Diana Chen recently published the article “Lessons from a Coral Reef: Biomimicry for Structural Engineers” in the Journal of Structural Engineering. Diana is a Ph.D. student I am fortunate to be working with along with her advisor, Dr. Brandon Ross.
In my unbiased opinion as a co-author, the article is a much-needed overview of how biomimicry can be applied to structural engineering. In particular, the way Diana organizes biomimetic applications through the lenses of the structural hierarchy is a unique contribution. The diagrams are very helpful and the pictures are stunning, especially compared to what we normally see in engineering journals.
For the next step of her research, Diana is studying how shells grow to accommodate larger and larger occupants. 200 shells just came in the mail and Diana will be testing them in all different ways over the summer. The idea is to try to learn something that can be applied to the design of adaptable buildings. I can’t wait to see what she finds.