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Research Papers: Empirical Studies

Biomimetics: Structure–Function Patterns Approach

[+] Author and Article Information
Yael Helfman Cohen

Porter School of Environmental Studies,
Tel Aviv University,
Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
e-mail: yael@biomimicry.org.il

Yoram Reich

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tel Aviv University,
Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
e-mail: yoram@eng.tau.ac.il

Sara Greenberg

Faculty of Sciences,
Holon Institute of Technology,
Holon 58102, Israel
e-mail: osa10@zahav.net.il

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received December 8, 2013; final manuscript received July 25, 2014; published online October 8, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Daniel A. McAdams.

J. Mech. Des 136(11), 111108 (Oct 08, 2014) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-13-1567; doi: 10.1115/1.4028169 History: Received December 08, 2013; Revised July 25, 2014; Accepted August 01, 2014

Understanding the relationships between structures and functions is important for engineering design in general and for biomimetic design specifically. In nature, different structures provide a wide range of functions efficiently and with minimal costs. Based on the analyses of 140 biological systems that are derived from biomimetic sources by a TRIZ based method, we provide a list and examples of structure–function patterns that repeat in biomimetic applications. These patterns are presented through a technical lens and a complete system model, serving as engines or brakes of the biological system, exploiting energy sources or blocking them, respectively. This list of patterns serves as an index of clues that open doors for further investigation of the complexity of these relations. Understanding the mechanisms behind these meta-level patterns is required for a successful biomimetic design process. The list provides both keywords for biological databases search and clues for abstraction of biological texts. The TRIZ based method that has been used for this study can be further used for modeling other biological systems during the abstraction stage of the biomimetic design process. Thus, we offer a bridge between biology and technology and set a foundation for a new biomimetic design method.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

The complete viable system model: dashed line elements are parts of the Su_Field model. Solid line elements are parts of the law of system completeness.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Lotus effect cleaning mechanism—analysis by the complete viable system model. Dashed line elements are parts of the Su_Field model. Solid line elements are parts of the law of system completeness.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Streamlined shapes: (a) spiral shell, (b) penguins body contour, (c) boxfish, and (d) kingfisher's beak. Photo (a) (By Andrew Butko, from Wikimedia under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3) [70]. Photo (b) (Reprinted from public domain). Photo (c) (Reprinted from public domain). Photo (d) (Reprinted with permission from Biomimicry IL. Copyright Biomimicry IL) [71].

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Container structures: (a) bird nests, (b) jaw fish—burrow, (c) geophytes, and (d) carnivorous plants cups. Photo (a) (By Fir0002, from Wikimedia under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2) [72]. Photo (b) (From Wikimedia under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2) [73]. Photo (c) (By H. Zell, from Wikimedia under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2) [74]. Photo (d) (Reprinted from public domain).

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