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  • Sarah Hashiguchi

Challenge to Biology

Updated: Sep 27

Assignment 5.2 – Practicing the C2B Spiral

Sarah Hashiguchi




Design Concept

Thermo Capture Jacket



About

This jacket was design for summer hiking conditions where while it's usually sunny, but the temperature may change drastically throughout the hike. Often time hikes gain significant elevation where the top of the hike is much cooler than the start. At this point, it is also common to take a break and as vigorous movement comes to a pause, the body can feel cold especially if it's sweaty and there is any sort of wind factor. This jacket was primarily inspired by the shape Green Birdwing Butterfly wing scales, the adaptable properties of Numbat fur, the lightweight structure of Dragonfly wings, and the solar capturing cells of Oriental Hornets. While the final lap around the spiral was a fun exploration, it brought the design farther from a sustainable solution, so the final jacket is most closely based on the first two laps.


Process


Round 1

Identify

I want to design a jacket for hiking. I've noticed current jackets are good for certain conditions, but each have their draw backs.


It needs to:

  • be lightweight + easily packable

  • really breathable during the hike when energy is being expended

  • protect skin from sun damage

  • keep the body warm when stopping for breaks

  • quick dry from sweat

The overall purpose is to keep the hiker as comfortable as possible so they can focus on enjoying their natural surroundings rather than their thermoregulation.


Interpret

The jacket needs to manage thermal energy. This will be done by inhibiting heat transfer to the ambient air, and rather storing the energy to reuse in a cyclic process. The operating parameters include a dynamic climate where the weather may be dry, hot or cold, windy, and sunny. The object would start in a nutrient rich area (a city) and be used in both nutrient and non-nutrient rich area (depending on location of the hike).


Discover

Natural models / nature's strategies + observations:


Abstract

Strategies + Observations

  • shape helps absorb sun radiation

  • air is trapped and used as warm "blanket"

  • ability to move/change direction of hair aids heat control

  • movement physically dries fur while conserving as much energy as possible

  • structure + material can make for light weight yet robust properties


Emulate

Conceptual Design

  • this jacket will capture heat

  • it will release unused heat through vents (flaps?)

  • it will store heat until needed later in the hike (when their is a break and movement temporarily ceases)

  • energy will heat up reserves that are protected away from the body

  • can be reversed for opposite effect


Evaluate

Against Design Brief

  • The design was based on the assumption that this would be for summer hiking and the jacket would not have to protect against rain. Would it be helpful or advantageous to make it waterproof or water resistant?

  • The design was based on the assumption that someone would wear the jacket for the whole hike. Maybe it stores energy until the person begins to overheat, and then they take the jacket off until they get chilly, at which point they can access the heat reserves?

Against Nature's Design Principles

  • Optimize rather than maximize → one versatile jacket is better than owning many that each only serve one purpose (for one climate/set of conditions)

  • Locally attuned + responsive → changes based on dynamic environment

  • Resilient → increases rate of adaptation to climate

  • Cyclical → uses heat already generated (free energy) and reuses it when it's needed again

  • Benign manufacturing → I don't think this would be achievable based on the types of materials to make this function



Round 2

Identify

How could the jacket store energy?


Interpret

Same as round 1: The jacket needs to manage thermal energy. This will be done by inhibiting heat transfer to the ambient air, and rather storing the energy to reuse in a cyclic process. The operating parameters include a dynamic climate where the weather may be dry, hot or cold, windy, and sunny. The object would start in a nutrient rich area (a city) and be used in both nutrient and non-nutrient rich area (depending on location of the hike).


Discover

  • Energy-Storing Tendons Give Wallabies Their Bounce → they use elastic recoil to boost energy efficiency. The cost of locomotion can be unchanged regardless of speed or load (pregnant mother).

  • Pigments Absorb Solar Energy → Oriental hornets turn solar energy into electrical energy that they then use for physical activity, temperature regulation, and metabolic functions (like a liver would perform). Oval bumps on the solar-sensitive bands increase the surface area for absorption.


Abstract

Strategies + Observations

  • kinetic energy + potential energy turn into elastic strain energy of stretching tendons

  • 90% of energy can be stored for re-use

  • muscle attached to tendon is stiff and doesn't change length so that the force stays concentrated rather than being dissipated and lost

  • pigment absorbs solar energy

  • energy can be directed to different functions as needed

  • surface texture maximizes absorbent area for sunlight


Emulate

Conceptual Design

  • The jacket will have a textured surface with "cells"

  • These will capture both sun energy and radiant body heat

  • This energy will be stored until it is needed

  • There will be a trigger to release energy in the form of heat from the "cells" to warm the hiker's body when needed


Evaluate

Against Design Brief

  • The design was based on the assumption that at some point during the hike, there will always be sun. Maybe there are certain cells to capture sun energy, and more to capture radiant body heat, since that is more constant and predictable.


Against Nature's Design Principles

  • Optimization → Uses available energy

  • Systems based → Converts sunlight to storable energy, and rereleases as heat

  • Benign manufacturing → I don't think this would be achievable based on the types of materials to make this function


Round 3

Identify

How could this work in colder conditions? Hiking late fall or early spring? Higher elevations?


Interpret

Similar to previous rounds, the jacket needs to manage thermal energy. This will be done by inhibiting heat transfer to the ambient air, and rather storing the energy to reuse in a cyclic process. The operating parameters have changed slightly to include a colder climate, that still experiences a fair amount of both wind and sun. The object would start in a nutrient rich area (a city) and be used in both nutrient and non-nutrient rich area (depending on location of the hike). It would also need to be thin an flexible, opposed to the classic bulky winter coat.


Discover

  • Blood Vessel Network Prevents Heat Loss at Body Surface → The gray whale's tongue has no blubber to keep it warm like the rest of its body, so it must cool its tongue down to minimize heat loss to the cold ocean water. It does this by acting as a counter current heat exchanger where the thin wide network of blood vessels slow down the flow of blood allowing the heat to disperse within its body and cool down before reaching the end of the tongue.

  • Vascular Lining Helps Maintain Body Temperature → The leatherback sea turtle has a vascular lining that helps warm air as it is breathed in and cool air before it is fully breathed out. This retains heat within the body and minimizes heat lost to the turtle's surroundings


Abstract

Strategies + Observations

  • a network of small branches distribute heat

  • vessels keep body warm near surface of skin to prevent it from getting too cold

  • conserve heat lost to environment by pre-cooling (to retain heat)


Emulate

Conceptual Design

  • This jacket will essentially function as a heated blanket

  • In addition to storing energy as previously mentioned, it could also be plugged in and charged at home before a hike

  • A network/lattice of thin copper wire would run throughout the jacket like the web of a vascular system, and heat up to keep the hiker warm

  • Temperature of the copper wire could be adjusted up or down to achieve the ideal temperature throughout the hike


Evaluate

Against Design Brief

  • The design was based on the assumption that the hiker would not be wearing a backpack or anything else that might come into contact with the jacket so all heat would be directed towards the person's body rather than absorbed by an object

  • Could still explore water resistance, quick dry, and SPF attributes


Against Nature's Design Principles

  • Resilient → This design is more resilient in harsher conditions that previous versions

  • Optimization → While this design uses some available energy, it would still rely on traditional electricity as well making less aligned with this principle

  • Benign manufacturing → I don't think this would be achievable based on the types of materials to make this function


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