Dr Roland Liebe from Germany visited WIT to present a short course on Design and Nature.

Over a period of two days lectures were presented on the following topics:

  • General overview: Highlights of fluid mechanics solutions in nature.
  • Minimum principles: Hexagonal patterns in engineering and nature.
  • Swimming in nature: Force generation with comparison to engineering.
  • Flying in nature: Unsteady aeromechanics. Oscillating vs. fixed wings.
  • Tools to simulate engineering flows and animal generated flow fields.
  • Concept and applications of the Finite Vortex Model in nature and engineering.
  • Image-based experimental methods for live animals.
  • Evolution and utilization of learning in nature. An 8-step bionic work cycle.

This course presented the latest results from fluid dynamics, which are applied to swimming and flying in nature as well as to human engineering, medicine and other fields. The topics ranged from up-to-date research to innovative product design.

The course had the following objectives:

  • To understand fluid mechanics phenomena of swimming and flying in nature.
  • To recognize and generalize underlying physical mechanisms.
  • To go beyond the current knowledge in both engineering and nature.
  • To open the door towards new applications for human products and processes.
  • To identify learning cycles in nature and compare them with engineering etc.
  • To introduce a bionic work cycle in order to systematically utilize bioinspirations.

Dr.-Ing. Roland Liebe worked for more than 35 years in turbomachine engineering for power generation. Focus was on large rotating apparatus such as heavy duty gas turbines, steam turbines, large turbogenerators and hydrogenerators as well as large centrifugal pumps for both fossil and nuclear power plants. He was engaged in design, development and cross-functional projects as a manager for multinational engineering companies in the USA, Switzerland and Germany. Dr. Liebe has published numerous articles, presented papers at international conferences, organized seminars at home and abroad, and developed many patents, which have led to product improvement. Last year he published two WIT books entitled "Flow Phenomena in Nature" - Volume 1: A Challenge to Engineering Design and Volume 2: Inspiration, Learning and Application. Dr. Liebe now runs an independent engineering consulting business ("turbo-improve-consult"), and since 2007 has been engaged at the University of Stuttgart lecturing on "Design and Nature".

This short course was well received by participants from the USA and Denmark, amongst others.