Cambridge researchers are growing bone for greener buildings

June 27, 2016 by  
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Concrete and steel make up the bulk of today’s skyscrapers and city buildings. But both materials require huge amounts of energy to process, accounting for nearly 10 percent of global carbon emissions . University of Cambridge researchers led by Michelle Oyen are pursuing a solution in the lab: they think materials like bone and eggshell could offer a greener alternative. Knowing that the production of steel and concrete results in more carbon emissions than air travel , Oyen, a bioengineer, decided to tackle the problem from a new angle, drawing inspiration from nature for new building materials . She works in the field of biomimetics or “copying life.” With US Army Corps of Engineers funding, she’s made artificial eggshell and bone in the lab, materials that could be used for medical implants – or for constructing buildings. Related: Michael Green on Why Wood Skyscrapers are Better than Concrete and Steel Towers In a press release Oyen said, “What we’re trying to do is to rethink the way that we make things. Engineers tend to throw energy at problems, whereas nature throws information at problems – they fundamentally do things differently…Constructing buildings out of entirely new materials would mean completely rethinking the whole industry. But if you want to do something really transformative to bring down carbon emissions, then I think that’s what we have to do. If we’re going to make a real change, a major rethink is what has to happen.” The process to fabricate bone and eggshell happens at room temperature, and thus requires far less energy than processing concrete and steel. Proteins and minerals lend hardness and toughness. The researchers are also working to incorporate natural properties of bones – notably the fact that they can heal themselves – into the lab-made materials. According to the team, their process could be easily scaled up. But we probably won’t start building with eggshells and bones tomorrow. Oyen’s team is still using animal collagen to make bones and eggshells, though they are looking for a way to use synthetic material, perhaps a polymer or synthetic protein, instead. The construction industry would also have to rewrite building standards to accommodate the new materials. Via Engadget Images via eVolo and Zhang Yu on Flickr

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Cambridge researchers are growing bone for greener buildings

Biomimicry 3.8 Founder Janine Benyus Says Biomimicry is the Key to a Green 3D Printing Revolution

June 20, 2013 by  
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Sunflower photo from Shutterstock 3D printing is one of today’s most exciting emerging technologies – few other developments have as much potential to shape the way we make things and the world as we know it. Not only does 3D printing enable users to manufacture virtually anything, it can greatly reduce time and costs involved in creating unique objects. So far, the technology has been used to make everything from prosthetic limbs to jet engine parts , but that’s just the beginning. As technology improves and costs decrease, 3d printers are poised to enter the consumer realm – which means that we’re at a pivotal point in the development of the medium. At the Biomimicry 3.8 Education Summit and Global Conference this weekend in Boston, Biomimicry 3.8 founder, biologist and author Janine Benyus will explain how we can bring about a green 3D printing revolution by developing printing processes modeled on the way nature builds living organisms. Read the rest of Biomimicry 3.8 Founder Janine Benyus Says Biomimicry is the Key to a Green 3D Printing Revolution Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printer , 3D printing , additive manufacturing , biomimetic , biomimicry , biomimicry 3.8 , biomimicry 3d , Design , green design , green materials , green technology , Janine Benyus , recyclable materials , recyclable polymers , sustainable design        

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Biomimicry 3.8 Founder Janine Benyus Says Biomimicry is the Key to a Green 3D Printing Revolution

Biomimicry: 10 Eco-Friendly Fashions That Are Inspired by Nature

June 13, 2012 by  
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With millions of years of testing and refining her creations, Mother Nature is the best designer there is. But that doesn’t mean we can’t cherry-pick and copy some of nature’s best designs.  “Biomimicry,” a term popularized by  Janine Benyus in her 1997 book,  Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature , is a process by which humans seek to copy some of nature’s best creations, providing inspiration for everything from solar panels to skyscrapers. In a new feature, our fashion-obsessed sister site Ecouterre has rounded up 10 examples of how the fashion industry draws cues from nature to produce innovative and high-performance clothing. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: BioCouture , biomimetic , biomimicry , Diana Eng , eco-fashion , Fashion , InCrops Enterprise Hub , inspired by nature , Katie Ledger , Miura Ori scarf , Morphotex , mother nature , Páramo , pollinator frocks , Speedo’s Fastskin FSII , Stefanie Nieuwenhuys , Suzanne Lee , Tara Baoth Mooney , Teijin

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Biomimicry: 10 Eco-Friendly Fashions That Are Inspired by Nature

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