Case Study: Researching Biomimicry
Biomimicry Topic: Termite Mount

Name: Heng Sy Hua

Abstract

 

Global warming has always been a crucial issue among specialist over the world. However, the main cooling mechanism that we are currently using is still air conditioning system that sadly, is one of the main causes of global warming. Various studies has proven the different level of  effectiveness of using biomimicry of a termite mount in building passive cooling ideas in various climate. Hence, this study narrow the scope in looking at the type of termite mount biomimicry design that is effective in tropical country. By applying the type of structure in termite mount as a biomimicry design idea in building opening, this will directly improve the passive cooling of a building, lower the usage of artificial cooling mechanism and contributes in solving the issue of global warming.

Termite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Termite communities have co-evolved for millions of years into ‘super-organisms’.

  • A superorganism is any aggregate of individual organisms that behaves like a unified organism. Members of a superorganism have highly specialized social cooperative instincts, divisions of labor, and are unable to survive away from their superorganism for very long.

  • Termite mound can be found widely in Africa, Australia and South America in both dry dessert or forest environment.

  • The mound can shapes up to 30 metres high depending on the colony size and the environment.

  • This species is well known for its complex mound structure where it has thousand of chimney and tunnel to perform thermoregulation for their internal nest.

  • This is essential for a thermite mound as termite need a very specific temperature which is at 30 degree Celsius in order to protect the eggs and produce their food.

  • Great temperature change of their living environment termite has turned their mound into a structure that is able to regulate the temperature throughout the day.

 

Structure of Termite Mound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thermosiphon Flow

 

 

 

Induced Flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Termite.jpg
Structure of termite mount.jpg
PictureThermosiphon Flow.jpg
Induced Flow.jpg

Description

Global warming has always been a crucial issue among specialist over the world. However, the main cooling mechanism that we are currently using is still air conditioning system that sadly, is one of the main causes of global warming. Especially in tropical country, mean temperature is around 30-33 degree Celsius but the temperature for human comfort is around 22-27 degree Celsius. Artificial air conditioning system is widely been used in tropical country. Hence, Effective passive cooling system integrates with the nature surrounding and brings down indoor temperature without using air conditioning system where the building structure itself are able to regulate cool air into the building and hot air out from the building is crucially in need to solve the issue of global warming. Over the years, passive cooling has become one of the popular topic and biomimicry system has given us an opportunity to learn from the nature system on how other flora or fauna archive thermal comfort and cooling. Termite mount has become one of the best example on passive cooling with their various mount structure design that will suit in different climate. Various studies has proven the different level of  effectiveness of using biomimicry of a termite mount in building passive cooling ideas in various climate. However, most the of studies and designs are in hot and dry or cold climate country. Hence, this study narrow the scope in looking at the type of termite mount biomimicry design that is effective in tropical country. By applying the type of structure in termite mount as a biomimicry design idea in building opening, this will directly improve the passive cooling of a building, lower the usage of artificial cooling mechanism and contributes in solving the issue of global warming.

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, with limited material and resources during MCO period, the project was a success testing out which type of structure opening is more suitable in tropical climate. The project has also proven that different opening structure is suitable for different climate setting. The prototype experiment has also solidified Professor Ismail Bin Said hypothesis where in different climate setting different structure opening may apply and differ from the Eastgate Centre in Zimbawe which is using chimney for passive cooling, mimic the induced flow in termite mound. In tropical climate like Malaysia, opening design within more openings surrounding the building which mimics the thermosiphon flow in termite mound has greater effect in passive ventilation. While for the orientation wise, due to the geographical location, building that is situated with larger surface area facing North-South direction has greater effect in passive cooling as the heat gain from North-South direction is lower then East- West direction. Hence, this study has filled the gap of adapting termite mound as biomimicry inspiration into building opening type and building orientation in tropical climate in order to contribute in passive cooling. In the future, I would also like to look into developing the prototype with technology to enhance the prototype structure to adapt it into an actual building. 

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