Nature is an Engineer’s Biggest Inspiration

Cedarville Engineering Biology

Do you ever wonder how engineers design such clever innovations?

Believe it or not, some engineering solutions were inspired from the strategies of nature. This idea of replicating environmental patterns to create real-world solutions is biomimicry. As many can see, nature has already solved most of its problem because it’s been alive for billions of years. Now, engineers are taking advantage of nature and implementing its ideas into their solutions.

Japanese engineers attempted to improve their Shinkansen, or bullet train, system that went over 200 miles per hour (mph). The problem wasn’t the speed of the train, but the sound that came when the nose of the trail pushed air up in a tunnel. When the bullet trains entered a tunnel, they created a “tunnel boom,” a loud sound created by high-speed trains that interact with tunnels. To increase the aerodynamics of the bullet train, engineers mimicked the design of Kingfisher bird’s beak. These birds have special beaks that minimize splash when they dive into the water in search of food. In 1997, the West Japan Railway Company created the 500 series of bullet trains that were 10% faster, 15% more energy efficient, and less quiet all thanks to the Kingfisher bird.

Nobody really appreciates termites due to their destructive methods. However, the engineering firm Arup took advantage of termites’ strategies. Termites are infamous for creating the most efficient ventilation systems for cooling in the world. With the help of air pockets, termites have been able to create natural cooling systems in their mounds. Arup used the termites’ system to create a shopping center in Zimbabwe. The ventilation system that they created uses 10% less energy than an average air-conditioned building.

Other major examples of engineering projects that were inspired by nature includes:

  • Humpback Whales and Wind Turbines
  • Chimpanzees and Self-Healing Medicine
  • Dolphins and Tsunami Detection
  • Sharks and Swimming Caps
  • Stenocara Beetles and Water Harvesting
  • Woodpeckers and Mechanical Shock
  • Squids and Military Camouflage

CEDARVILLE uses strategic designs that give back to nature by providing environmentally friendly resources. Call us at 610-705-4500 or email info@cedarvilleeng.com to find out more.

 

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