Unfolding leaves inspire 3D structure

There is always a need for structures that can be delivered flat, and very quickly erected to cover an area.

Problem: The usual solution offered is a tent, but apart from the time spent to unpack and erect them, they tend not to be very durable.
Solution: Jörg Student took inspiration from nature and aerospace composites in the design and development of his "Ha-Ori" dome greenhouse shown at this year's Royal College of Art design show.
Ha Ori is Japanese for "folding leaf" and the structure is based on the way the leaf of a hornbeam tree unfolds. It also, Mr Student admitted to Eureka, owes something to studies previously undertaken at the University of Stuttgart, of which he is a Diploma graduate, on structures investigated as alternatives to honeycomb for aerospace. The idea there is to develop sandwich constructions that are cheaper to make and can be made in curved forms for applications such as missile nose cones.
The dome structure greenhouse seen at the show started as a single sheet of corrugated polypropylene, which was cut and had fold lines formed into it by a tool with a heated element, specially developed for the project. Student said he made the final construction from 28 elements, although he could have made it from only 5, if he had had large enough sheets, or 2 very long strips.
Design work was undertaken in 2D using spreadsheet calculations followed by modelling in paper, although he said the ideal CAD tool to have used was Alias Maya, if he had had access to a copy at the time.
Applications: Quick to erect structures for emergencies and construction projects and the insides of sandwich composite constructions with complex curved shapes. TS

Industrial Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art
Alias Maya
Email to Jorg Student

Author
Tom Shelley

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