Biomechanics and Functional Morphology of Plants—Inspiration for Biomimetic Materials and Structures

  • Thomas SpeckEmail author
  • Georg Bold
  • Tom Masselter
  • Simon Poppinga
  • Stefanie Schmier
  • Marc Thielen
  • Olga Speck


During the last decades, biomimetics has attracted increasing attention as well from basic and applied research as from various fields of industry. Biomimetics has a high innovation potential and offers the possibility for the development of sustainable technical products and production chains. Novel sophisticated methods for quantitatively analyzing and simulating the form–structure–function relationship on various hierarchical levels allow new fascinating insights into multi-scale mechanics and other functional parameter spaces of biological materials systems. On the other hand, new production methods enable for the first time the transfer of many outstanding properties of the biological role models into innovative biomimetic products at reasonable costs. Presented examples of biomimetic developments and products inspired by plants include branched and unbranched fiber-reinforced lightweight composite materials, structural materials with a high energy dissipation capacity as fiber-reinforced graded foams and compound materials, solutions for elastic architecture as the biomimetic façade-shading systems Flectofin® and Flectofold inspired by the bird of paradise flower and the waterwheel plant, respectively. Finally, a short overview of bioinspired self-repairing materials is given and a short discussion of the potential of biomimetic products to contribute to sustainable material development is presented.


Biomimetics Fiber-reinforced composite Self-repairing materials systems Damping material and fracture toughness Elastic architecture Façade shading 



The authors thank the German Research Foundation (DFG) for funding within the Transregional Collaborative Research Centre (SFB/Transregio) 141 “Biological Design and Integrative Structures”. S. P. and T. S. additionally thank the JONAS research network (Joint Research Network on Advanced Materials and Systems) for funding. T. S. and M. T. are grateful for financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) “NanoMatTextil” within the framework of “BISS: Bio Inspired Safety Systems”. The research on self-repairing materials was funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, within the framework of the “Sustainability Center Freiburg”, which is gratefully acknowledged by O. S. and T. S.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Speck
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Georg Bold
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tom Masselter
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Simon Poppinga
    • 1
    • 3
  • Stefanie Schmier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marc Thielen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Olga Speck
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Plant Biomechanics Group Freiburg, Faculty of BiologyBotanic Garden, University of FreiburgFreiburg im BreisgauGermany
  2. 2.Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT)Freiburg im BreisgauGermany
  3. 3.Freiburg Materials Research Center (FMF)Freiburg im BreisgauGermany
  4. 4.Competence Network BiomimeticsFreiburg im BreisgauGermany

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