892325 Biomimetics - technical solutions from nature

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Gierlinger, Notburga , Lichtenegger, Helga
Offered in
Wintersemester 2022/23
Languages of instruction


The scientific discipline bionics is concerned with the technical implementation and application of construction, processing and development principles of biological systems.
Since the beginning of time, we have been learning from Nature. Today, innovation pressure and the necessity to find sustainable, resource efficient and “mature” solutions for questions and problems of our society have tremendously increased. By thorough understanding biologically optimized systems, we can obtain better solution in a faster way, by making millions of years of evolution and selection part of our research and development work.

The lecture „Bionics – technical solutions from Nature” is devoted to the following contents:

- Systematic introduction to the scientific areas of bionics
- Historical and state of the art examples, to understand the methodical approach of bionics
- Development of a fundamental understanding of the functionality of selected biological systems
- Illustration of technical applications in “bionic” products or processes as well as further possible fields of application

The lecture is held in 2 parts:

Part 1: Introduction and bionics in the animal kingdom (H. Lichtenegger)

1.Introduction: pioneers of bionics and their achievements, bionics as science, bionic approach, difference to “pseudobionics”
2.Principle of a bionic invention, example of the Bionic Car
3.Surfaces: to glide or to stick, this is the question. The tricks of sharks, sand fish and geckos, and their application.
4.High performance materials: as hard as nacre, as tough as spider silk or as shiny as a butterfly? The inner structure is key.
5.Self-assembly: principles in Nature and transfer to artificial systems.
6.Flying through the sky, a human accomplishment: what is it to do with bionics today?

Part 2: Bionics from the world of plants (N. Gierlinger)

1.Bionic “classics” from the world of plants
2.Always clean: super-hydrophobic plant surfaces – from the example to the product
3.Well protected and densely packed: Examples from the world of plants
4.Stable light weight constructions, shape optimization and self-repair: what can we learn from trees, grass, lianas & co?
5.Movement in plants as example for technical applications?

Previous knowledge expected

No specific previous knowledge expected!

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Students graduating from this course have basic knowledge about principles of bionics. They can cite and explain examples of successful bionic applications and have the basic insight necessary for potential transfer of concepts found in nature to technical problems.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.