Special Issue "Bridging the Gap: From Biomechanics and Functional Morphology of Plants to Biomimetic Developments"

A special issue of Biomimetics (ISSN 2313-7673).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Olga Speck
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Plant Biomechanics Group, Botanic Garden, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Schänzlestraße 1, D 79104 Freiburg, Germany
Interests: bioinspired materials systems: self-repairing materials systems, adaptive materials systems, and composite materials; functional morphology and biomechanics of plants; biomimetics and sustainable technology development; education and training in the field of biomimetics
Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Plant Biomechanics Group, Botanic Garden, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Schänzlestraße 1, D 79104 Freiburg, Germany
Interests: functional morphology and biomechanics of plants; plant–animal interactions; bioinspired materials systems, structures, and surfaces; phylogeny of plants and functional structures; paleobotany; scientific education and training in Botanic Gardens

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue, entitled “Bridging the Gap: From Biomechanics and Functional Morphology of Plants to Biomimetic Developments”, will cover the entire development chain from basic research in the field of biomechanics, simulation of the functional morphology of plants, and the development of physical models for a better understanding of functional principles to biomimetic products on the laboratory scale or prototype level. The size scale can be any hierarchical level, from (macro-)molecules to entire plants.

In general, plants can be regarded as fibre-reinforced materials systems defined by a number of material properties. As materials systems consisting of various components with different material properties, they are not only anatomically inhomogeneous and mechanically anisotropic, but also possess a spatial and temporal heterogeneity due to growth and their capacity to respond or adapt to changing environmental conditions.

We kindly invite you to contribute to this Special Issue with an experimental paper, a modelling/simulation paper, or a review article on any topic related to this subject.

Dr. Olga Speck
Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biomimetics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • herbaceous and woody plants, including trees
  • plant-inspired materials systems, structures, and surfaces
  • plant movement
  • plant–animal interaction
  • fibre-reinforced bioinspired materials systems
  • self-X-functions of natural and artificial materials systems
  • biomimetic developments with life-like functions

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Deformation Behavior of Elastomer-Glass Fiber-Reinforced Plastics in Dependence of Pneumatic Actuation
Biomimetics 2021, 6(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6030043 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 130
Abstract
This paper aims to define the influencing design criteria for compliant folding mechanisms with pneumatically actuated hinges consisting of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). Through simulation and physical testing, the influence of stiffness, hinge width as well as variation of the stiffness, in the flaps [...] Read more.
This paper aims to define the influencing design criteria for compliant folding mechanisms with pneumatically actuated hinges consisting of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). Through simulation and physical testing, the influence of stiffness, hinge width as well as variation of the stiffness, in the flaps without changing the stiffness in the hinge zone, was evaluated. Within a finite element model software, a workflow was developed for simulations, in order to infer mathematical models for the prediction of mechanical properties and the deformation behavior as a function of the aforementioned parameters. In conclusion, the bending angle increases with decreasing material stiffness and with increasing hinge width, while it is not affected by the flap stiffness itself. The defined workflow builds a basis for the development of a predictive model for the deformation behavior of FRPs. Full article
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Article
Self-Actuated Paper and Wood Models: Low-Cost Handcrafted Biomimetic Compliant Systems for Research and Teaching
Biomimetics 2021, 6(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6030042 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 161
Abstract
The abstraction and implementation of plant movement principles into biomimetic compliant systems are of increasing interest for technical applications, e.g., in architecture, medicine, and soft robotics. Within the respective research and development approaches, advanced methods such as 4D printing or 3D-braiding pultrusion are [...] Read more.
The abstraction and implementation of plant movement principles into biomimetic compliant systems are of increasing interest for technical applications, e.g., in architecture, medicine, and soft robotics. Within the respective research and development approaches, advanced methods such as 4D printing or 3D-braiding pultrusion are typically used to generate proof-of-concept demonstrators at the laboratory or demonstrator scale. However, such techniques are generally time-consuming, complicated, and cost-intensive, which often impede the rapid realization of a sufficient number of demonstrators for testing or teaching. Therefore, we have produced comparable simple handcrafted compliant systems based on paper, wood, plastic foil, and/or glue as construction materials. A variety of complex plant movement principles have been transferred into these low-cost physical demonstrators, which are self-actuated by shrinking processes induced by the anisotropic hygroscopic properties of wood or paper. The developed systems have a high potential for fast, precise, and low-cost abstraction and transfer processes in biomimetic approaches and for the “hands-on understanding” of plant movements in applied university and school courses. Full article
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Article
The Plant-Like Structure of Lance Sea Urchin Spines as Biomimetic Concept Generator for Freeze-Casted Structural Graded Ceramics
Biomimetics 2021, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020036 - 31 May 2021
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Abstract
The spine of the lance sea urchin (Phyllacanthus imperialis) is an unusual plant-akin hierarchical lightweight construction with several gradation features: a basic core–shell structure is modified in terms of porosities, pore orientation and pore size, forming superstructures. Differing local strength and [...] Read more.
The spine of the lance sea urchin (Phyllacanthus imperialis) is an unusual plant-akin hierarchical lightweight construction with several gradation features: a basic core–shell structure is modified in terms of porosities, pore orientation and pore size, forming superstructures. Differing local strength and energy consumption features create a biomimetic potential for the construction of porous ceramics with predetermined breaking points and adaptable behavior in compression overload. We present a new detailed structural and failure analysis of those spines and demonstrate that it is possible to include at least a limited number of those features in an abstracted way in ceramics, manufactured by freeze-casting. This possibility is shown to come from a modified mold design and optimized suspensions. Full article
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Article
3D Reticulated Actuator Inspired by Plant Up-Righting Movement Through a Cortical Fiber Network
Biomimetics 2021, 6(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020033 - 27 May 2021
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Abstract
Since most plant movements take place through an interplay of elastic deformation and strengthening tissues, they are thus ideal concept generators for biomimetic hingeless actuators. In the framework of a biomimetic biology push process, we present the transfer of the functional movement principles [...] Read more.
Since most plant movements take place through an interplay of elastic deformation and strengthening tissues, they are thus ideal concept generators for biomimetic hingeless actuators. In the framework of a biomimetic biology push process, we present the transfer of the functional movement principles of hollow tubular geometries that are surrounded by a net-like structure. Our plant models are the recent genera Ochroma (balsa) and Carica (papaya) as well as the fossil seed fern Lyginopteris oldhamia, which hold a net of macroscopic fiber structures enveloping the whole trunk. Asymmetries in these fiber nets, which are specifically caused by asymmetric growth of the secondary wood, enable the up-righting of inclined Ochroma and Carica stems. In a tubular net-like structure, the fiber angles play a crucial role in stress–strain relationships. When braided tubes are subjected to internal pressure, they become shorter and thicker if the fiber angle is greater than 54.7°. However, if the fiber angle is less than 54.7°, they become longer and thinner. In this article, we use straightforward functional demonstrators to show how insights into functional principles from living nature can be transferred into plant-inspired actuators with linear or asymmetric deformation. Full article
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Article
Strengthening Structures in the Petiole–Lamina Junction of Peltate Leaves
Biomimetics 2021, 6(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020025 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 725
Abstract
Peltate- or umbrella- shaped leaves are characterised by a petiole more or less centrally attached to the lamina on the abaxial side. The transition from the petiole to lamina in peltate leaves resembles a significant and abrupt geometrical change from a beam to [...] Read more.
Peltate- or umbrella- shaped leaves are characterised by a petiole more or less centrally attached to the lamina on the abaxial side. The transition from the petiole to lamina in peltate leaves resembles a significant and abrupt geometrical change from a beam to a plate in a very compact shape. Since these leaves have not been subject of many studies, the distribution of that specific leaf morphology in the plant kingdom was investigated. Furthermore, the connection between the petiole and lamina of several peltate species was studied anatomically and morphologically, focusing on the reinforcing fibre strands. We found peltate leaves in 357 species representing 25 orders, 40 families and 99 genera. The majority are herbaceous perennials growing in shady, humid to wet habitats mainly distributed in the subtropical–tropical zones. Detailed anatomical investigation of 41 species revealed several distinct principles of how the transition zone between the petiole and lamina is organised. In-depth analysis of these different types accompanied by finite element-modelling could serve as inspiration for supporting structures in lightweight construction. Full article
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Essay
The Challenges of Inferring Organic Function from Structure and Its Emulation in Biomechanics and Biomimetics
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6010021 - 18 Mar 2021
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Abstract
The discipline called biomimetics attempts to create synthetic systems that model the behavior and functions of biological systems. At a very basic level, this approach incorporates a philosophy grounded in modeling either the behavior or properties of organic systems based on inferences of [...] Read more.
The discipline called biomimetics attempts to create synthetic systems that model the behavior and functions of biological systems. At a very basic level, this approach incorporates a philosophy grounded in modeling either the behavior or properties of organic systems based on inferences of structure–function relationships. This approach has achieved extraordinary scientific accomplishments, both in fabricating new materials and structures. However, it is also prone to misstep because (1) many organic structures are multifunctional that have reconciled conflicting individual functional demands (rather than maximize the performance of any one task) over evolutionary time, and (2) some structures are ancillary or entirely superfluous to the functions their associated systems perform. The important point is that we must typically infer function from structure, and that is not always easy to do even when behavioral characteristics are available (e.g., the delivery of venom by the fangs of a snake, or cytoplasmic toxins by the leaf hairs of the stinging nettle). Here, we discuss both of these potential pitfalls by comparing and contrasting how engineered and organic systems are operationally analyzed. We also address the challenges that emerge when an organic system is modeled and suggest a few methods to evaluate the validity of models in general. Full article
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