Assignment 1: find 2 natural history that connected to engineering design.
1. fishes uses their air bladder to control their up or down position in the water. Fish fill their bladder with air to increase the body buoyancy. It allow the fish to go upward in the water without spending extra energy to swim. Shark does not have bladder so that it has to swim to prevent sinking to the bottom of the sea. Swim bladder has a very similar engineering design in submarine. Air is store in the form of high pressure, and is released to fill the “bladder” of the submarine to increase the buoyancy.
2. honeycomb is always a hexagon in 2-dimensional surface, and it is used in airplane due to its strength. But my focus is on the area saving feature. hexagon save the area most, in other words it use least building materials for the same area. I am thinking whether if can be used in building of science lab. The traditional lab are rectangles, which are connected by long passage, which makes area very big. Big area makes troubles in the science labs. For example, equipments will be separate in many rooms, and some of them may be far away from each other, such as the western blot developer in this building. Another example is the energy. Labs needs a nearly constant temperature, and big area requires more electrical energy to maintain the room temperature in the labs. Big lab rooms also drives graduate students to spend more time on just running everywhere, which reduce the experimental speed. How to make the lab smaller and more proper designed so that we use less time, energy, and finish our experiments efficiently?
Here is an idea from the honeycomb: according to the picture, the lab is built in hexagons, one link to another. Hexagon can save more building materials but having the same area. In other words hexagon use space more efficiently, which makes us to use less building area, but have a faster working efficiency. For a science lab, it has many advantages as described as follows:
Area 1 will hold some public equipments, such as water bath. If all water bath are concentrated in one area, many people can use different temperature at the same time, and researchers may reduce the number of water bath in the lab, while separation of water bath in different labs will make trouble when researcher needs two different temperatures but only have one in his/her lab. Other similar equipments includes electrophoresis tanks and electrical sources, HPLC, masspect, temperature shaker, and 4C room. Putting cell culture cabinets or bacteria cabinets in area 1 will also facilitate people to share these equipments.
Area 2 hold different benches for different people. Traditional benches are always a long table, and one researcher may not need the whole area (just like me). This long bench also cause long running space when I need a reagent in the fridge far away from my bench. Some labs even have a big bench table in the middle, making people to running around this table to get reagents, pipet tubes, etc. However, in a hexagon lab area, you have 6 small benches to provide enough room for reagents, and you may only need to just turn around to get what you want.
Area 3 hold offices, storage rooms, and stairs. Research scientists are working in a place where sun lights are limited, temperature is fixed, and winds are blocked. This kind of place will make people far away from the normal condition. All graduate students never forget the lunch time in front of the big window beside the stairs because it is the most beautiful time during the day are away from the lab. If area 3 can become offices for researchers, they will have a door which separate them from the lab. Then they can have a big window in the office without concerning the sunlight to destroy their chemicals. This design also eliminates the sunlight in the actual working benches.
finally, this hexagon idea from the honeycomb have another benefic, that is, it can be enlarged as many layers as people want. If you think one bench area is not enough, then ok make another layer, and you have 3 more bench areas. Technically, this increasement is almost unlimited.
This design must have many disadvantages at the same time, but as I said, this is only an idea from the honeycomb. May be we can modify it in class.
2. human inventions learn from the biology world.
saw is learned from plants with teethed leaves. According to the wikipedia, several people invent saw in different places of the world. One of the story related to biomimitics comes from an old Chinese history: The inventor`s name is Lu Ban, famous carpenter in the Chun Qiu period. One day he went up the mountain to collect firewood. He almost fall down when he climbing up the mountain, grabbing at some grass to stop his fall. His hand is cut by the grass. He examed the grass and noticed that it had teeth along its edge. This bring him the idea to create a tool with teeth edge so that he can cut wood with easy. Finally, he invented the saw. This is probably the oldest biomimitic story from China I have ever seen.
the oar on the boat is learned from the fin of the fish. The picture Fim and Oar show the similarity of them. Fin has a big area to push water, unlike human hands. Oar is very similar, use big area in the end to push water.