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Making Matters: Materials, Shape And Function

P. Ermanni
Published 2010 · Computer Science

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Material, shape and function are features describing both natural and man-made structures; they are intimately related to one another. Any kind of structure obeys the same laws of Physics and is constructed to be light and efficient, to minimize material and energy utilization over the entire lifetime. In biological systems, the growth process is driven by the environment and takes advantage of a variety of amazing features that are typical of living systems. Technical structures are the result of a design process: Engineers are moving within a design space that is spanned by all the attributes involved in the design and are converging to viable solutions by determining appropriate values to all those attributes. Even though man-made systems are often inspired by nature, their design and performance are limited by the available materials and technologies. In this context, design of the next generation products will take advantage of novel ceramic polymers and composite materials with their capability of tailoring and adaptation in mechanical and physical properties. The ability of modern Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tools to simulate and predict the physical behavior of technical systems has dramatically improved in the past decades. CAE-tools in conjunction with Evolutionary Algorithms, which conceptually mimic the natural evolutionary process by implementing the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest, provide powerful tools to cope with the increased design space and the complexity of the design process.
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