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Journal of Bionic Engineering

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 742–753 | Cite as

Bio-inspiration as a Concept for Sustainable Constructions Illustrated on Graded Concrete

  • Rafael HornEmail author
  • Stefan Albrecht
  • Walter Haase
  • Max Langer
  • Daniel Schmeer
  • Werner Sobek
  • Olga Speck
  • Philip Leistner
Article

Abstract

The building industry is one of the main contributors to worldwide resource consumption and anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, sustainable solutions in construction are particularly urgent. Inspired by the success principles of living nature, biologists and engineers present here an interdisciplinary work: The sustainability assessment of a bio-inspired material technology called graded concrete, which was developed at ILEK. Gradient structural materials can be found in plants on different hierarchical levels, providing a multitude of creative solutions for technology. Graded concrete applies this biological concept of structural optimization to the interior structure of concrete components to minimize material and resource expenditure. To evaluate the sustainability of this innovation, a newly developed quantitative Bio-inspired Sustainability Assessment (BiSA) method is applied. It focuses on the relationship of environmental, social and economic functions and the corresponding burdens quantified basing on life cycle assessment. The BiSA of graded concrete slabs shows significant improvements over conventional concrete for the applied use case. While an overall reduction of environmental burdens by 13% is expected, economic burdens can be reduced by up to 40% and social burdens by 35.7%. The assessment of the graded concrete technology identifies its potential with regard to sustainable construction. The presented work provides a blueprint for the interdisciplinary, integrative work on sustainable, bio-inspired innovations. It shows that the synergies of bio-inspiration and BiSA within technical product development can be fruitful.

Keywords

sustainability assessment bio-inspired sustainability graded concrete biomimetic promise BiSA 

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Notes

Acknowledgment

This work was mainly done under the support of the CRC-Transregio 141 “Biological Design and Integrative Structures—Analysis, Simulation and Implementation in Architecture”/project C01 funded by the German Research Foundation DFG. Significant contributions were made under the support of the project “Leichtbau im Bauwesen” funded by the ministry of economy Baden-Württemberg based on the results of the research projects “Effiziente automatisierte Herstellung multifunktionaler Bauteile mit mineralisierten Hohlkörpern” in the scope of the priority program 1542 “Leicht Bauen mit Beton” funded by the German Research Foundation DFG and “Multifunktional gradierte Bauteile für das nachhaltige Bauen mit Beton” supported by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation. The authors thank the Wirtschaftsministerium Baden-Württemberg for the financial support of this publication.

Supplementary material

42235_2019_60_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (201 kb)
Supplementary file 1 Bio-inspiration as a Concept for Sustainable Constructions Illustrated on Graded Concrete
42235_2019_60_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (112 kb)
Supplementary file 2 Bio-inspiration as a Concept for Sustainable Constructions Illustrated on Graded Concrete

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Copyright information

© Jilin University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Horn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefan Albrecht
    • 1
  • Walter Haase
    • 2
  • Max Langer
    • 3
  • Daniel Schmeer
    • 2
  • Werner Sobek
    • 2
  • Olga Speck
    • 3
  • Philip Leistner
    • 4
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP GaBiStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK)University of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Plant Biomechanics Group, Botanic GardenUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Acoustics and Building PhysicsUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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