University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars > Learning from bamboo: Plant-mimetic design toward less-material & high-stiffness structure

Learning from bamboo: Plant-mimetic design toward less-material & high-stiffness structure

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Light and stiff, bamboo is widely used as a natural, functional material in Japan and other Asian countries. Bamboo is light because of its hollow structure, which allows the plant to grow faster with small amounts of woody parts and expose itself to sunlight above other trees. But this lightness also leaves bamboo vulnerable to strong crosswinds and can make it difficult for the plant to support its own weight. To overcome this shortcoming, the nodes are inserted in the longitudinal direction as stiffeners and the woody parts of bamboo are reinforced with thin but robust fibers (vascular bundles). Our recent researches1),2) have shown that the spatial distributions of nodes and fibers in hollow bamboo cylinders are optimized to reinforce flexural rigidity, a new finding that sheds light on biomimetic approaches in the development of materials. In this talk, the interesting mechanical strategies of wise bamboos are introduced.

References 1) M. Sato, A. Inoue and H. Shima: Bamboo-inspired optimal design of functionally graded hollow cylinders PLoS ONE , 12(5): e0175029 (2017) 2) H. Shima, M. Sato and A. Inoue: Self-adaptive formation of uneven node spacings in wild bamboo Physical Review E, Vol.93, 022406 (2016)

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars series.

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