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Researchers Use 3D Printers To Create Bio-Inspired Materials

Paige Anne Carter



Science and technology still finds it difficult to mimic biological structures and systems. Biological structures and systems have the ability to adapt to their environment through reacting to different stimuli like humidity or the amount of sunlight. For instance, plant structures interact with the seasons based on the atmospheric input which leads them to change their structures in order to adapt to their current environment.

Although difficult to mimic, researchers from the University of Stuttgart led by Professor Achim Menges are currently studying on morphogenetic design computation and biomimetic engineering in creating bio-inspired materials using 3D printers in order to improve conventional engineering and architectural design.

The work of Professor Menges has led him to collaborate with other experts to create hygroscopic components of 3D printed material systems that can trigger changes in the shape of materials in response to the varied atmospheric inputs like relative humidity and temperature within the environment.

Calling their work as Biomimetic Responsive Surface Structures, these bio-inspired structures are revolutionary in such a way that it can transfer biological principles into solid architectural systems. This will allow them to create an entirely new and smart architectural plans–building and structures–that are climate responsive.

The challenge in this research is that while conventional engineering uses sets of functional components such as controllers and sensor, the bio-inspired architectural systems rely on differentiated and structured materials that act in single harmony without the use of functional components. Thus the new design can morph or change its shape without human manipulation.


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