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B04 > Fabrication of biomimetic and biologically inspired (modular) structures for use in the construction industry

Principal Investigators

Dr.-Ing. Armin Lechler (S-ISW)
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Götz Gresser (S-ITFT)
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner Sobek (S-ILEK)

Research Team

Dipl.-Ing. Daniel Coupek
Dipl. Arch. Daria Kovaleva
Frederik Wulle, M.Sc.

The possible creation of a basis for future building construction according to biological models will be evaluated from the knowledge acquired with respect to systematics and the suitable reproduction of such structures. This applies at both the small biomimetic scale and the large construction scale. Hence, production at both these scales has to be investigated. The challenge of manufacturing biomimetic and/or bio-inspired structures includes, in principal, the provision of methods and procedures that allow the mapping of models of the biological counterpart based on a production-related description. Additional methods must be developed that enable the transfer of biological features to the desired characteristics of architectonic structures.

The transformation of biological paradigms into building construction involves the transfer structure- and system-determining features from biological materials to those of construction-specific materials and of innovative non-construction-specific materials. The methodological approach requires the validation and verification of production methods at the small scale (model, elementary cell) in order to transfer our findings to the production of components at a architectonic scale during the subsequent period of research. A basic condition for the further development of such production procedures is that the manufacture of complex new component structures must be economical, even at a lot size of one.

A major focus of research at the ISW is the production of complex biomimetic structures by layering processes (additive processes); thus, the proposed production methods will initially involve scaled up Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). If necessary, various combinations of FDM, SLS and LOM will later be taken into consideration.
At the ILEK, investigations will be concerned with spraying and/or casting methods for the production of the internal structure of concrete elements/elementary cells. At the ITFT, pultrusion processes will be developed for creating spatial biomimetic structures. The extent to which these production methods can complement each other or can be used as a hybrid production process in one and the same plant will be examined and considered.

Generally, the family of layer-based production processes is suitable for the development of complex geometries and structures, the functional integration of components and, consequently, the generation of lightweight structures based on natural models. In addition to the complexity of the geometries of such models, the variety of employed materials and their resulting behaviour has to be considered. Since a basic principle of load-bearing living matter is the transfer of the load via matrix-embedded fibres, various macroscopic features of construction materials will be achieved in subproject B04 by the targeted placement of diverse fibrous materials. Thus, the production of fibre-reinforced structures with a graded behaviour should be possible by layer-based processes and by spatial pultrusion. Hence, known layer processes and pultrusion methods will serve as a starting point, although their suitability must be evaluated and further developed with respect to the requirements of biomimetically structured, architectonic components.

Graded concrete created through  layering process

Graded concrete created through layering process

 3-D- print head integrating carbon fibre

3-D- print head integrating carbon fibre

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  Picture: 3-D-print head integrating carbon fibre. Bildnachweis: IFF/IPA