Structural frame of an automobile keeps the engine cool.
Inspiration from Nature
Beak of Ramphastos Toco exchanges heat and regulates body temperature.
Structural Integrity of man-made structures like skyscrapers, gets compromised when one force (say wind or earthquake) becomes more dominant than others. Structural systems in such cases need extra reinforcement. This can be observed in automobile industry as well. A regular hollow-section armature of a car usually contains sensors and electrical cables in it. But as soon as collision becomes more probable, the car-frame starts isolating itself from other functions. In rally cars for example, we even see a dedicated exoskeletal protection. Natural world, unlike man-made world, maintains its harmony of design when dealing with extraordinary forces. A dessert-rally automobile, as a case, needs to be reimagined in which the structural system is capable of performing multiple functions.
The beak of Toucan (Ramphastos Toco) is composed of Keratine, one of the strongest materials on earth. Besides being lightweight and strong, it also performs thermal regulation. The beak functions as a heat exchanging device, which could be mimicked in the structural framework of an automobile which is capable of keeping the engine cool.
After studying several examples of tube and rally raid frames (please see technology montage), one finds that there is a need for new design paradigm, one which follows complex adaptive system theory as adopted by the beak of toucan.
An external framework of a jeep is proposed which can collect heat from the engine (26- 28) besides providing it protection (1). Thermal energy in the frame is converted into light. When the frame hits an object it absorbs the impact to its core (29), distributes the force uniformly in itself and glows brightest to release this energy too, as light (30).
Following are some useful resources from the design process of this nature gadget.
Row1Column1: Closeup of Toucan
Row1Column2: Cross-section of Toucan Beak
Row1Column3: Structure and Chemistry of Toucan Beak
Row1Column4: Internal Structure of Beak and Head of Toucan
Row2Column1: How Toucan Beak Absorbs High Energy Impact (The Page Needs to be Translated to English)
Row2Column2: Structure and Mechanical Behaviour of a Toucan Beak
Row2Column3: Foaming and Hollow Section in Toucan Beak
Row2Column4: Axial Racing Jeep Frame
Row3Column1: The Shape of Future- Race-car Engineering
Row3Column2: Local Motors Rally Fighter
Row3Column3: Different Examples of Chassis
Row3Column4: Race Car Tube Chassis
Row4Column1: An Example of Tube Frames
Row4Column2: Race-car Engineering
Row4Column3: Mitsubishi Rally Raid Frame Construction
Row4Column4: Examples of Ultra SS Chassis