Alexandros Efstathiadis is a graduate of the Department of Visual and Applied Arts of the School of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2010) and the Postgraduate Program "Strategic Product Design" of the International Hellenic University (2018). He is a PhD candidate at the Department of Architecture of the University of Thessaly with a scholarship from the Research, Innovation and Excellence Bodyof the University of Thessaly. As an artist, he has been involved in kinetic and interactive art projects and has participated in exhibitions both in Greece and abroad. In addition, he has many years of experience as a graphic designer and as an art teacher.
The topic of his doctoral dissertation is "Biomimicry and contemporary digital technologies for analysis, design and fabrication". Nature has developed high-performance structures and materials through billions of years of evolution. Biomimetics is the interdisciplinary field of research that studies the models of nature and then imitates or drawsinspiration from designs and processes for solving technicalproblems (Benyus, 2008), finding application in the scientific disciplines of architecture, engineering, medicine, materials science and others (Sharma and Sarkar, 2019).
The complex structures found in nature exceed the technical possibilities of traditional design and construction technologies. However, developments in additive manufacturing technologies (AM) have allowed the construction of complex structures and advanced materials that could not have been achieved otherwise (Yang et al., 2018). The coupling of biomimetic design and 3D printing is an important step towards sustainable designand has proven successful in a variety of industries and applications such as architecture, engineering, hydrodynamics, optics, and advanced materials technology (Petersson, 2017).
The main goal of the doctoral dissertation is to explore biological structures that have important load-bearing and protective mechanical properties, and to study them through design (research by design) so that they can prove useful in the sciences of architecture or engineering. Methodological tools such as BidLab, IDEA-INSPIRE, BioTRIZ, AskNature, DANE, etc. will be used to identify natural design solutions and to relate them to current engineering and design challenges. In addition, imaging methods such as microscopic tomography (du Plessis et al., 2018), high-resolution microscopy (Yaraghi et al., 2017), back-scattered electron microscopy, and X-ray energy dispersion analysis (Song et al., 2010) will be used to analyze and visualize biological structures at both macroscopic and microscopic levels.
Three-dimensional, digital models will be created in computer aided design (CAD) software, based on the biological structures under study. These models will form the basis for finite element analyses (FEA) that will study and optimize the mechanical properties of nature-inspired structures. The simulations will be conducted in advanced analysis software so that the results on the static and mechanical behavior of the biomimetic forms are measurable and comparable and conclusions can be drawn about their geometry and structure.
In the final stage of the doctoral research, physical experiments will be performed in which additive manufacturing technologies will be used for the 3D printing of digital models. Physical models of the biomimetic structures will be mechanically tested with appropriate experimental setups in order to verify the results of FEA assays. Advanced 3D printing materials and structures will be considered as a viable alternative to traditional materials and traditional construction methods, applicable to current issues of architecture, engineering and design.