Framework for tetra-functional control of viscoelastic molecular entropy in biopolymeric hydrogel dynamics for environmentally responsive metabolic processes in morphological architectural membranes

Shane Ida Smith, Anna H. Dyson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Efficacious resource harvesting constitutes new modes of conceptualizing the interactions of buildings with surrounding environmental conditions. The internal logic of a biotechnical paradigm in architectural design allows for the potential of fluid exchanges between medium and material to be realized with correlated metabolism. Such concepts avert existing mechanical paradigms based upon linear conservation of energy processes and approach entropic integrated design interactions of nonlinear dynamical processes. Through a physiological analogy that infonns architectural anatomy, the genetic code of hydrogels embeds emergent morphological responses to discrete interactions with environmental phenomena. In contrast to the static hard tissue of the skeletal system, viscoelastic soft tissue provides significant environmental impact by means of integrating spatiotemporal adaptation in building systems. This framework provides an intersealar perspective for integrating biopolymeric membranes within building-envelope systems and informs the microstate design of the polymer chains for optimized mechanical performance. Hydrogels are a translucent three-dimensional water- swollen polymer, which exhibit mechanical work upon interaction with water vapor. In effect, this interaction provides for a variant index of refraction, a variant heat capacitance, and a physical shift in surface morphology. Characteristic changes in material thermal and mechanical properties parallel diurnal climate profiles for circadian biorhythmic membrane designs. The macrostates of temperature, pressure, and volume reciprocally inform the potential microscopic properties, including position and velocity of each molecule within the material system. The viscoelastic molecular entropy (Maxwell model) of hydrogels is established as a fundamental basis for situating a dynamic material logic influencing a high efficacy architectural physiology. The Maxwell model is translated as an algorithmic framework for mechanical control through tetra-functional polymer chain development of biopolymeric hydrogels. In contrast to polyacrylamide hydrogels, the chemistry of biopolymeric polysaceharide hydrogels is well suited for renewable sourcing and down cycling to achieve sustainable material life cycles. However, these biopolymers do not inherently exhibit robust structural properties necessary for influencing morphological shifts of the membranes for intelligent passive design strategies such as selfactuating ventilation apertures or self-shading surface geometries. The research encompassed in this work engages the development of a more acute framework for the trajectory of biopolymeric hydrogel dynamics based upon a necessity for controlled morphological modulations in response to specific environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Architecture and Programmable Matter - Next Generation Building Skins and Systems from Nano to Macro
EditorsM. Gutierrez, C. Santangelo, J. Sabin
PublisherMaterials Research Society
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781510826533
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 MRS Spring Meeting - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Apr 6 2015Apr 10 2015

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Other2015 MRS Spring Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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