Emergence in Biomimetic Materials Systems

  • Thomas SpeckEmail author
  • Olga Speck


The importance of emergent characteristics in the knowledge transfer from biological role models to biomimetic materials systems is discussed. After a brief definition of biomimetics and a description of the two basic approaches to develop biomimetic materials systems and products, we attempt to discern different types of emergence important in biomimetics. Emergent characteristics occurring in the materials systems may concern the same physical property (type 1) or a different physical property (type 2) compared to the properties of the single elements. Additional emergent characteristics important in biomimetics are related to societal values. These emergent values include aesthetic and symbolic values of the biomimetic products (type 3) and the potential contribution to moral values such as sustainability (type 4).



We thank our colleagues from the Plant Biomechanics Group, from the Excellence Cluster livMatS (EXC 2193) and from the CRC 141 for many helpful discussions. We are grateful to the German Research Foundation for the funding of our biomimetic projects in the framework of the CRC-Transregio 141 “Biological Design and Integrative Structures—Analysis, Simulation and Implementation in Architecture” and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg for additional support within the framework of Sustainability Center Freiburg.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Biomechanics Group, Botanic GardenUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT)FreiburgGermany

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