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Plants as biological role models for bioinspired novel material systems and principle demonstrators

Monday (16.03.2020)
16:00 - 16:20
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Nature has a tremendous repertoire of the most divers material systems, which evolved in living organisms over the course 3.5 billion years. These systems now serve as concept generators and prototypes for bioinspired material systems that transfer the functions of animated nature into technical applications and thus enable novel functions such as embodied intelligence and/or embodied energy.

Such bioinspired systems draw their inspiration not only from the coconut endocarp and the peel of the pomelo for fracture and puncture resistant material systems, but also highlight the potential of plant movement, attachment and adaptability as role models utilizing e.g. principles of carnivorous snap-trap plants and climbing plants for hinge less movements and attachment structures in technical applications.

In the cluster of Excellence “Living, adaptive and energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS)” at the University of Freiburg novel materials systems that show dynamic, life-like and non-equilibrium features are being developed. Envisaged technical demonstrators like an artificial Venus flytrap will demonstrate the feasibility of the technologies developed in livMatS.

The demonstrators are the first step towards future implementation of novel technologies into industrial products and everyday life applications. Here, we present various bio-inspired demonstrators which not only incorporate the snap-trap movement principles of two carnivorous plant species (Venus flytrap and waterwheel plant), but also show adaptive responses to different environmental triggers. The presented actuator systems are first examples to successfully implement several plant movement actuation and deformation systems into one versatile adaptive technical compliant mechanism, and can serve as a basis for the further developments of bioinspired material systems within livMatS.


Dr. Falk Esser
University of Freiburg
Additional Authors:
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck
    University of Freiburg