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studio air fiona mui 587818

Semester one 2014

A1.0 Design Futuring

Energy Technology Piezoelectricity


iezoelectricity is the accumulative electrical charge stored in various materials such as biological matters and crystals, and it produced when it is applied with mechanical pressure[1]. The result of this energy is the electric dipole behaviour of the charge seperation between the negative and positive ions, which in turn creates a flow of energy on the expanded and compressed side of the material.

force, or it may also be exhibited with an indirect effect from the mechanical strain. The mathetical understanding of this is achieved with the equation D = ᵋE → Di = ᵋijE S = ᵋT → Sij = sijklTkl D standing for electric displacement, ᵋ for permittivity and E is electric field strength. S is for strain, s is compliance and T is stress[2].

The electric dipole moments occurs in the parallel dimensons of the dipoles groups. This is described as the Weiss domains. The Weiss domains are usually distributed in an irregular pattern, but may be aligned with the proess of poling. The practice of poling involves an application of an electric field on the raw material, but must be adjusted to the temperatures of less than 2000V/mm as the material may lose its piezoelectric properties if it exceeds this thermal condition. When the field is applied, the material expands and contracts perpendicular to the axis which causes a change of polarization and re-configuration in the molecular dipole. Consequently, the piezo crystallites evolve from being isotropic to having a tetragoanl symmetry. The reversible process of piezoelectricity can be extruded with a direct effect through an mechanical

The number of different applications piezoelectricty can be applied comes with a magnitude of options. There are both synthetic and natrual materials that exhibit the piezoelectric effect, and these include quartz, sucrose, silk and zinc oxide. With the discovery of this energy by French physicists Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880[2], it has since been implemented as a innovative technology in a grandeur of designs and other electronic applications such as microbalances and sound detection.


Piezoelectricity and its interaction to strain will potentially give dimension to the Land Art Generatior Initiative Project. The interactive prospect of this energy allows a range of design options that can allow the observors to influence their own experience, and thus create an interchangeable interplay.

Above: proposal OF piezoelectric straws for THE stockholm skyscraper

“... Piezoelectric Technology to Convert Motion into Electricity�


conceptual design by Belatchew Arkitekter aims to redesign the Stockholm skyscaper using the piezoelectric effect with plastic straws as electric generating bristles. The proposal elaborates with the constructed facade of piezoelectric properties, so it may convert the motion of wind into electricity with the addition of wind turbines. Such innovative design allows us to ponder upon the evolving technology in our desiging world and how it may be creatively installed in our architectural system.


Scene Sensor

James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze


he 2012 award winning entry incorporates a poetic and successive architectural and technological response through the implementations of the channel screening, the vintage points and the mirror window. The expressive understanding of architecture and energy usage is detailed with its aesthetic and functional concept, as the design provides a close interconnection to the surrounding landscape and the visitor’s conscience. As the panels of the channel screen flutter in response to the wind pressure, it consequently


creates an operative visual play . From the distance, the panels will appear as if they are uniformly working in an organic pattern, and from close range the experience will be amplified in an intimate scale. The shifting of the panels marks not only a stage of aeshetic play, but marks how the the panels collect energy to ultimately operate the infrastructure. This is done with piezoelectric wires hidden around the panels. When the panel moves piezoelectric energy are accumulated, and is then converted and flowed into nearby households for usage.




urthermore, the movement of the pedestrains along the structure also influences the flow of input. The bridge that is perpendicular to the channel screen is installed with piezoelectric tranducers, and behaves as a collective device for the kinetic movement. Adjacent mesh of lights are also located between the wind planes, and eventually becomes the source of light as the natural daylight withers away. This illuminous display presents the traces of the energy collected, and again, perfroms another visual play to the observors through the evening. The act of reflection is the core subject of the Scene Sensor. Aside from the channel screens and vintage points, the reflection of the landspace is refracted back to the mirror screen. The mirroring tof he wind’s texture and result of the energy harvested are shown through the feature of the mirror screen, and allows observors to ponder upon the experience that is constantly staged in front of them.

Such expression on the Scene Senor leaves a rememberable mark on the observor as well as the context itself. Through the analysis of the award winning entry, there is now a conscious realisation that I need to have a holistic understanding of how technology can reflect the underlying concept in my project. In essence, how to enable a poetic gesture in the project will require a process of analysing the various options on how piezoelectric energy can be utilised in the project. Creative awareness is clearly shown in Scene Sensor, and through the course of the next weeks of more researching and refinements, I hope to be able to execute a similar creative and original outcome.


Above: Interior space of the bionic pavillion

“Inspired by calcite protrusions...�

Above: Joint detail of angled THE tooth vectors and machinery process


A1.1 Design computation

Bionic Research pavillion

Institute for Computational Design (ICD),the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE)and University of Stuttgart [2011]


n 2011, ICD (Institute for Computational Design, ITKE (Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design), and students from the University of Stuttgart proposed a project to build a bionic research pavillion made from wood. This temporary pavillion was deprived from the knowledge of the sea urchins’s skeleton morphology, and was fabricated with computational design techiniques with the recognised bionic principles. The geometrical layout of the pavillion was computerised to achive its structural layering of the polygonal plates. The shape and intersection of the plates were deprived from the subspecies called Echinodea, as they have wedged fingers with calcite protrusions. The tectonics of the modular joining system was connected with thin sheets of plywood (6.5mm) by following how the fingers of the sea urchins connect by the edge. The integration of the system is formed with the three plate edges, with one point always meeting. This technique enables an absence of bending, but is able to still transmit the normal shear forces. The flexibility of this principle enables a variety of customised geometry compared to conventional and

traditional lightweight constructions. However, due to its lightweight properties anchoring the pavillion to resist wind pressure was required. The orientation of the cells bring originality to the project as each cell size is not consistent- but rather their individual shapes are a result of mechanical stress. The aspect of hierarchy is demonstrated with the two levels - on the first level the cells’ sheets are glued, and on the second level simple screw connections are used so there may be the act of diassembling and assembling the pavillion. To ensure bendable edges on both levels, only three plates on, and three edges, meet at one point. A robotic fabrication system was used to construct the detailed fingers through an optimised data exchange scheme to read the repetitions of the geometry. This allowed a rapid economic production of the cells, and to modify the critical joineries on the model. Computerised technology fastened the elaborate details, and were sent with automatic generation of the machine code (NC-Code) for the control of an industrial seven-axis robot to create and join the dynamic cell shapes in the pavillion.


below: close perspective [left] and action of hygrosopic behaviour [right]

“... Computation and materialisation are inherently and inseparably related.”


he Hygro Scope involves computional morphgenesis and the inherent behaviour of materials. The project is based on more than five years of research on the climate responsive architectural systems.

The responsivity of the material is known as the hygrosopic characteristics which refers to the material’s ability to attract and hold moisture from the air. The project also relies on anisotropoc properties in relation to the directin of the wood grains. The Hygro Scope model extracts and opens as a result of the climate alterations in the glass cabinet, and does not rely on technical equipment for this process. Thus, the material itself performs on its own accord and is responsive to the environment like an built organism. The computational design research for prohect and the development of the generative code is essential just as much as the material system research. To enable the material’s responsiveness, the structure must correspond directly with the


fabrication process and the digital programming. The system’s morphology requires the computation and materialisation to be related in an interchangeable manner. The geometrical elements consist of more than four thousand pieces, and was highly dependent for it to be digitally fabricated. with quarter cutmaple veneers. In conjunction of the fabrication, adjustments to the different shapes and humidity range was done by changing a few variables - such as the fibre directionality and the length-widththickness ratio. The computational design process allows insight on how responsive material needs to be computerised and controlled. In relation to the project that requires an energy medium, and with the onlook on the piezoelectricity, the precedent of this project provides a scope on the scripted process on various computational technologies, and how climate-responsiveness can interplay a complex behavioural pattern response in architecture.

HygroScope Meteorosensitive Morphology

Achim Menges and

Steffen Reichert [2012]

Below: Hygroscope stored in humidity controlled glass