Biomechanics and bioengineering paper
Dyson, A, Bennett, M, Rognon, P 2014, 'Biomimetic for new soil-anchor designs', in ST Smith (ed.), 23rd Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM23), vol. II, Byron Bay, NSW, 9-12 December, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, pp. 905-910. ISBN: 9780994152008.
Designing reliable and cost efficient soil anchors is a constant challenge for geotechnical engineers. Existing standard solutions comprise shapes such as plates, helical, grouted piles, and drilled shaft anchors. We consider here a class of anchor designs inspired by the anchoring strategy that trees have developed. We present a set of experiments investigating the anchoring properties of fractal-tree geometries similar to root systems. A range of fractal anchors were created by recursive algorithms and 3D-printed. We measured their anchoring properties in a model soil comprising 55m glass beads. Results show that such fractal shapes have excellent resistance to pulling, while the amount of material needed for their construction is much lower than plain shapes such as plate anchors. This study shows the strong potential of biomimetics to produce new reliable and cost effective designs in geotechnical engineering.