Palm trees are angiosperms, which means flowering plants. They are monocots which means their seeds produce a single, leaf-like cotyledon when they sprout. This makes palms closely related to grasses and bamboo.
Mimicking the Geometry
This mature palm shows how the pattern originally seen in the young plant, forms a distinct mathematic pattern known as ‘Phyllotaxis’. This is a pattern with reoccurs throughout nature and is based on the Fibonacci sequence. In order to try to understand the use and formation of the palm fibre, the overall formation of the palm stem needed to be mathematically explored.
However, redrawing the cross-section of the base of the palm plants allows a better understanding of the arrangement of the palm plant.
This exercise allows models to be made to recreate the patterns found in palm plants. By engineering plywood components, the basic shape of the palm geometry can be made into a physical model.
This was pushed further by curving the plywood components to make extruded palm structure models
The arrayed components can then be altered so that the base of the models form regular polygon shapes. Doing this allows the potential for the structures to be tesselated. Using different numbers of components mean the structure can then be tested for strength.
There are hundreds of used for palm fruits, this the plant producing materials which range from durable, to flexible to edible. One of the more interesting ones if the production of palm wine using the sap from the tree. Within 2 hours of the wine tapping process, the wine may reach up to 4%, by the following day the palm wine will become over fermented. Some prefer to drink the beverage at this point due to the higher alcohol content. The wine immediately begins fermenting, both from natural yeast in the air and from the remnants of wine left in the containers to add flavour. Ogogoro described a ‘local gin’, is a much stronger spirit made from Raffia palm tree sap. After extraction, the sap is boiled to form steam, which is then condensed and collected for consumption. Ogogoro is not synthetic ethanol but it is tapped from a natural source and then distilled.
To understand the fermentation process more clear, the process of fermenting sugar to make wine has been undertaken.
The distillation of the wine can be used to make bio-ethanol. This production of this fuel can act as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel energy, which is overused and damaging to our environment.
The developed structure, as well as the production of palm wine and bio-ethanol, can be collaborated to develop a programme, which provides sustainable energy, within a space that is inviting and exciting.
The production of bio-fuel releases a lot of carbon dioxide. In order to ensure the process does not impact the environment, this needs to occur inside a closed system, so the CO2 does not enter the atmosphere. This can be done by using the properties of a Solar Updraft Tower. Carbon dioxide released from the fermentation and distillation processes can be received by palm trees for increased photosynthesis, while the excess oxygen from the trees provides fresh air for visitors.
The fermentation process can be controlled within an isolated area of the model.
The Distillation process, which requires a store of water for cooling, can also be conducted in an isolated area of the model, with apparatus incorporated into the structure.
The final proposal will be a combination of all three forms
The study of inflatable origami derived from the investigation of the Mimosa Pudica plant, which closes its leaflets when disturbed. The leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, defending themselves from harm, and re-open a few minutes later. When the leaves are folded it makes the plant appear smaller, whilst simultaneously exposing sharp spikes on its stem.
The plant folds its leaves as a result of a small change of turgor pressure in the plant cells which regulates the significant movement of the leaflets. In order to investigate this pressure change through modelling, two balloons are used and positioned at the base of the fins, mimicking the pressure change of the Mimosa Pudica. The model displays how a small increase of pressure, in this instance air, can create a more significant movement, acting as a hinge.
To control the angles of the tilt, a balloon has been made from paper using a tailored origami template which tilt the fins forward and inwards, replicating that of the Mimosa Pudica leaf movement. The origami balloon is comprised of two hinges, each one tilting in a different direction. When inflated, the first hinge expands, tilting the connecting fin forwards. When more air is blown into the balloon, the second hinge is inflated, tilting the fin inwards.
As shown above, the origami balloons can control the desired angles of the tilts. When more air is blown into the balloons, it expands and the origami unfolds to reveal another lock position.
Following from the previous study, a series of balloons are created which combine the hinge movement with a rotational movement; the rotation origami balloon twists when inflated. To investigate the potential lock motions of each variant, the hinge and rotation balloons are combined in angles and stacks to provide alternative movement sequences. Below displays a matrix table, showing the hinge:rotation variables and their outputs.
Each origami balloon type provides an alternative folding sequence with either 1, 2 or 3 locking positions. These can then be manipulated as required, combining multiple balloons or re-dimensioning to suit their design intent.
One of the two principle origami balloon types is the hinge. When inflated, the balloon has the ability to tilt associated planes, creating a significant movement from a small inflation. The diagrams below show the digital simulation of the movement, created in Grasshopper. Hinges can be combined with rotation origami balloons and other hinge balloons to create a sequence of tilting, rotational movements.
The second principle origami balloon types is the rotation. When inflated, the balloon has the ability to rotate, which can subsequently rotate any associated planes.
In order to create the grasshopper simulation, each origami balloon must be evaluated to extract each point of the shape. Once the points have been determined, they are allocated a series of values which determine the folding motion of the origami. The script must be programmed to prompt specific points to fold into one another.
Each origami model has a unique template which determines the angles of rotation and tilt. The templates are a combination of mountain and valley folds, each one carefully designed to ensure that when inflated, the balloon expands in the desired motion.
The origami system is then translated into a field array to study how the balloons can operate simultaneously.
To create the array below, a sequence of fins have been assigned to each balloon in over-lapping arrangement which can be used to parametrically open and close the panelised surface.
The next array acts similarly to a shutter system, displaying how a series of fins can be associated to one another to create a sequence of movements. The more inflated the balloon, the more vertically the associated fin will be, pulling each connecting fin towards it and thus retracting the series of panels.
Following from this, examples of the origami balloon field array mapped to a shape are studied, providing an insight as to how the array could be applied to an object. In the field map below, the panels are more open towards the top of the shape and are closed at the sides. In practice, this could be a result of the balloons inflating to further locking positions towards the top of the structure as a result of more exposure to sunlight /air flow which could increase the expansion of the origami balloon.
The below panelised field map displays the sequence of an interlocking array. The surface is more closed where the uninflated origami balloons are located. The interlocking sequence becomes more open once the origami balloons have inflated further, showing how the balloons can be manipulated to determine the transparency of a plane.
The origami balloon studies thus far have focused on individual balloons with separate associated end-effectors. To develop the scope of the origami balloons, a series of balloons connected by tubes has been constructed. Each origami balloon in the sequence shares the same air input system, and as a result develops a sequence of movements.
The creation of origami models lead to the study of paper as a material, and its position within the environment. Research into the paper manufacturing industry uncovered how masses of water and deforestation takes place as a result of paper manufacturing, with 14% of global deforestation solely for paper production. This prompted the investigation of recycled paper.
The process I undertook to make the recycled paper required shredding old, disused paper found around the studio and recycling bins. The shredded paper is then mixed with water and blended to break down the fibers, converting the material into a pulp. The pulp is then laid onto a frame, the dimensions of which determine the sheet size. The pulp is removed from the frame, sponged and dried to create a new usable paper sheet.
Oil can be used to coat the sheet which increases the transparency of the paper. Once the oil is completely dried, the paper remains transparent. Image above shows the same two sheets of hand-made recycled paper, with the one on the right coated in oil.
Heliconias are found throughout the Neotropics and are actually quite common in the rainforest. This plant is often acquired in order to provide temporary protection to young cacao plants. Meanwhile in certain areas, the leaves are used in housing to create roofing, with the plant fibre being used to make paper.
Water collects in the bracts of the straight stems, which provides a habitat for many species of tiny aquatic organisms.
Having looked briefly at the plant and seen what geometry it takes especially on plan a technique was derived from the form ‘Michell Truss’ to critically compare different experiments. Options 01 and 02 gave a better result of the geometry as the space internally was reduced to a minimum.
Truss Formation – Iteration 1
Having explored the geometry of the plant, physical experiments were carried out to explore the potential for a truss forming. This particular iteration gave no depth to the curve forming as all the ply strips were cut out at the same length.
Analysis Of Depth – Iteration 2
In order to give depth to the geometry and to make it three dimensional experimenting with ply was key three different lengths of ply strips were cut out to give a varied result. Option 03 gave a better result as the larger depth caused from the strips allowed for a smaller surface area at the top with minimal space impact.
Truss Formation – Iteration 3
Experiments With Ply – Iteration 3
Having explored the geometry at small scale it was necessary to test it at a larger scale with ply as a main material. A 1000mm by 600mm ply sheet was used to form the truss geometry at a larger scale. Through the method of soaking the strips of ply in hot water I was able to get a better curve result allowing for more flexibility of the form.
Truss Formation – Iteration 4
After a series of single small and large scale truss forms, stitching the geometry gave a interesting result to the perspective of the truss allowing for a matrix to unfold.
Experiments With Ply – Iteration 4
Two leaf trusses were joined together at a 45 degree angle then joined with another set through the strips of ply in allowing for a flow of form. Through this method a stacking effect was to be achieved, reflecting upon the original geometry of the plant Heliconia.
Digital Experiments – Arraying form
The following arrangements show the bunching of the geometry resulting to form a circular tower as a potential proposal for design.
Digital Experiments – Sequencing
A set of sequences were explored in order to evaluate which pattern simulation would result in the least amount of internal space between the connecting truss forms.
Digital Experiments – Surface Tessellation
The command ‘Loft Curve’ was used to tessellate a single truss form in Grasshopper. The tool Brep shape was then added to give depth to the curve lines used to form the surface.
BRIEF01 for this year in DS10 began by analysing a plant of our choice that we discover/research from Kew Gardens, London. I started BRIEF01 by researching the Beehive Ginger. I thought the flower’s extensive colours, spiralling bracts and form made the flower quite unique. Having researched the Beehive Ginger, I then discovered that ginger (family) is produced mainly, in China and India. Moving on from researching the flower, I then went on to analysing the form of the flower, as seen below. This exercise helped me distinguish which characteristics of the Beehive Ginger I wanted to model.
I then went on to creating several different models on Rhino of the Beehive Ginger to better understand the flower.
The first step was to create curves which mimic the beginning, middle and end of a single bract.
The second step was to create a line connecting all the curves together in one direction.
The third step was to use the Loft command to turn the curves into a singular bract.
The fourth step was to use the ArrayPolar command to copy and array the bracts into a cluster.
Finally, to create several clusters of bracts on top of another, as one could find on a Beehive Ginger – I copied and scaled the bracts into different sized clusters to represent the different sizes throughout a singular Beehive Ginger.
The first step is to create a curve and mirror it.
The second step is to use the ArrayPolar command to create a floral shape that will mimic the bract formation of a Beehive Ginger.
The third step is to copy the floral shape, scale and rotate the shape into different angles. This will create the formation of the Beehive Ginger.
The fourth step is to extrude all shapes to give the model volume and dimension.
Due to the interesting shapes the model created, I wanted to play with the light/shadow aspect of the physical model using a solar analysis digitally.
I started by creating a wall made up of my Beehive Ginger model, this was done to create maximum shadows in one area.
I used the DIVA plug-in in Grasshopper and used Chennai, India as my location for the solar analysis. The reason for using Chennai in South India is due to the fact that Ginger is largely produced there. For this reason, Chennai can be a possible site location for BRIEF02.
I used the plug-in for the Winter and Summer Solstice of Chennai, India.
FROM DIGITAL TO PHYSICAL
To create a shift from digital to physical modelling – I decided to mimick the latter digital model physically through laser cutting and using the same alternating methods I used digitally to create the flower. I used corrugated card to create thickness that I achieved through extruding on Rhino. he smaller model did not define the bracts as well as it did digitally due to how densly packed, close and small the bracts were. To create more prominent bracts, I scaled the model up and made the bracts protrude more. I found the alternating angles of the flower shapes that were created interesting as it created corrugated shadows when light is shone through it. I demonstrated this through a torch in a dark room to show this through artificial lighting. As well as demonstrating this through natural daylight which I found more effective. This lead me to believe that this corrugated pattern could be used in daylight rather than artificially. This experiment also helped me proceed to more exploring in BRIEF 01, as the corrugated pattern was an important element rather than the Beehive Ginger flower itself.
COLOUR AND MATERIAL EXPERIMENTS
To mimic the everchanging colours of a Beehive Ginger, I wanted to dye fabric sustainably and mimic the colours. Cheesecloth was my most accessible and cheap material which I could find. As commonly known, dyes are toxic and unsustainable. To create a more sustainable dye process, I used vegetable dyes This included raspberries, red cabbage, beetroot and grated carrot. I started by boiling the vegetable in water to release the natural dye from the vegetable. The next process was to drain and seperate the coloured water and the vegetable. After this, I dipped my cheesecloth into the water and hung it to dry. Then by layering the materials over each other and trimming them to look like the Beehive Ginger.
After dyeing the material as previously done, I cut 4 strips of material, all of the same width and length. I took 2 of these materials and by using PVA glue, I stuck them together to create a thicker and stronger fabric. I then took 1 part PVA glue and 3 parts water to create a paste I dipped all my materials into my paste then hung it to dry. To create a corrugated pattern, I used a hot glue gun and bent the material into the corrugation that the cardboard creates. I then stuck the 2 left over materials on top and beneath the corrugated material which created the corrugated cheesecloth. This was the final product after this experiment was finished. I created a strong wall unit that could evidently create a truss or a house.
I started by doing the processes from my older experiments, including cutting the materials into 4.
Then dipping them into PVA glue to stiffen them.
This was done several times as the shelter had several components to it.
With 12cm intervals, lines were drawn to map out the fold of the corrugation.
The material was then folded over to create the corrugated pattern.
PVA glue was placed on the top of each side of the corrugated cloth
Material was then laid on top to create the surfaces of the corrugation.
The material was then ironed over the PVA glue to seal it with heat and create a strong bind.
To attach corrugated cheesecloth to one another, velcro was used. This makes the shelter easy to assemble and portable.
As a single layer, the corrugated wall held its shape and was a strong structure.
When doubled up to create a full height wall, this became too heavy to be a freestanding structure and toppled over. Just like a house or even a tent, the shelter required beams and foundations.
By placing dowls through the corrugation and leaning them against one another, I was able to create a shelter. Despite the fact that this shelter did not end up how I anticipated, it still held its shape, it is still portable and it can be further improved to create a proper building.
Five years ago this month, more than 1,000 people died and thousands more were injured when Rana Plaza, an eight story-building home to several garment factories, collapsed. Considered to be the worst garment factory disaster of all time, and the worst industrial accident in Bangladesh, the collapse drew worldwide attention to an issue that’s often discussed by consumers but rarely acted upon: the dark side of the garment industry. It took two years for the government to compensate the workers of the tragedy. Arguably little has changed to improve working conditions in the garment industry, or make fast fashion more ethical in the years since. Unlike the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, which ushered in a new era of labor codes and safety measures for American workers, working conditions in the Bangladeshi garment industry remain precarious.
Yet fast fashion not only has consequences for humans, it also has consequences for the environment. The $2.5 trillion fashion industry is the second-largest user of water globally. In the U.S. alone, 13 trillion tons of clothes wind up in landfills each year, leading to soil and groundwater pollution. Greenhouse gas emissions for the industry are also on the rise, and expected to increase by 60% by 2030, with the industry already accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions.
Retailers seem increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of fashion and many have launched sustainability and recycling programs in response. However, terms like “corporate social responsibility” and “sustainability” are thrown around so casually, it makes it difficult for consumers to decipher whether these are just buzzwords or genuine efforts by brands to hold themselves more accountable for the social and environmental ills associated with their industries. In 2014, the average consumer bought 60% more clothing than in 2000 and kept each item for half as long, fueling critics’ arguments that these programs might only promote habits of “guilt free consumption” our throw-away society yearns for. The NYT recently reported that H&M has $4.3 billion worth of unsold inventory, prompting further questions over both the environmental and economic sustainability of fast fashion.’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22476774
So,Fast fashion grew out of a demand for affordable, ready-to-wear styles fresh off the catwalk, but how viable is this industry today? Are our appetites for the latest trends really worth the social and environmental costs?
WATER SHORTAGE AND POLLUTION: India exports enormous amounts of water when it exports raw materials such as cotton. The water consumed to grow India’s cotton exports in 2013 would be enough to supply 85% of the country’s 1.24 billion people with 100 litres of water every day for a year. Meanwhile, more than 100 million people in India do not have access to safe water. By exporting more than 7.5m bales of cotton in 2013, India also exported about 38bn cubic metres of virtual water. Those 38bn cubic metres consumed in production of all that cotton weren’t used for anything else. Yet, this amount of water would more than meet the daily needs of 85% of India’s vast population for a year.
IMMENSE QUANTITIES OF WATER: Producing 1kg of cotton in India consumes 10,000 litres of water, on average, according to research done by the Water Footprint Network. In other words, these 10,000 litres of water cannot be used for anything else because it has either evaporated or is too contaminated for reuse. Even with irrigation, US cotton uses just 8,000 litres per kg. The far higher water footprint for India’s cotton is due to inefficient water use and high rates of water pollution — about 50% of all pesticides used in the country are in cotton production.
DEVESTATING CONSEQUENCES: The Aral Sea – Once the 4th largest lake in the world lying between Kazakhstan and Uzebekistan, now gone – mainly because of cotton cultivation. It has been called one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters by the UN. Where there was once a vast water reserve, cotton farms surrounding it used up all of this precious resource leaving behind a toxic, barren wasteland that affected thousands of local habitants. Pesticides and chemical residues that were left behind were so deadly, that many locals were exposed contracted tuberculosis and cancer.
DEADLY POLLUTION: Instead of the Aral Sea, 43 million tonnes of pesticide laden dust is blown in the air every year. The Aral Sea region suffers from the highest rates of throat cancer in the world – representing 80% of the cases of cancer. Hazardous pesticides commonly used for cotton production are often found in nearby water resources. In Uzebekistan, ground water at depths up to 150m is often polluted with pesticides. Around 85% of the population suffers from poor health as a result of unsafe drinking water.
BETWEEN JANUARY 2019 – DECEMBER 2019:
220,890,489,650 tonnes of water used in cotton production globally
164,926 tonnes of organic cotton produced globally
£190 earned by low-wage sweatshop worker annually
25,051,491 tonnes of cotton produced globally
£1,719,201,019 spent on cotton pesticides worldwide
CHILD LABOUR: Around 260 million children are in employment around the world, according to the International Labour Organisation. Of them, the ILO estimates that 170 million are engaged in child labour, defined by the UN as “work for which the child is either too young – work done below the required minimum age – or work which, because of its detrimental nature or conditions, is altogether considered unacceptable for children and is prohibited”. Child labour is forbidden by law in most countries but continues to be rife in some of the poorest parts of the world. The situation is improving. ILO estimates suggest child labour declined by 30% between 2000 and 2012, but still 11% of the world’s children are in situations that deprive them of their right to go to school without interference from work.
MINIMUM WAGE VS LIVING WAGE: The difference between the minimum wage and the living wage. To say instead – The Living Wage is based on the Asia Floor Wage 2013 figure of PPP$725.
HEALTH ANDSAFETY: 50 workers have died and another 5000 are sick due to blasted sand inhalation in denim factories in Turkey. 14 people were killed in a fire at the Bangladesh firm Tarzeen Fashions in 2013. 1,134 garment workers lost their life when a textile factory collapsed in Dhaka in 2013.
FORCED LABOUR: Every year the Governments of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, force hundreds of thousands of people out of their regular jobs and sends them to the cotton fields to toil for weeks in arduous and hazardous conditions. Some have even died in fields from extreme heat and accidents. “You work like a slave from morning till night, not enough food, [we] sleep and wake up hungry again.” – student of Andijan Agricultural Institute, Uzbekistan, September 2016.
WORKING HOURS: 7 days a week is the normal working schedule for garment workers. 14 – 16 hours per day is the average working day in most manufacturing countries. 96 hours per week is the normal working week for a garment worker.
To combat issues with the textile industry, for BRIEF02, I would like to create an ethically and environmentally sustainable factory for textile workers which promotes a healthier wellbeing and a safer work environment. For my concept sketch, I decided to use the Beehive Ginger’s form as the silhouette of the factory. As the plant spirals downward to the stem, I decided to replace the bracts for the corrrugation patterns that I researched during the term. This could be windows, structural support or there for aesthetic purposes. The factory will be based in Chennai, South India as the Beehive Ginger mostly grows in India, and cotton is mostly grown in India as well, with the South of India being largely affected by the sweatshop aspect of the textile industry.
The fern is one of the basic examples of fractals. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales, created by repeating a simple process over and over in a loop. The Barnsley fern (Example here) shows how graphically beautiful structures can be built from repetitive uses of mathematical formulas.
Due to the fractal nature of the fern fronds, the perimeter of the laser cutting took a long time. By simplifying this, I began joining fronds to each other and the large perimeter allowed for enough friction for the fronds to adhere to the adjacent one. I explored this through a series of 4 different frond types (X Axes on matrix below), angles of rotation (Y2, Y3) and distance between each leaf (Y4).
With the study of many different arrangements of fronds and distances between each leaf in the frond, I was then able to select those that slotted in to the adjacent ones best and began arranging them with more components.
Reciprocal Testing – Flat Component
The arching nature of each individual leaf meant the configuration was only stable once the fitting in of each component had passed the node of the arch. By flattening each component into rectangular members, the friction that allows the components to adhere to each other would be constant throughout the length of the individual part. This means they could now be placed more or less fitted in to the other component, as desired.
Reciprocal Testing – Large Component
I then scaled up the component and attempted to array these as done with the smaller components above. Each component measured 600 mm length-wise and consisted of 5 members (3 facing one way and 2 facing the other, with a gap between them matching the width of each member). They originated from a central “stem” and attached to this by using glue and nails as to allow for easy manufacturing.
Simultaneously, I also became intrigued by a small aquatic fern called Azolla which I thought would be worth exploring too.
What is interesting about this little plant is that it holds the world record in biomass producer – doubling in size from 3-10 days. It is all thanks to its symbiotic relationship with the nitrogen fixing cyanobacterium, Anabaena. This superorganism provides a micro-climate in exchange for nitrate fertilizer.They remain together during the fern’s reproductive cycle. They also have a complimentary photosynthesis, using light from most of the visible spectrum.
Much can be learned from the biological system of the Victoria Amazonica, also known as the Giant Water Lily. The plant has long generated curiosity about its delicate appearance yet impressive strength which is owed to its exceptional structural characteristics. An intricately webbed system of spines and ribs contributes to the success of the Victoria Amazonica, as it evenly distributes the weight of the plant while leaving pockets to store air and increase buoyancy. Once studied in detail, the branching pattern of the spines and ribs becomes apparent. Each Water Lily is unique, but all follow the same fractal branching pattern which can be defined by the following geometric sequence:
This branching system proves to be most effective for the Victoria Amazonica. Therefore, because of the efficiency of the system, its quick growth, and incredible strength, the plant can become somewhat of an invasive species. While the Lily Pad remains planar, in different forms, its system proves to be equally as strong. Below, the application of the system to different forms is tested.
Ribs are evenly dispersed between spines, lending to the plant’s equally distributed surface weight. In this example, the ribs are roughly spaced 8.3 cm from each other. This can be described with the linear expression: y=(1/8.3)x
Finite Element Method Mesh structurally analyzes how the surface of the Lily Pad is broken up into geometric cells. The FEM of the Pad can be tested for its movement under force and for its elasticity . These diagrams were generated with data from Nature-Inspired Fractal Geometry and Its Applications in Architectural Designs. Asayama, Riane, Sassone. 2014.
Naturally, the model without ribs (left model) was not as strong. However, it had more potential for movement and was still structurally impressive. Going forward, this was used as a base model for form studies.
As the above models proved to be structurally sound, they were scaled up to test their application to a larger model. At 1.5 m, the structure was not as stable because the spacing of the branches increased. Going forward, increased branching will be tested. Added weight will also be applied to see how it affects the stability.