Biomimicry: An Overview of Structures, Designs and Materials Inspired from Nature

Author(s): Arunachalam Vasanthanathan*, Uthirakumar Siddharth, Manivannan Vignesh, Radhakrishnan Pravin

Journal Name: Current Materials Science
Formerly Recent Patents on Materials Science

Volume 13 , Issue 1 , 2020

Become EABM
Become Reviewer
Call for Editor

Graphical Abstract:


Background: Nature has always played a vital role in the evolution of life forms. The design of products in accordance with nature’s design, popularly known as biomimicry, had played a vital role in pushing the technology and product effectiveness to the next level. Humans have long sought to mimic not just the design, but also the methodology adopted by certain animals. For example, the walking technique of vertebrates has been effectively mimicked for a quadruped robot to make a system more efficient by consuming less power. Thus indirectly, nature acts as a driving factor in pushing technological growth.

Methods: The principle objective of this paper is to provide an overview of popular bio mimicked products inspired by nature. This paper emphasizes a wide variety of products developed in the field of materials inspired by nature.

Results: Wall-climbing robots, Sonar, X-ray imaging, Sandwich and Honeycomb structures are some of the popular products and designs inspired by nature. They have resulted in better designs, better products with improved efficiency and thus have proven to be better alternatives. Some products and designs such as Samara drone, Riblet surfaces, DSSCs, Biomimetic Drills and Water turbines have plenty of scopes to replace conventional products and designs.

Conclusion: While plenty of products, structures and designs have successfully replaced older alternatives, there is still a large scope for biomimicry where it could potentially replace conventional products and designs to offer better efficiency.

Keywords: Biomimicry, design, efficiency, materials, nature-inspired design, structures, products.

Kimura H, Fukuoka Y, Cohen AH. Biologically inspired adaptive walking of a quadruped robot. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci 2007; 365(1850): 153-70.
Lurie-Luke E. Product and technology innovation: what can biomimicry inspire? Biotechnol Adv 2014; 32(8): 1494-505.
[] [PMID: 25316672]
Fish FE, Weber PW, Murray MM, Howle LE. The tubercles on humpback whales’ flippers: application of bio-inspired technology. Integr Comp Biol 2011; 51(1): 203-13.
[] [PMID: 21576119]
Hain JHW, Carter GR, Kraus SD, Mayo CA, Winn HE. Feeding behaviour of the humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, in the Western North Atlantic. Fish Bull 1982; 80: 259-68.
Bushnell DM, Moore KJ. Drag reduction in nature. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 1991; 23: 65-79.
Fish FE, Battle JM. Hydrodynamic design of the humpback whale flipper. J Morphol 1995; 225(1): 51-60.
[] [PMID: 7650744]
Weber PW, Howle LE, Murray MM. Lift, drag and cavitation onset on rudders with leading edge tubercles. Mar Tech 2010; 47: 27-36.
Muller T. Biomimetics: design by nature. Nat Geo 2008; 213: 68-91.
Murray M, Gruber T, Fredriksson D. Effect of leading edge tubercles on marine tidal turbine blades. In- APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting Abstracts 2010. American Physical Society - 63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics. Long Beach, California (2010).
Kellas A. The guided samara: design and development of a controllable single-bladed autorotating vehicle Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge. : 2007.
Srigrarom S, Lee KY, Chng S, Bin Abdul Malik MN. Development of UGS monocopter: platform design and trajectory tracking AIAA 2015; 2881.
Shafieenejad I, Cheraghi A, Tafreshi M. Intelligent unmanned new aerial vehicles for rescue mission based on a novel optimal control and imperialist competition algorithm (ICA). J Mach Learn Res 2017; 2(3): 99-104.
Nazari S, Eyvazi H, Ghodsi R. Solving the integrated product mix-outsourcing problem using the imperialist competition algorithm. Expert Syst Appl 2010; 37: 7615-26.
Lucas C, Gheidari ZN, Tootoonchian F. Application of imperialist competitive algorithm to the design of a linear induction motor. Energ Convers Manage 2010; 51: 1407-11.
Kaveh A, Talataheri S. Optimal design of skeletal structures using imperialist competition algorithm. Comput Struc 2010; 88: 1220-9.
Duan H, Xu Ch, Liu S, Shao Sh. Template matching using chaotic imperialist competitive algorithm. Pattern Recognit Lett 2010; 31: 1868-75.
Chu Y-J. A new biomimicry marine current turbine: study of hydrodynamic performance and wake using software OpenFOAM. J Hydrodynam 2016; 28(1): 125-41.
Bahaj AS, Batten WMJ, Mccann G. Experimental verifications of numerical predictions for the hydrodynamic performance of horizontal axis marine current turbines. Renew Energy 2007; 32(15): 2479-90.
Pinon G, Mycek P, Germain G. Numerical simulation of the wake of marine current turbines with a particle method. Renew Energy 2012; 46(5): 111-26.
Thomsen OT, Bozhevolnaya E, Lyckegaard A. Sandwich structures 7: advancing with sandwich structures and materials Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Sandwich Structures Springer Science & Business Media; Aalborg 2005.
Tan JC. A Brief History of Sandwich Technology; 2005. Available at:
Pflug J, Xinyu F, Vangrimde B, Verpoest I, Bratfisch P, Vandepitte D. Development of a sandwich material with polypropylene/natural fibre skins and paper honeycomb Core. Proceedings of 10th European Conference on Composite Materials 2002.
Schwingel D, Seeliger H, Vecchionacci C, Alwes D, Dittrich J. Aluminium foam sandwich structures for space applications. Acta Astronaut 2007; 61(1-6): 326-30.
Zhang Q, Yang X, Li P, Huang G, Feng S, Shen C, et al. Bioinspired engineering of honeycomb structure - using nature to inspire human innovation. Prog Mater Sci 2015; 74: 332-400.
Peng F, Yang Z, Jiang L, Ren Y. Research on shock responses of three types of honeycomb cores, IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. Beijing, China. December 28-31, 2017;
Evans AG, Hutchinson JW, Ashby MF. Multi-functionality of cellular metal systems. Prog Mater Sci 1998; 43: 171-221.
Wadley HNG. Multifunctional periodic cellular metals. Philos Trans- Royal Soc, Math Phys Eng Sci 2006; 364(1838): 31-68.
[] [PMID: 18272452]
Lu T, Chen C. Thermal transport and fire retardance properties of cellular aluminium alloys. Acta Mater 1999; 47: 1469-85.
Rajaram S, Tongan W. Sound transmission loss of honeycomb sandwich panels. Noise Control Eng J 2006; 54: 106-15.
Campbell FC. Manufacturing technology for aerospace structural materials Elsevier Publishing Amsterdam. 2006.
Muraoka M, Sanada S. Displacement amplifier for piezoelectric actuator based on honeycomb link mechanism, Sens. Actuator A-Phys 2010; 157: 84-90.
Briones L, Bustamante P, Serna M. ROBICEN: A wall-climbing pneumatic robot for inspection in nuclear power plants. ROBOT CIM-INT MANUF 1994; 11: 287-92.
Xu Z, Ma P. A wall-climbing robot for labelling scale of oil tank’s volume. Robotica 2002; 20: 209-12.
Yanzeng Z, Hao S, Yan W. Wall-climbing robot with negative pressure sucker used for cleaning work. High Technol Lett 1999; 5: 85-8.
Shuliang L, Yanzheng Z, Xueshan G, Dianguo X, Yan W. A wall-climbing robot with magnetic crawlers for sand-blasting. Spray-Painting Meas High Technol Letters 2000; 10: 86-9.
Tokioka S, Sakai S. Painting robot for wall surface. Robot 1988; 65: 88-96.
Hirose S, Nagakubo A, Toyama R. Machine that can walk and climb on floors, walls and ceilings International Conference on Advanced Robotics. Pisa, Italy. June 19-22, 1991;
Ryu S, Park J, Ryew S, Choi H. Self-contained wall-climbing robot with closed link mechanism. IEEE ICRA 2001; 2: 839-44.
Briones L, Bustamante P, Serna M. Wall-climbing robot for inspection in nuclear power plants ICRA 1994; 1409-14.
Pack R, Christopher J, Kawamura K. A rubbertuator-based structure-climbing inspection robot. IEEE ICRA 1997; 3: 1869-74.
Luk B, Collie A, Piefort V, Virk G. Robug III. A tele-operated climbing and walking robot. UKACC Int Conf on Control 1996; 1: 347-52.
Yano T, Suwa T, Murakami M, Yamamoto T. Development of a semi self-contained wall climbing robot with scanning type suction cups IEEE/RSJ IROS, 2 1997; 2: 900-5.
Yan W, Shuliang L, Dianguo X, Yanzheng Z, Hao S, Xueshan G. Development and application of wall-climbing robots. IEEE ICRA 1999; 2: 1207-12.
Grieco J, Prieto M, Armada M, Gonzalez de Santos P. A six-legged climbing robot for high payloads. Int Conf Control Applications 1998; 1: 446-50.
Kim S, Asbeck AT, Cutkosky MR, Provancher WR. Spinybot II: climbing hard walls with compliant microspines. Int Conf Adv Robot 2005; 2005: 601-6.
Bretl T, Rock S, Latombe JC. Motion planning for a three-limbed climbing robot in vertical natural terrain. Int Conf Robot Automat 2003; 3: 2947-53.
Murphy MP, Sitti M. Wallbot: an agile small-scale wall climbing robot utilizing dry elastomer adhesives. IEEE/ASME Trans Mechatron 2007; 12(3): 330-8.
Menon C, Murphy M, Sitti M. Gecko inspired surface climbing robots. Proc of the IEEE Int Conf Robot Biomimetics 2004; 431-6.
Daltorio K, Gorb S, Peressadko A, Horchler A, Ritzmann R, Quinn R. A robot that climbs walls using micro-structured polymer feet. In: Tokhi MO, Virk GS, Hossain MA, EdsClimbing and Walking Robots. Berlin: Springer 2006; pp. 131-8.
Kim S, Spenko M, Trujillo S, Heyneman B, Mattoli V, Cutkosky M. Whole body adhesion: hierarchical, directional and distributed control of adhesive forces for a climbing robot IEEE ICRA 2007; 1268-73.
Unver O, Uneri A, Aydemir A, Sitti M. Geckobot: a gecko inspired climbing robot using elastomer adhesives. IEEE ICRA 2006; 1: 2329-35.
Wisniewski N, Reichert M. Methods for reducing biosensor membrane biofouling. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces 2000; 18(3-4): 197-219.
[] [PMID: 10915944]
Schulz M, Shanov V, Yun Y. Nanomedicine design of particles, sensors, motors, implants, robots, and devices Artech House Boston. 2009.
Shirtliff M, Leid JG. The Role of Biofilms in Device- Related Infections Springer-Verlag Berlin. 2009.
Railkin AI. Marine Biofouling Colonization Processes and Defences CRC Press Boca Raton. 2004.
Copisarow M. Marine fouling and its prevention. Sci 1945; 101(2625): 406-7.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States. Navy Department. Bureau of Ships. Marine fouling and its prevention. United States Naval Institute; 1952.
Ray DL. Marine boring and fouling organisms Hall University Press Washington. 1959.
Melo LF, Bott TR, Bernardo CA. Fouling Science and Technology Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, the Netherlands. 1988.
Bixler G, Bhushan B. Bioinspired micro/nanostructured surfaces for oil drag reduction in closed channel flow. Soft Matter 2013; 9(5): 1620-35.
Burger ED, Munk WR, Wahl HA. Flow increase in the trans-alaska pipeline through use of a polymeric drag-reducing additive. J Pet Technol 1982; 34: 377.
Walker J, Surman S, Jass J. Industrial Biofouling Detection, Prevention and Control Wiley New York. 2000.
Chan J, Wong S. Biofouling Types, Impact and Anti-Fouling Nova Science Publishers New York. 2010.
Hellio C, Yebra D. Advances in marine antifouling coatings and technologies Woodhead Oxford. 2009.
Somerscales EFC, Knudsen JG. Fouling of Heat Transfer Equipment Hemisphere Publishing Corporation Washington, DC. 1981.
Dean B, Bhushan B. Shark-skin surfaces for fluid-drag reduction in turbulent flow: a review. Philos Trans R Soc 2010; 368(1929): 4775-806.
Reif W. Squamation and ecology of sharks Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft Frankfurt, Germany. 1985.
Schumacher JF, Aldred N, Callow ME, Finlay JA, Callow JA, Clare AS, et al. Species-specific engineered antifouling topographies: correlations between the settlement of algal zoospores and barnacle cyprids. Biofouling 2007; 23(5-6): 307-17.
[] [PMID: 17852066]
Scardino AJ. Surface modification approaches to control marine biofouling. In: Claire H and Diego Y Eds.Advances in Marine Antifouling Coatings and Technologies. 1st ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press 2009; pp. 664-92.
Brennan AB, Baney RH, Turnage MC, et al. Surface topographies for non-toxic bio-adhesion control US 8997672 (2015)
Gust D, Moore TA, Moore AL. Mimicking photosynthetic solar energy transduction. Acc Chem Res 2001; 34(1): 40-8.
[] [PMID: 11170355]
Ali S, Matthew JE. Biomimicry in Solar Energy Conversion with Natural Dye-Sensitized Nanocrystalline Photovoltaic Cells Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Obelin College Ohio 2007; 1-22.
Nazeeruddin M, Baranoff E, Grätzel M. Dyesensitized solar cells: a brief overview. Sol Energy 2011; 85(6): 1172-8.
Barbé C, Arendse F, Comte P, Jirousek M, Lenzmann F, Shklover V, et al. Nanocrystalline titanium oxide electrodes for photovoltaic applications. J Am Ceram Soc 2005; 80(12): 3157-71.
Kim S. Bio-inspired engineered sonar systems based on the understanding of bat echolocation Biomimetic Tech 2015; 141-60.
Guaratoa F, Andrewsa H, Windmilla JF, Jacksona J, Gachagana A. Directional receiver for biomimetic sonar system. Phys Procedia 2016; 87: 24-8.
Schillebeeckx F, De Mey F, Vanderelst D, Peremans H. Biomimetic sonar: binaural 3D localization using artificial bat pinnae. Int J Robot Res 2010; 30(8): 975-87.
Menon C, Vincent JFV, Lan N, Bilhaut L, Ellery A, Gao Y, et al. Bio-inspired micro-drills for future planetary exploration. Paper presented at CANEUS Micro-Nanotechnology for Aerospace Applications, Toulouse, France. 2006.
Gao Y, Ellery A, Sweeting M, Vincent J. Bioinspired drill for planetary sampling: literature survey, conceptual design, and feasibility study. J Spacecr Rockets 2007; 44(3): 703-9.
Pullan D, Sims M R, Wright I P, Pillinger C T, Trautner R. Beagle 2: the exobiological lander of mars express, Mars express. The Scientific Payload 2004; 1240: 165-204.
Land MF, Nilsson DE. Animal Eyes. Oxford Animal Biology Series 2002.
Grubsky V, Gertsenshteyn M, Shoemaker K, Jannson K. Adaptive Lobster-Eye hard X-ray telescope with high angular resolution and wide field of view. In: Stephen L. O'Dell, Giovanni P, Eds. Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy III. California, International Society for Optics and Photonics 2007, pp. 66880P.
Nilsson D. A new type of imaging optics in compound eyes. Nature 1988; 332: 76-8.
Hiura S, Mohan A, Raskar R. Krill-eye: superposition compound eye for wide-angle imaging via GRIN lenses. IPSJ Trans Comp Vision App 2010; 2: 186-99.

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2020
Published on: 30 September, 2020
Page: [3 - 15]
Pages: 13
DOI: 10.2174/2666145413666200212103324
Price: $65

Article Metrics

PDF: 13