Dr. Simon Poppinga (Plant Biomechanics Group, University of Freiburg)
“How plants move, and how the motion principles can inspire new technologies”
From very slow growth processes to ultrafast spore cannons: plant motion speed spans at least seven orders of magnitude, and the diversity of motions and of the principles of actuation has fascinated scientists as well as engineers for centuries. I will briefly explain how plants can generate movement, and how the underlying principles can be used for biomimetic technical applications. Examples to be described in detail are: the slow hygroscopic motions of false indusia in ferns and of pine cones; the fast snap trap action in the carnivorous Venus flytrap and of the catapult-flypaper trap in sundews; the ultrafast prey capture via suction in bladderworts and by snapping in the waterwheel plant; as well as the ultrafast spore catapults in ferns. By presenting several cases of highly specialized pollination mechanisms I will also show how completely passive yet complex motion can be achieved, which is free of metabolic ‘costs’ (in terms of energy). Attendees will get up-to-date insights into current research projects concerning the physics of plant motion, its abstraction and technical implementation.
Monday, September 26 at 2 pm in room 104 Wurster Hall
(please note the different room and I kindly ask you to be on time)