In our current building design philosophy, structural design is based on static predictions of the loads a building will need to withstand and the services it will need to provide. However, one study found that 60% of all buildings are demolished due to obsolescence. To combat our obsolescence-demolition culture, we turn to Nature for lessons about adaptable structural design. In this paper, we investigate the structural adaptability of the T. terebra
spiraled turret shell through finite element modeling and parametric studies. The shell is able to change its structure over time to meet changing performance demands—a feat of adaptability that could transform our current infrastructure design. Modeling the shell’s growth process is an early and simple attempt at characterizing adaptability. As the mollusk deposits material overtime, its shell wall thickness changes, and its number of whorls increases. We designed parametric studies around these two modes of growth and investigated their effect on structural integrity and living convenience for the mollusk. By drawing parallels between the shell structure and human structures, we demonstrate connections between engineering challenges and Nature’s solutions. We encourage readers to consider biomimicry as a source of inspiration for their own quantitative studies for a more sustainable world.
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