Category Archives: energy

bio-inspired spring to reach your tall targets

Cucumber_Image2_605.jpg.w300h171 CucumberVine3.jpg.w300h452It has long been known that many climbing plants produce unusual tendrils for grasping and climbing. When stretched tightly, the spiral-shaped fibers do not unwind to a flat ribbon like a typical spring shape such as a telephone cord. Instead, when stretched, sections of the fiber coil further in two opposite directions, tightening and strengthening the fiber.  This allows the plant to pull itself upward toward sunlight by grasping onto a branch or trellis.

 

Technical application:

machinery, robotics, and biomedicine

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leaf-solar collector; make your own hydrogen

leaf Solar energy is a popular topic today, and plants provide us with ideas for efficient collection of sunshine energy. During photosynthesis, sunlight converts carbon dioxide into water and sugars which nourish the plant. Worldwide, the daily rate leaf2of solar energy absorption by vegetation is six times greater than the output of all the world’s power plants.

Technical application:

produce energy (e.g. hydrogen)

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Leaves learn us how to produce electricity and harvest water

Transpiration is the evaporation of water from the leaves of plants and trees. The undersidesTranspiration_Xerophyte.jpg of leaves are dotted with hundreds of tiny openings called stoma. Carbon dioxide enters the leaf through these pores, and water escapes.  A mature tree may evaporate hundreds of gallons of water on a warm, dry day. The process cools the vegetation and also allows the internal flow of nutrients. The familiar veins within leaves transmit the water to the stoma. Studies have shown that the branching Tomato_leaf_stomate.jpg.w300h307veins, called a dendrite pattern, are spaced out for maximum water flow. This leaf vein pattern may help design engineers build more efficient irrigation systems.

Tomato leaf stoma

 

Technical application:

generate  , harvest water

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Wild animals (macrosystem) show the same behavior like electrons (microsystem)

1024px-Cougar_closeup integrated-circuit-layoutThe search for a solution led McRae, now a biologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, to his past life as an electrical engineer. He had a hunch that the way animals travel through a landscape might be similar to how electricity moves across circuits. If that were the case, circuit theory would help explain how genes disperse.

 

Technical application:

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Salt-Nano wire for high speed data transfer

salt We are all familiar with table salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl). This essential, common compound is ordinarily crystalline and brittle in nature. However, many materials behave strangely on the scale of minute quantities, and salt is no efirewirexception. Researchers at Boston College have explored tiny salt samples at close distance using an atomic force microscope.

 

Technical application:

high speed data transfer

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Festo´s world of bionic solutions

festo bionicFesto has been working intensively on the topic of bionics since the early 90s. In 2006, the Bionic Learning Network was launched – an association of renowned universities, institutes and development companies. Since this time, Festo has been developing and supporting projects and test objects whose basic technical principles are derived from a wide variety of principles found in nature.

Technical application:

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Flying with Algae

airbusJülich, 16 May 2014 – A global society and a functioning world economy would not be conceivable without mobility. An important role is played by the aviation industry, which needs solutions for sustainable fuel in the near future. The AUFWIND project investigates algae production and conversion to biokerosene. A related project, known as OptimAL, optimizes the productivity and light use of algae. To support these activities, the Algae Science Centre has begun work at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Technical application:

alternative fuel for combustion engines

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ultrathin insulation for buildings inspired by the polar bear

polarbear polarhairMimicking polar bear fur, which is able to insulate the animal’s body to temperatures of 98.6° F (37° C) when outside temperatures get as low as -40° F (-40° C) could lead to better building insulation

Technical application:

ultrathin insulation

 

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shoals of fish will offer their secret for windfarms

fishsoal windfarmWind turbines are the Colossus of the modern landscape, their blades sweeping circles more than a football field in diameter. Critics call them unsightly and say that the rotating blades clobber unsuspecting birds.

John Dabiri of Caltech found a solution underwater. He built an experimental wind farm — the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE) — in which the location of turbines relative to each other takes advantage of the air flow among them.

Technical application:

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walefin for optimized turbines

walefin submarineThe humpback whale has pronounced bumps or tubercles along the leading edge of its pectoral flippers (above left). A idealized model of the flipper (above upper right), which was tested in a wind tunnel, demonstrated that the tubercles enhanced hydrodynamic performance…

Technical application:

airblade, turbine, windmill

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