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Identifying Product Scaling Principles: A Step Towards Enhancing Biomimetic Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Angel Perez, Julie Linsey, Joanna Tsenn, Michael Glier

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Paper No. IMECE2011-63975, pp. 789-798; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering; Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5488-4
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Designers are often faced with the problem of taking a solution at one scale and mapping it to another, often occurring with design-by-analogy and bioinspired design. Despite various scaling laws for specific systems, scaling a solution is a difficult process since different physical principles are often used (causing scaling laws to be invalid) and numerous other changes must be made. This is one of the likely reasons that bioinspired design is difficult. An empirical product study method was used to determine five scaling principles by studying numerous example products. As an initial validation, a design case study applied these principles to a single passenger, low-cost, golf transportation system. Few solutions exist for a single passenger golf transportation system due to difficulties in meeting the customer’s needs, including a portable design which fits in an average sized car trunk at an affordable price. Utilizing the golf bag push cart, full-size two passenger golf cart and scaling principles, a solution was established that fulfilled the design problem. By performing this case study, the general scaling principles are confirmed as a viable aid in product design scaling. This study provides an initial step in creating new innovative designs based on existing solutions in nature or other products that occur at very different scales. Much further work is needed by studying additional products and bioinspired examples. The design principles also need to be more robustly validated.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Design , Biomimetics



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