Design in Nature: Learning from Trees

Front Cover
Springer Science & Business Media, Jan 28, 1998 - Architecture - 276 pages
The chicken bone which you nibbled and threw away yesterday was a high-tech product! In fact it was a superlative light-weight design functionally adapted to the mechanical requirements. No engineer in the world has as yet been able to copy this structural member, which is excellently optimized in its external shape and its internal architecture as regards minimum weight and maximum strength.
The tree trunk on which you recently carved your initials has also over the course of its life, steadily improved its internal and external structure and adapted itself optimally to new loads. In the course of its biomechanical self-optimization, it will heal the notch you cut as speedily as possible, in order to repair even the smallest weak point, which might otherwise cost it its life in the next storm.

This book is dedicated to the understanding of this biomechanical optimization of shape. And not only that: With the knowledge of these perfect processes of self-optimization in nature, techniques for the improvement of mechanical structural members could be developed. Industry already uses them. Nature shows us the way to eco-design, to machines in accordance with nature's laws governing structures and shapes.

CLAUS MATTHECK: Born in Dresden, Germany in 1947. Study of physics in Dresden, PhD in theoretical physics in 1973. Habilitation in the field of damage control in 1985. Lectures on biomechanics at the University of Karlsruhe. Head of the Department of Biomechanics of the Research Centre in Karlsruhe, where the results described in this book were obtained. Several awards in science and literature.

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Prof Mattheck explains very lucidly how engineers who wants to evolve the best engineering design of components- with high strength and light weight in general- can learnn from nature this art . The book is very stimulating to engineering mechanics students.
Shajahan

Contents

The Minimum on Mechanics
3
Thermal Expansion and Thermal Stresses
11
The Finite Element Method FEM
12
Notches and Notch Stresses
14
Crack Propagation
20
Overview of the Mechanics
21
What Is a Good Mechanical Design?
25
The Axiom of Uniform Stress and How Computer Methods Derive from It
29
Failure of ThickWalled Wooden Tubes by CrossSectional Flattening
142
The Tree as a ThinWalled Tube
144
The Open CrossSection The LoadDependent Chameleon
146
The Devils Ear
147
Fatal Failure or Last Resort?
148
The Wind Breakage of ShallowRooters
157
Windthrow
159
The Beginning of the End
160

ComputerAided Optimization Growth in the Computer
32
Away with the Ballast
35
The StressIncrementControlled SKO Method
39
Presentation of the Methods at a Glance
41
The Mechanics of Trees and the SelfOptimization of Tree Shape
43
The Top Rules
44
The Quest for Light
49
The Axiom of Uniform Stress and Tree Shape
53
From the HighTech Connection to the Point of Potential Breakage
58
Risk Only with Incorrect Loading
61
The Tension Fork
62
The Compression Fork
64
Ingenious Anchors with a Penchant for Social Contacts
67
Points of Potential Breakage are Speedily Repaired
81
Mechanical Companionship with Inanimate Objects
96
Species Difference as a Mechanical Handicap
100
From First Kiss to LifeLong Marriage
104
The Cross Weld
106
Merciless Welding Artist
112
Advantages of the Social Behaviour of Trees for the Species
114
The Internal Diary as a Consequence of the External Situation
115
Reaction Wood and Helical Grain in the Sawn Section
116
The Sawn Section Through Healed Wounds
117
The Sick Report of the Annual Rings
118
A Dead Branch Is Treated Like a Steel Tube
123
The Trees Marriage in the Sawn Section
125
Summary of the Rules for Annual Ring Design
127
The Fear of Shear Stress
129
How Does a Tree Break?
141
Can Trees Really Not Shrink?
163
UltraLight and Very Strong by Continuous Optimization of Shape
165
Selected Examples
167
Healing of a Femur Fracture
170
The Consequences of Hip Prostheses for the Femur
172
The Vertebral Arch A Weak Point?
175
MicroFrameworks as Pressure Distributor Dash Pot and LightWeight Internal Architecture
177
The Wanderings of the Trabeculae in the Search for Pure Axial Loading
178
Bony Frameworks and Tree Frameworks Compared
183
The Reasons Why Bones Are Better at Adapting Their Shape
184
ShapeOptimized by Success in the Lottery of Heredity
185
Thorn Shape and Load Direction
187
Biological Shells
191
Why a Shell Theory Is Inadequate for Shape Optimization
192
Tortoises and Nuts
195
UltraLight but Highly Specialized
199
A Functional Identity
201
Buttress Roots from the Standpoint of Bracing
202
Shape Optimization by Growth in Engineering Design
209
Beam Shoulders
213
Shape Optimization of ThreeDimensional Components
214
Frameworks
217
Design Target and Realization
221
Sensitization by Specialization
223
Ecodesign and ClosetoNature Computer Empiricism
225
New Examples of Application in SelfExplanatory Illustrations
227
References
271
Subject Index
273
Copyright

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Page vii - No engineer in the world has, as yet, been able to copy this structural member, which is excellently optimized in its external shape and its internal architecture as regards minimum weight and maximum strength.
Page vii - In the course of its biomechanical self-optimization it will heal up the notch you cut as speedily as possible, in order to repair even the smallest weak point, which might otherwise cost it its life in the next storm.

About the author (1998)

Born in Dresden, Germany in 1947. Study of physics in Dresden, Phd in theoretical physics in 1973. Habilitation in the field of damage control in 1985. Lectures on biomechanics at the University of Kalrsruhe. Head of the Department of Biomechanics of the Research Centre in Karlsruhe. Several awards in science and literature, 2003 Germany's environmental achievement award (Deutscher Umweltpreis).