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BIOMIMETICS  January 2009

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Subject:

Re: I'm looking for areas of research in design for sustainability applying biomimetics

From:

Olga Bogatyreva <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Engineers and biologists mechanical design list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 20 Jan 2009 10:43:18 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (150 lines)

That is right, Julian,

I already replyed to Sam that the formulation of the problem was  
hardly formulated. This initial stage - setting goals, detecting  
problems, total "diagnostics" of the whole situation - is essential.

As for mono- or poly-cultures - it is great to employ robots, but  
there are lot of ways to avoid monocultural strategies without robots  
with the existing technologies and machinery. The solutions are mainly  
in the spatial lay-outs of the fields. Permaculture gives many nice  
paragons.

Regards
Nikolay Bogatyrev

Quoting Julian Vincent <[log in to unmask]>:

> I think most of the replies showed that the question itself was
> ill-formed.  Sam's question was really about direct use of natural
> resources, whereas the answers were about the *best* use of natural
> resources (which actually ties in with Michael's answer).
> Additionally, some of the anwers were concerned with applying concepts
> from 'wild' nature to farming, getting away from monocultures and
> allowing natural ways of pest control to be better expressed
> (monocultures make pests).  With modern computerised farming and
> selective robotic cropping it should be possible to crop individual
> plants within a mixed population.  Are there any real advantages?
>
> Julian
>
>
> On 20 Jan 2009, at 12:27, Michael Ellison wrote:
>
>> Samuel’s Idea:
>>
>> I've been thinking that we may be able to design more sustainable   
>> products if we can use
>> organic "waste" (like  fallen leafs, mowed grass from city parks or  
>>  fodder from farming
>> operations) and transform their fibers into carpets for example, or  
>>  may be clothing. Is
>> this technically possible to do while achieving the level of   
>> functionality of conventional
>> products? Could we design a sustainable manufacturing process that   
>> mimics nature to
>> create such type of products?
>>
>>
>>
>> Having come of age in what used to be the School of Textiles at   
>> Clemson University, I can offer some thoughts on Samuel’s idea.   
>> (From a quick read of the ensuing email storm, his idea seems to   
>> have gotten lost.)
>>
>> I presume that you, Samuel, are considering making fibers from the   
>> cellulose in the matter that you listed, since, with the possible   
>> exception of “fodder from farming operations,” if that includes   
>> things such as flax, the fiber-like structures in the items you   
>> mentioned do not have the necessary properties for a textile   
>> material. Over the decades of textile fiber research, many plants   
>> have been studied as a source of cellulose from which to make   
>> regenerated cellulose fibers, such as rayon. The basic chemical   
>> composition of most materials is such that they do not lend   
>> themselves well to the process. In addition, the process is far   
>> from sustainable, given our current method of processing.
>>
>> That said, it may well be that grasses, given that they have an   
>> aspect ratio that at least has the same sense as that of a fiber   
>> (long length and small diameter), may find use as a reinforcing   
>> component in a composite material (non-fired clay bricks of course   
>> is an example), or as a structure-forming component in their own   
>> right (baskets, for example). Grass carpets may certainly be an   
>> option, but longevity and marketability would be an issue. However,  
>>  it is only a matter of imagination and need that limits potential   
>> applications of these materials. Of course, how sustainable this is  
>>  depends on how it is done. I am skeptical about being able to make  
>>  fibers from these materials for use in textiles, however.
>>
>> Michael
>>
>>
>> Michael S.  Ellison, Ph.D.
>> Professor
>> School of Materials Science and Engineering
>> 161 Sirrine Hall Box 340971
>> Clemson University
>> Clemson, SC  29634-0971
>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> http://mse.clemson.edu/htm/faculty/Ellison.htm
>> Voice: 864.656.5956
>> FAX: 864.656.5973
>> Cell: 864.650.0020
>> email: [log in to unmask]
>>
>> From: Samuel Bautista Lazo <[log in to unmask]>
>> Reply-To: Engineers and biologists mechanical design list   
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 07:42:53 -0500
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Conversation: I'm looking for areas of research in design for   
>> sustainability applying biomimetics
>> Subject: I'm looking for areas of research in design for   
>> sustainability applying biomimetics
>>
>> Dear all, I would appreciate your wise advice.
>>
>> I'm a 23 year old PhD student, I just joined the University of   
>> Liverpool to do Research in
>> Design for Sustainability.
>>
>> I really want to do something meaningful with my life, my time and   
>> energy, that's why I
>> ended up doing research in Design for Sustainability.
>>
>> In my dreams I would like to go even a step further to design and   
>> manufacture products
>> that heal the environment, I like calling this "Grow-ability"   
>> (Growing more of the life
>> support systems) mimicking the tree that when it grows it is good,   
>> it sequesters carbon,
>> it creates oxygen, provides habitat to hundreds of species, and so   
>> on and so forth, but
>> HOW DO I GET TO THE SPECIFICS? HOW COULD BIOMIMETICS HELP ACHIEVE GROW-
>> ABILITY?
>>
>> From my first survey of the literature I sense that most of the   
>> efforts in Biomimetics are
>> channeled to the design of functionality in products and that there  
>>  is less effort put into
>> biomimetics applied to eco-design. Is this picture true?
>>
>>
>> My Idea:
>>
>> I've been thinking that we may be able to design more sustainable   
>> products if we can use
>> organic "waste" (like  fallen leafs, mowed grass from city parks or  
>>  fodder from farming
>> operations) and transform their fibers into carpets for example, or  
>>  may be clothing. Is
>> this technically possible to do while achieving the level of   
>> functionality of conventional
>> products? Could we design a sustainable manufacturing process that   
>> mimics nature to
>> create such type of products?
>>
>> Thank you very much!
>> Samuel
>>

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