity [74]. Living glass and smart glass perform motions
incorporating shape memory alloy technology [69]. In the smart glass, change
coloring and adaptive darkening function are achieved through glass nano-layers
by which light transmission is controlled according to the environment [75]. One of
the smart technological approaches to increasing thermal energy storage (TES),
using either passive or active method, incorporates smart phase change nano-
materials (PCM) embedded in different parts of the buildings such as building
core, solar facades, suspended ceilings, and HVAC systems.
Some active materials such as carbon dioxide-responsive polymers have been
tested in laboratories by calculating the dimensional changes of the surface of the
samples. During an experiment, the thermal performance of shape memory polymer
has been analyzed in a physical model. Shape memory polymer sheets installed in
internal windows can bend to allow for airow according to the inside temperature
[76]. Using this type of polymers in windows contributes to reducing energy
consumption in buildings in which the building envelope behaves like a living
organism to regulate heat. Likewise, researchers refer to the intelligent shape-
changing behavior of red blood cells as a solution to designing a smart energy
efcient composite for thermal insulation. A shape-changing material inside
16 M. Imani et al.
composites would increase or decrease the thermal insulation by changing the
thickness of interlayers reacting to either humidity or temperature [36].
Smart windows with water circulated intelligently can reduce heat loss and
unwanted heat gain [77]. Regulating solar gain which is a smart mechanism in
liquid-shielded windows contributes to reducing thermal loads in buildings [78].
In these very last two examples, the façade is itself the smart material.
Smart Materials with Self-Cleaning and Self-Healing Function Imitating
Biological membranes are developed by imitating the self-assembling process in
nature by which biological structures and polymers arrange their molecular entities
in response to environmental stresses. Self-healing materials have the potential to
repair themselves without the need to be externally renovated.
For example, exploration of self-repair mechanism in plants has found application
in pneumatic constructions. Emulating this process, a type of innovative polymer
material which regulates the air pressure and consequently prevents the system
breakdown has been developed to be used in a pneumatic structure membrane [36].
The morphing application of this membrane is called adaptive stiffnessin which
(again) shape memory materials are responsible for pressurizing honeycomb cell
structures [65].
Currently, self-healing processes in cementitious materials are referred to as
autonomic or autogenic[79]. For instance, in the autonomic approach, the self-
repairing mechanism of one type of concrete, in case a rupture takes place, occurs
due to the secretion of an adhesive material through a hollow ber onto the surface
layer [80,81]. In the autogenic approach, a thermophilic anaerobic microorganism is
added to the concrete mixture. The compositional properties of this living concrete
allow the microorganisms to grow inside increasing the potential of the concrete to
serve different purposes in construction. Similar to autonomic self-healing concrete,
this microbial bio-concrete benets from a highly efcient autogenic self-healing
treatment technique for lling the possible cracks in the concrete composition [82]
while concretes durability and strength are also increased [83] and at the same time
the concrete thermal performance gets improved [84]. In some studies, SMAs are
used to repair the emergency damage in concrete.
Similarly, self-healing metals fall into two main categories in which the healing
process is achieved through transportation of either liquid or solid to the damaged
area [85]. However, the translation of the self-repair mechanism of living tissues into
bio-inspired self-healing metals and concrete is not even close to what natural
organisms are capable of. These examples copy the function but not the mechanisms
by which healing occurs in nature.
In addition to the self-repairing mechanism, building skins as advanced biolog-
ical membranesmight be able to contribute to air ltration as well if bio-inspired
materials imitate multiple aspects of living organisms such as self-assembly and
metabolism (e.g., photosynthesis) at the same time.
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 17
Smart Materials with Vibration Resistance Imitating OrganismsFunction
Bio-inspired structures learn from lightweight constructions in nature which employ
an energy dissipation strategy to protect the whole structure from total collapse. This
intelligent responsiveness to overload conditions is an integrated functional and
structural mechanism.
In buildings, energy dissipation mechanism in seismic dampers happens via
either active or passive systems of which the former incorporates smart materials.
For instance, residual deformation in buildings after an earthquake can be eliminated
or mitigated by modern re-centring devices or products made of smart materials such
as super-elastic shape memory alloy (SMA) bolts [86,87].
Likewise, dielectric electroactive polymer sensors can be inserted in mortar
for the purpose of monitoring buildings vibration [72]. Electro- and magnetor-
heological uids in vibration dampers can change their viscosity in a magnetic
eld. Through this mechanism, any uctuation caused by earthquake load or wind
power can be reduced and even controlled. There are cases in which dampers
resemble morphological congurations of living things. For example, the proposed
structure of a type of damper is modeled after the climber plant in which the viscosity
of uidics in the tendril works as smart material and makes the stem strong [88].
Materials with a Waterproofing or Water Harvesting Mechanism
Imitating OrganismsFunction
The water repellency of the lotus ower has resulted in technically developed dirt-
repellent surfaces such as the hydrophobic PTFE-coated fabric. However, zooming
more into details of this mechanism, the hierarchical nanostructure of petals is found
to be responsible for the ultrahigh adhesion effect [47]. Water-resistant bio-inspired
materials are made of innovative hydrophobic surfaces by which water changes
into droplets while bio-inspired hydrophilic dirt-repellent coatings make a thin lm
spread all over the surface [11] and play a more signicant role in water harvesting
The water collection mechanism in cactus, spiders, desert beetles, birds, butter-
ies, frogs, and some types of grass has been reported frequently by many
researchers. For example, the multifunctional surface of some types of desert insects
is capable of storing and harvesting water by preventing water from evaporating and
capturing that through the hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of cuticles [22].
Likewise, the water harvesting mechanisms in several lizard species occur through
the capillary function of blood vessel networks. This specic type of water transport
system (the ow of uid in channels between scales) proposes opportunities for
developing water harvesting materials in climatic regions that experience water
scarcity [89].
Bio-Inspired Materials Imitating Biological Processes
There seems to be a wide gap between nature-inspired motivations or creative
thoughts and the current technological developments used for producing living
18 M. Imani et al.
bio-inspired materials. For example, imitating growth as a natural process is still held
at imagination level and is not even comparable to what is found in nature.
Self-organization in biological systems is a process through which internal
components of a system get organized without being controlled by any external
forces. The self-arrangement characteristics of living organisms at a preliminary
level can be translated into architecture where the organized properties of composite
materials (natural bers and matrix) are interwoven to make a fabric. Biochemistry,
however, promises advanced performative living materials for architectural design
A protocell designed by Armstrong has similar properties to that of a living cell
[91]. Reacting to light, the protocell moves down into the water according to the
water level uctuation and makes a precipitate (articial reef) to reinforce the timber
tiles of Venetian houses. Biorockis another mineral structure created by the
electrodeposition process through which a low-voltage electricity ows through
reinforced steel structure changing minerals into crystallized components. This
material is considerably stronger than common types of concrete and has the potential
to be used in construction [92].
Vukusic and Sambles state that Bacillis sporulation (reproduction) mechanism
can be replicated in architectural design [36]. The living spaces (e.g., rooms), similar
to Bacillis reproduction mechanism, can dynamically appear and disappear (be
constructed or destroyed) if their boundaries (e.g., walls) are made of an innovative
architectural material which shows a shape-shifting behavior during growth. Cur-
rently, in extreme environmental conditions, some interior spaces are left abandoned
and unused. Using this material, spaces could be used efciently according to
seasonal changes.
While all natural materials used in construction are fully grown (adding biode-
gradable materials to the conventional material mixture), a few impressive efforts
have resulted in designing literally living materials capable of adaptive self-rein-
forcement and intelligent response to the environmental stimuli by imitating biolog-
ical processes such as gradual growth [93].
Conclusions and Further Outlook
Energy saving is one signicant advantage of using natural materials or imitating
either structures, functions, or processes in nature for creating bio-inspired materials.
Bio-inspired materials offer a wide range of applications in architecture and building
design. Most contribute to increasing the energy performance of buildings (on-site
energy saving) or reducing the environmental impacts of buildings as well as saving
energy resources (off-site energy saving).
This literature review introduces numerous ingenious bio-inspired materials most
created by imitating structural, functional, and behavioral aspects of natural organ-
isms. However, the literature shows a gap in the very rst step where designers
search nature to nd inspirations to improve mechanical or functional aspects of
materials. If one reviews all of the literature examined for this chapter, to nd a
Bio-Inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of... 19
generalized and systematized procedure for mining biological science, rather than
the many one-off examples listed above, then there is no such procedure available at
present. Except for the common structural characteristics of natural materials (hier-
archical structures) which have been almost fully explored by nanotechnology, other
functional and behavioral potentials of biological materials seem to be vaguely
translated and written about with very specic and limited examples.
To be able to nd relevant natural organisms for the purpose of nding innovative
solutions, there is a need for a general framework enabling researchers to nd
specic organisms in accordance with the design challenge. Developing a theoretical
bio-architectural framework which addresses current issues of conventional mate-
rials and consequently eases the transfer of biological principles to principles of
material design is required. Using this framework, innovative materials inspired by
biological processes through which natural organisms camouage, change color,
reproduce, response to external and internal stimuli, replicate and self-assembly, do
photosynthesis, inhale and exhale, move, eliminate waste, etc. could be more
systematically created.
Even though some researchers made valuable efforts to outline methods for
accumulating data related to the conventional and novel bio-inspired materials,
these methods do not necessarily lead to more innovative ideas. This is because
current biomimetic designs fail to demonstrate a general systematic procedure for
nding the next innovation that others might use to replicate the innovative design
thinking processes.
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... In (Imani et al 2018), the authors present a classification of bioinspired materials used in architecture and construction based on biological characteristics, with particular regard to energy efficiency building. Main group of bioinspired materials are developed to better respond to load bearing behaviour, thermal behaviour, responsive mechanism and waterproofing/harvesting mechanisms. ...
This article provides an overview of recent advances in the development of nature-based material designs in architecture and construction fields. Firstly, it aims to classify existing projects and ongoing researches into three types: bioinspired, biobased and living building materials. Secondly, selected case studies absolving different functions in building, are analysed to identify new opportunities and contemporary challenges of different nature-based approaches. The main gaps are identified between the progression at a theoretical level in laboratories and real-world application. Particulary, the challenge is to implement existing and future bioinspired, biobased and living building materials in large scale designs and architectural contexts. The authors also discuss different aspects of the inspiration and the use of nature to improve better the design of materials properties, robustness, durability, including sustainable awareness. Finally, an outlook of promising avenues for future interdisciplinary research and specific questions associated with methods and techniques of implementation of the different types of bioinspired, biobased and living material designs and fabrications in architecture are highlighted.
... Still, it was not until computer-aided design, introducing morphogenic and evolutionary algorithms derived from Nature, that design significantly changed. Previously impossible to achieve complex curvilinear geometries by changing the way we design from form design to form finding [4] and computer-aided design and the development of modern structural calculations are no longer a barrier to design and construction [5] [6]. Algorithmically aided models support form and structure development by varying the set parameters without the designer interfering with the final shape. ...
Architecture is a science, which is evident in the change in design. Natural modelling processes characterise the 21st century, and bionics become an inspiration in the creative search for contemporary architecture. Experimental modelling and algorithms to describe structures and evolutionary processes make it possible to optimise materials, like minimising the use of building materials in Nature. Integrating architecture with biology or material engineering in objects with homogeneous functions allows for supporting structures and digital fabrication efficiency. This paper presents results from the conducted, selected research, implementing biomorphic algorithms for searching optimal rod structures in the architecture of temporary pavilion objects. The article aims to identify contemporary technological inspirations for the art of form-finding in the logic of imitation of forms visible in Nature.
... However, it was not until computer-aided design, introducing morphogenic and evolutionary algorithms derived from Nature, that significantly changed the way of designing [6]. Previously impossible curvilinear, complex geometries are no longer a barrier to innovation and fabrication [7,8] thanks to the shift from form designing to form finding [9] and computer-aided design and the development of modern structural computing. ...
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Contemporary interdisciplinary design requires architects' knowledge and cooperation with such fields as construction, material engineering, fabrication methods, and knowledge in optimisation of the design process, production, and minimisation of used materials and energy. Following the example of other disciplines, contemporary architecture seeks inspiration from Nature on various levels. The development of modern tools and materials opens unprecedented opportunities for designers to shape free forms with precision, following sustainable development guidelines. The article presents the influence of biomimicry inspiration on shaping spatial structures of 20th and 21st-century architecture. The primary conclusion of the review indicates the need for further implementing bio-logic strategies into interdisciplinary, holistic building design.
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Systems found in nature are a valuable source of inspiration for several applications. Scientists and researchers from different fields (structural engineering, robotics, medicine, and materials science) use the concepts of biomimicking, biomimetics, and bioinspiration. More recently the possibility to benefit from solutions developed by nature has become of interest for sustainable architecture. Living organisms use smart, optimised, and elegant solutions to survive, thanks to continuous selection and mutation processes. For over 460 million years plants have been evolving in a constantly changing environment and have become well-adapted to different climatic conditions. Faced with several challenges (water loss, extreme temperatures, UV radiation, etc.) plants, for example, developed tissues with barrier properties. Furthermore, due to their immobility, plants are excellent biological materials for detecting climate phenomena. While animals, being mobile, developed other creative survival strategies through a long evolutionary process. Being exposed to various environments, they not only developed multifunctional surfaces, but also movements and a broad portfolio of sensing methods that increased their survival efficiency. Comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the adaptation strategies of plants (both static strategies and dynamic mechanisms) and animals to their environment in different climate zones are indispensable for transferring concepts from biology to architecture. Consequently, specific adaptation solutions might be implemented in new materials that will be used for building envelopes erected in the same climatic zones. Integrating length scales and mixing biological, chemical, and physical concepts for tailoring the properties of materials during preparation should allow for better designing of future smart materials. The process should lead to the development of active biomaterials that perform as interfaces between outdoor conditions and internal comfort. In that they should be able to regulate humidity, temperature, CO 2 , and light as well as capture and filter pollutants; in addition, they should have self-assembling, self-cleaning, grafting, and self-healing properties. This contribution provides an analysis of several examples that represent the adaptation of organisms to various environments and are presented with the aim to inspire future researchers in the development of new building materials.
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Contemporary art present in urban space is undergoing a profound metamorphosis. Recent years marked by the pandemic have strengthened the emotionality of the message of art, which has gradually grown over many years in place of the former narrative dialogue and in place of contextual or symbolic content. Art in city space is at a crossroads today. It is the result of many factors and processes, among which the most important and strongest is the influence of the Internet and the intertwining of cultural models from the Internet .
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In bio-inspired design, the concept of “function” allows engineers to move between biological models and human applications. Abstracting a problem to general functions allows designers to look to traits that perform analogous functions in biological organisms. However, the idea of function can mean different things across fields, presenting challenges for interdisciplinary research. Here we review core ideas in biology that relate to the concept of “function,” including adaptation, tradeoffs, and fitness, as a companion to bio-inspired design approaches. We align these ideas with a top-down approach in biomimetics, where engineers start with a problem of interest and look to biology for ideas. We review how one can explore a range of biological analogies for a given function by considering function across different parts of an organism’s life, such as acquiring nutrients or avoiding disease. Engineers may also draw inspiration from biological traits or systems that exhibit a particular function, but did not necessarily evolve to do so. Such an evolutionary perspective is important to how biodesigners search biological space for ideas. A consideration of the evolution of trait function can also clarify potential trade-offs and biological models that may be more promising for an application. This core set of concepts from evolutionary and organismal biology can aid engineers and designers in their search for biological inspiration.
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In order to reduce the weight of the panels used in buildings and minimize the use of wood, it is of great practical significance to study the mechanical properties of wood-based sandwich structures for adaptation to modern wood-structured buildings. In this paper, a wood-based pyramid structure specimen with large interconnection space was designed and prepared first. Based on the results of the flat compression, in order to strengthen the core layer of the sandwich structure, an interlocking grid structure can be used. The mechanical properties of two kinds of structure specimens, including bearing capacity, compressive strength, specific strength, load–mass ratio, safety factor distribution, and specific energy absorption, were studied by means of experimental test, theoretical analysis, and finite element analysis. It was concluded that the apparent density of the two structures was lower than that of the materials of which they were composed. However, the overall flat compressive strength of the two structures was higher than that of their constituent materials, which were high-strength materials in the field of natural materials. The mechanical properties of the interlocking grid structures were better than those of the pyramid structures. Based on the criterion of cell structure stability, it can be concluded that the wood-based pyramid structure was a flexural-dominant structure, and the interlocking grid structure was a tensile-dominant structure. The results show that the core layer design plays an important role in the mechanical properties and failure modes of wood-based sandwich structures.
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Nature provides examples of resilient materials and structures with optimised morphologies and topologies to achieve excellent mechanical and structural properties and sustainable options for the construction industry. This paper provides an overview of nature-inspired materials applicable to buildings and civil structures. Current research on bio-inspired novel cementitious composites, bacteria-enhanced materials, building envelopes and facade systems, advanced manufacturing processes, and their applications are discussed. Moreover, this paper provides insights for future research on designing and developing bio-inspired building materials and resilient structures.
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A number of innovations in building envelope technologies have been implemented recently, for example, to improve insulation and air tightness to reduce energy consumption. However, growing concern over the embodied energy and carbon as well as resource depletion, is beginning to impact on the design and implementation of existing and novel building envelope technologies. Biomimicry is proposed as one approach to create buildings which are resilient to a changing climate, embedded in wider ecological systems, energy efficient and waste free. However, the diversity of form and function in biological organisms and therefore potential applications for biomimicry, requires a holistic approach spanning biology, materials science and architecture. It is considered timely to re-examine opportunities to learn from nature, including in the light of recent understanding of how plant form and function are determined at the cellular levels. In this article, we call for a systemic approach for the development of innovative biological and living building envelopes. Plant cell walls are compared to building envelopes. Key features of cell walls with the potential to inform the development of design principles of biological and living building envelopes are identified and discussed.
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Partially restrained (PR) bolted T-stub connections have been widely used in replacement of established fully restrained (FR) welded connections, which are susceptible to sudden brittle failure. These bolted T-stub connections can permit deformation, easily exceeding the allowable limit without any fracture because they are constructed with a design philosophy whereby the plastic deformation concentrates on bolt fasteners made of ductile steel materials. Thus, the PR bolted connections take advantage of excellent energy dissipation capacity in their moment and rotation behavior. However, a considerable amount of residual deformation may occur at the bolted connection subjected to excessive plastic deformation, thereby requiring additional costs to recover the original configuration. In this study, superelastic shape memory alloy (SMA) bolts, which have a recentering capability upon unloading, are fabricated so as to solve these drawbacks, and utilized by replacing conventional steel bolts in the PR bolted T-stub connection. Instead of the full-scale T-stub connection, simplified T-stub components subjected to axial force are designed on the basis of a basic equilibrium theory that transfers the bending moment from the beam to the column and can be converted into equivalent couple forces acting on the beam flange. The feasible failure modes followed by corresponding response mechanisms are taken into consideration for component design with superelastic SMA bolts. The inelastic behaviors of such T-stub components under cyclic loading are simulated by advanced three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) analysis. Finally, this study suggests an optimal design for smart recentering T-stub components with respect to recentering and energy dissipation after observing the FE analysis results.
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From the manifold strategies that nature offers to materials under overload conditions, we describe two: the fibrous and multi-layered system of the bark of the Giant Sequoia, which possesses an impressive damping mechanism, and the spines of pencil and lance sea urchins. The latter introduce a new concept to energy dissipation in brittle construction materials, namely quasi-ductility by multiple local fracturing. The potential for transfer as bioinspired technical solutions is high as the biological role models combine several advantages such as lightweight, recyclability and high protective efficiency. We demonstrate that, in principle, the concepts found in the biological role models can be transferred to concrete-based building materials.KeywordsBiomimeticsBarkBrittleCompressionConcreteCrushingDampingEnergy dissipationFibrousFunctional gradingGiant SequoiaImpactLightweightMechanical propertiesPorousSea urchinSpines Sequoiadendron giganteum Impact test Heterocentrotus mammilatus Phyllacanthus imperialis StereomGraceful failure
This book comprises a first survey of the Collaborative Research Center SFB-TRR 141 ‘Biological Design and Integrative Structures – Analysis, Simulation and Implementation in Architecture’, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft since October 2014. The SFB-TRR 141 provides a collaborative framework for architects and engineers from the University of Stuttgart, biologists and physicists from the University of Freiburg and geoscientists and evolutionary biologists from the University of Tübingen. The programm is conceptualized as a dialogue between the disciplines and is based on the belief that that biomimetic research has the potential to lead everyone involved to new findings far beyond his individual reach. During the last few decades, computational methods have been introduced into all fields of science and technology. In architecture, they enable the geometric differentiation of building components and allow the fabrication of porous or fibre-based materials with locally adjusted physical and chemical properties. Recent developments in simulation technologies focus on multi-scale models and the interplay of mechanical phenomena at various hierarchical levels. In the natural sciences, a multitude of quantitative methods covering diverse hierarchical levels have been introduced. These advances in computational methods have opened a new era in biomimetics: local differentiation at various scales, the main feature of natural constructions, can for the first time not only be analysed, but to a certain extent also be transferred to building construction. Computational methodologies enable the direct exchange of information between fields of science that, until now, have been widely separated. As a result they lead to a new approach to biomimetic research, which, hopefully, contributes to a more sustainable development in architecture and building construction.
The paper aims to present a new insulating material based on cork aggregates and cement designed for building applications. Samples are prepared by mixing natural cork aggregates, sand, cement and water. Four cork volume dosages are considered, 0, 25, 50 and 75% (relative to the sand). Samples are characterised in terms of hardened density, compressive and flexural strength, as well as thermal conductivity and hydric properties (moisture content, vapour permeability, moisture buffering value and absorption by partial immersion). Results show that increasing cork granule amount tends to increase moisture retention and buffering value but decreases density, thermal conductivity and mechanical properties. Depending on the cork content, cork concrete mixture canThe paper aims to present a new insulating material based on cork aggregates and cement designed for building applications. Samples are prepared by mixing natural cork aggregates, sand, cement and water. Four cork volume dosages are considered, 0, 25, 50 and 75% (relative to the sand). Samples are characterised in terms of hardened density, compressive and flexural strength, as well as thermal conductivity and hydric properties (moisture content, vapour permeability, moisture buffering value and absorption by partial immersion). Results show that increasing cork granule amount tends to increase moisture retention and buffering value but decreases density, thermal conductivity and mechanical properties. Depending on the cork content, cork concrete mixture can be used as thermal insulator or as a structural component. Keywords: Cork, cement, moisture, hygrothermal properties, mechanical properties be used as thermal insulator or as a structural component. Keywords: Cork, cement, moisture, hygrothermal properties, mechanical properties
Hygromorph biocomposite (HBC) actuators make use of the transport properties of plant fibres to generate an out-of-plane displacement when a moisture gradient is present. HBC actuators possess a design based on the bilayer configuration of natural hygromorph actuators (like Pine cone, Wheat awn, Selaginella lepidophyll). In this work we present a series of design guidelines for HBCs with improved performance, low environmental footprints and high durability in severe environments. We develop a theoretical actuating response (curvature) formulation of Maleic Anhydride PolyPropylene (MAPP)/plant fibres based on bimetallic actuators theory. The actuation response is evaluated as a function of the fibre type (flax, jute, kenaf and coir). We demonstrate that the actuation is directly related to the fibre microstructure and its biochemical composition. The jute and flax fibres appear to be the best candidates for use in HBCs. Flax/MAPP and jute/MAPP HBCs exhibit similar actuating behaviours during the sorption phase (amplitude and speed), but different desorption characteristics due to the combined effect of the lumen size, fibre division and biochemical composition on the desorption mechanism. During hygromechanical fatigue tests the jute/MAPP HBCs exhibit a drastic improvement in durability compared to their flax counterparts. We also provide a demonstration on how HBCs can be used to trigger deployment of more complex structures based on Origami and Kirigami designs.