Lecture: Thomas Speck, 10/4

Please join us next week for our first presentation in the International Lecture Series this Fall, organized by the Design Innovation from Nature initiative at UC Berkeley.

Wednesday, October 4, 4:00pm, at VLSB 2060

Professor Thomas Speck

Plant Biomechanics Group Freiburg, Botanic Garden, University of Freiburg, Germany
Freiburg Centre for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT) and Freiburg Materials Research Centre (FMF)

About the Lecture

Title: ‘Learning from plants for livable architecture and sustainable building construction of the 21st century’

During the last decades biomimetics has attracted increasing attention as well from basic and applied research as from various fields of industry, architecture and especially from building construction. Biomimetics has a high innovation potential and offers the possibility for the development of sustainable technical products and production chains. The huge number of organisms with the specific structures and functions they have developed during evolution in adaptation to differing environments represents the basis for all biomimetic R&D-projects. Novel sophisticated methods for quantitatively analysing and simulating the form-structure-function-relationship on various hierarchical levels allow new fascination insights in multi-scale mechanics and other functions of biological materials and surfaces. 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 for reasonable costs. Within the framework of the new Collaborative Research Centre CRC 141 “Biological Design and Integrative Structures” an interdisciplinary team aims to explore the potential of biomimetics for a new smart kind of bioinspired architecture.

After a short introduction into the topic, the interdisciplinary approach and the different process sequences for the development of biomimetic materials for building construction are presented. Main focus is laid on bioinspired light-weight and damping materials and structures as well as on self-x-materials. Examples include branched fiber-reinforced light-weight composite materials, structural materials with a high energy dissipation capacity as fiber-reinforced graded foams and thin-layer compound materials, bioinspired anti-adhesive materials and surfaces, bioinspired self-repairing structural materials, and the biomimetic façade-shading systems flectofin® and flectofold inspired by the bird of paradise flower and the waterwheel plant, respectively.

Short Bio

Thomas Speck studied biology at the University of Freiburg (PhD 1990) and received 1996 the venia legendi for botany & biophysics. After a visiting professorship at the University of Vienna he was offered professorships at the Humboldt-University in Berlin and at the University of Freiburg where he acted from 2002 until 2006 associate professor for ‘Botany’ and director of the Botanic Garden. After declining the offer of a full professorship and the directorship in general of the Botanic Garden at the Freie University Berlin he became in 2006 full professor for ‘Botany: Functional Morphology and Biomimetics’.
He is spokesperson of the Competence Network Biomimetics, vice-president of BIOKON international, vice-chair of the Society for Technical Biology and Bionics, and board member of the Biomechanics Group of the Society for Experimental Biology, U.K. Thomas Speck is deputy director of the Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bio-Inspired Technologies (FIT), scientific member of the Materials Research Centre Freiburg (FMF) and co-spokesperson of the CRC 141 „Biological Design and Integrative Structures – Analysis, Simulation and Implementation in Architecture”. He received several scientific awards, is (co-)editor of several scientific books and journals and has published more than 250 scientific articles in peer reviewed Journals & Books in the fields of functional morphology, biomechanics, biomimetics, evolutionary biology and paleobotany.