Using Nature as a Guide to Better Design!

Using Nature as a Guide to Better Design!


Nature is full of fantastic models of how we should design and use different elements provided by Mother Nature, herself!

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A biologist once said, ‘Life creates conditions conducive to life.”  Meaning that life creates an environment suited for life and we constantly are taking this for granted.  We as humans, do not follow this simple rule.  We see ourselves as something unnatural and we then have to break the mold to “rise above nature” when really, there is no escaping nature itself.  So, why don’t we just adapt and use nature as a guide?  And this is when biomimicry comes into play.

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What is biomimicry, you ask?  This website features a great definition and video explaining biomimicry.

An example of biomimicry is the lotus leaf effect! A lotus plant lives in typically in a muddy habitat but it maintains a clean surface without using exorbitant amounts of energy. The lotus leaf have a certain surface texture that causes water to bead up and attract any dirt particles currently on the leaf.  Then once enough water has beaded up with the dirt, it rolls off the leaf, resulting in a clean surface.  By studying this prime example of self-cleaning surfaces, now we have waterproof surfaces and self-cleaning coatings for different materials.  Such as a paint called, Lotusan Paint.

Also there is a soil and stain resistant for textiles using fluorochemicals as the key ingredients.  These chemicals have been researched because of the morpho butterfly, whose wing’s surface sheds water and dirt via hydrophobic microstructure.  By studying how this butterfly has “clean wings”, there are now finishes that are self cleaning for windows, lenses, fabrics and other similar surfaces.  A great example is GreenShield Fabric Finish.

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There are tons of examples of great ways we use nature as a guide to better our lives on this website at AskNature. Definitely take a look at the shells, blue mussel, shark shin, groundhog, bull kelp, and the termite mound articles.  It is fascinating! Just got to the search bar and type where it says, “how would nature…”, then any animal or organism and see how they have researched it to benefit our world today!

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