What If Building Materials Could Respond To Rain?


Jul 06

There are lots of materials that a resistant to the elements. Metals like stainless steel and titanium can help make a structure more resistant to corrosion brought on by moisture. But what if there was a way to use materials that actually perform a function in response to rain like an automatic awning or patio overhang? A new shapeshifting material, inspired by pinecone’s response to moisture, may make that possible.


Image Source: Popular Science

Image Source: Popular Science

“ [Chao Chen, a design student London’s Royal College of Art] discovered that by layering a veneer, fabric, and a thin layer of film together he could make a material that reacted just like the pinecone to water: opening on sunny days, and curling in the presence of water.”

While further modifications are needed to improve the stability and durability of the newly developed material, the water reactive substance is already gaining attention for its potential as a coverable outdoor shelter feature and even a care aid for your average container gardening enthusiasts.

Do you see any potential uses for such a material in commercial or building applications? Tell us what you think of this development in the comments.