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Responsive Plant-inspired skins: A review

Lookup NU author(s): Yomna Elghazi, Dr Neveen Hamza, Professor Martyn Dade-Robertson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Sun-shading Plant-inspired skin can use plant actuation principles to develop reversible motions. This paper will triangulate the intersection between plant actuation principles, their morphology and low energy strategies, to integrate the underlying mechanisms in responsive dynamic shading skins. This paper will investigate the non-autonomous reversible plant movements to develop elastic kinetic solar screens. New approach of soft mechanics found inspiration in plant movements for pliable structures in architecture. Interestingly, global flexibility is often achieved through the adaptive behaviour of plant that change its morphological features by acting as living hinges and allowing for elastic deformations. These motion patterns are found in nastic structures which are very promising as natural actuators.By studying how plant species take advantage of mechanical, compositional and structural gradients toperform mobility with minimal energy use, it is possible to learn how to integrate these properties into the design of kinetic shading solar screens. The focus of this review is to understand the soft mechanics approach and its applications on responsive shading skins. A critical review of the current progress in mechanical properties and actuation principles of nastic plant movements is illustrated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): ElGhazi Y, Hamza N, Dade-Robertson M

Editor(s): Roaf S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 33rd International Conference Passive Low Energy Architecture PLEA 2017

Year of Conference: 2017

Number of Volumes: 3

Pages: 3636-3643

Print publication date: 09/10/2017

Acceptance date: 06/07/2017

Date deposited: 12/10/2017

Publisher: Network for comfort and Energy Use in Buildings (NCEUB).


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Editor(s): Brotas L; Roaf S; Nicol F

ISBN: 9780992895754