Bionic Lightweight Structures
Since many years the Alfred Wegener Institute contributes to biological oceanography and plankton research, and operates the Friedrich-Hustedt Diatom Collection. Proceeding from this in-depth knowledge the principles of high structural strength of these otherwise extremely light diatom skeletons are transferred into technological application. The key patent describes a process called ELiSE: Evolutionary Light Structure Engeneering.
This allows for a fast development of highly efficient light weight constructions offering a large variety of possible solutions. Thus, the method is highly flexible in respect to the requirements of designers and production engineers. Furthermore, ELiSE can be combined with other criteria such as permeability, transparency and aesthetics. From scientific evidence about bio-mechanical functions of plankton shells a bionic approach was developed for the transfer of these unique structural principles into technical light weight engineering basing on the evaluation and evolutionary structure development using computer simulation (finite elements analyses)
ELiSE is based on a 3D database of bionic structures and rated constructive principles sourced from about 100 000 Diatom preparations. Such structures were already preselected for light weight and stability throughout evolution. The construction of prototypes from such preselected structures allows a systematic choice of optimal light weight structures to specific problems.
Features and benefits
- Rapid and simplified construction of prototypes from pre-optimized structures
- Sometimes arise complete new forms
- Optimum structures, showing profound weight and material savings
- Fascinating aesthetic
With the use of ELiSE technologies, a remarkable set of innovations were made in the following technical fields:
- Automotive Industry (e.g Lightweight rims and wheels)
- Aerospace Industry
- Medical Engeneering (fractal structured orthopedic support)
- Offshore Industry (foundation structure)
- Industry housings and frames
- Civil engeneering, architecture
- Objects of daily use
The AWI closely cooperates with the Imare Institute for Marine Resources in this field.