BioDesign – Seashell

BioDesign – Seashells

Ambience: Waves

Every organism on our planet has evolved with a specific set of characteristics to help it survive. In a way, we’re surrounded by solutions worked out in a billion year old laboratory. Bio-inspired design looks to the laboratory of the world of nature for new ideas. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Kennedy: I think that there are a lot of almost very mundane things around us that when seen at a closer magnification, reveals secrets that are very valuable.

Brook Kennedy is an Associate professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech. He’s developed a lens called the Macronaut, which fits over a smartphone enabling us to examine and photograph the world of nature close up.

Kennedy: I was on the eastern shore of Virginia about a year ago and used the Macronaut lens to look at some clam shells. If you look clam shells, essentially clams kind of 3D print their own bodies, their own shells. But upon looking at this one species, I realized that the layers were not straight, they were not linear, they were not building up in straight layers, but they’re actually corrugated, almost like a Ruffles potato chip. What I realized in seeing this is that this shell would actually be stronger if each layer were corrugated together. It would enable this structure to resist side forces. It’s something that could be applied to the way very basic 3D printers work to make stronger 3D-printed parts.
If you take a clam and try to break it in your hand with the straight lines, it will break fairly much in a straight line, but by corrugating the layers, it adds another layer of structure to make it more robust or stronger, potentially.

We’ll hear more on BioInspired Design in future programs. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

BioDesign - Seashell

What does a seashell have in common with a 3D printer?
Air Date:01/17/2017
Scientist:
Transcript:

BioDesign - Seashells

Ambience: Waves

Every organism on our planet has evolved with a specific set of characteristics to help it survive. In a way, we're surrounded by solutions worked out in a billion year old laboratory. Bio-inspired design looks to the laboratory of the world of nature for new ideas. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Kennedy: I think that there are a lot of almost very mundane things around us that when seen at a closer magnification, reveals secrets that are very valuable.

Brook Kennedy is an Associate professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech. He's developed a lens called the Macronaut, which fits over a smartphone enabling us to examine and photograph the world of nature close up.

Kennedy: I was on the eastern shore of Virginia about a year ago and used the Macronaut lens to look at some clam shells. If you look clam shells, essentially clams kind of 3D print their own bodies, their own shells. But upon looking at this one species, I realized that the layers were not straight, they were not linear, they were not building up in straight layers, but they're actually corrugated, almost like a Ruffles potato chip. What I realized in seeing this is that this shell would actually be stronger if each layer were corrugated together. It would enable this structure to resist side forces. It's something that could be applied to the way very basic 3D printers work to make stronger 3D-printed parts.
If you take a clam and try to break it in your hand with the straight lines, it will break fairly much in a straight line, but by corrugating the layers, it adds another layer of structure to make it more robust or stronger, potentially.

We'll hear more on BioInspired Design in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.