Archive for the ‘Biomimicry’ Category

Understanding the Biomimicry Taxonomy gives us a simple way for designers and biologists to collaborate and approach a new design challenge in a life-conducive way. The main aim for using the taxonomy is making the question. Instead of asking how to make less toxic pigments, ask how a Morpho butterfly modifies its colour.

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By Chris Stevenson

Technological Problem:

How to find a natural hard packaging that is biodegradable.

Function of Hard Packaging:

Hard packaging is used for storing consumable things in, such as food and drinks. These packages are often made out of plastic and polystyrene which are not environmentally friendly as they pollute our land and they aren’t biodegradable.

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Solutions:

We found a design called WikiCell. This design mostly uses natural particles (with the exception of the synthetic biochemical polymer, chitosan, and the algae extract, alginate) to make a thin gelatinous casing that can hold liquid products. The WikiCell membrane is made from a combination of isomal (sweetener) or bagasse (a fibrous residue from sugarcane), alginate and chitosan. Shrimp skin (chitosan), is very similar to that of the WikiCell’s casing and provides a hard membrane sp that products may be packed to avoid breakage. Electrostatic forces hold the membrane together. These membranes have resistance to water diffusion. They also have adjacent shells which will allow the WikiCells’s to have stability over time. For different types of food and drinks, a wide variety of membranes can be produced. This will be done using a WikiCell Machine.

Most packaging is made from plastic, which is not biodegradable and just keeps breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces over a period of time. It also is made at the cost of valuable resources, example oil. WikiCells will allow food for food to be packaged in a fully biodegradable way and take away the oil-to-packaging process.

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By Chris Stevenson

What is Biomimicry:

Biomimicry (which derived from the words bio, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning imitate) is a design process which looks for sustainable solutions by imitating nature’s patterns and strategies which have been tested over time. An example is studying a leaf to create a better solar cell. The main idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems that we are struggling with, such as energy, food production, transportation, non-toxic chemistry, climate control, packaging and many more.

The Bullet Train:

The Shinkansen Bullet Train which belongs to the West Japan Railway Company is the fastest train in the world which can travel up to 200 miles per hour.

While they were designing the bullet train, they had a massive problem. The train was very noisy. Every time the train came out from the tunnel, the air pressure changed which resulted in large thunder claps. This noise caused residents a quarter of a mile away to complain.

The train’s chief engineer and a keen bird-watcher turned to nature to see if they could find something travels quickly and smoothly between two very different substances. They found out that the shape of a kingfisher’s beak was ideal for this situation. Their beaks were ideal because a kingfisher will dive into a body of water to catch a fish with very little splash.

Once they had copied the shape of the kingfisher’s beak, they modelled the front of the train from that design. Not only did this design result in a quieter train, it also made the train use 15% less electricity while travelling at a speed 10% faster than what it was originally designed for.

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By Chris Stevenson