Sustainable Product Design Inspired from Nature
School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, MSc in Strategic Product Design
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for humankind. Since early years people used to observe and study nature in order to find answers and solutions to several of their daily problems. The practice of imitating the models, systems, and elements of nature in order to solve problems of our daily life is called Biomimicry or Biomimetics (Benyus, 1997).
The objective of this study is to describe the way nature can act as a source of inspiration for the design and development of a product and furthermore to suggest a methodology for the optimization of the product regarding its environmental impact, by selecting the appropriate materials and production methods.
Within this context, the issues to be tackled in this thesis will be:
• Nature as a source of inspiration, creativity and innovation in product design.
• Material and production methods selection.
• Sustainable development and environmental impact assessment.
• Validation of the proposed methodology with the aid of special computerized tools and techniques.
The softwares utilized for the implementation of this endeavor are:
• Solidworks 3D CAD system for the design of the product, the engineering analysis and the environmental impact assessment.
• CES EduPack for the selection of the materials.
For the attainment of these project goals, the following steps were followed:
1. Research conduction for pinpointing and understanding a biological system that will provide the solution in our case.
2. Analysis of the system in terms of geometry and function.
3. Definition of the problem and the design requirements.
4. Deployment of the design procedure adaptating the geometric features of this system in our product development.
5. Material analysis for investigating materials appropriate for the requirements and objectives of our product.
6. Engineering analysis for the assurance of the appropriateness of the materials’ mechanical properties.
7. Optimization of the product through sustainability analysis by selecting the most appropriate materials and manufacturing processes with the lower environmental impact.
The product that was developed for the purpose of this study is a garden chaise lounge that imitates the form of a scorpion.