Bionic vaulted structures – Nature’s own resource efficiency model

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Bionic structures have become an integral part of industrial processes. The hexagonal vaulted structures found naturally in turtles or honeycombs is used for a variety of industrial products. The form provides materials with a strong stability and stiffness.

Dr. Mirtsch Wölbstrukturierung GmbH in Berlin has developed an innovative process for producing vaulted materials. The bionic structure is relatively easy to install in metals. The sheet metal is rolled over a mill equipped with lined braces. The varying levels of pressure cause the metal to ‘plop in’. What’s special about this, is that the bionic structure comes about automatically. Compared with conventional procedures for inducing stiffening structures, this vault structuring technology requires but a tenth of the re-shaping energy. Furthermore, vault-structured sheet metal is easier to continue re-shaping, thus, simplifying additional processing.

Gestamp Umformtechnik GmbH applies this production advantage to manufacture construction elements for the automobile industry. The rigidity inherent to vault-structured sheet metal allows the use of thin aluminum, with the aim to reduce weight. In addition, the thusly domed material eliminates the intrusive rattling that usually accompanies thin construction components.

Siteco Beleuchtungstechnik GmbH produces LED designer lamps with vault-structured aluminum. The structure provides an optimal reflecting surface for the LEDs, creating an exceptional light quality. The material serves as both housing and reflector, resulting in an enormous material savings of 80 percent. And yet another advantage, vault-structured sheet metal incurs less tension, even at higher temperatures.

Vault-structured materials are not only material and energy efficient, but have numerous other advantages. For this reason, they can be found in many other products such as catalyzers and washing machines, not to mention their frequent usage in architecture.

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