Morphing the design to go with the times

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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd The recorded history of technology and science and art shows that the evolutionary path of design is toward a greater number of dimensions, more degrees of freedom, and greater performance, efficiency and economy. Until now, designs have evolved in steps from one to two and three dimensions. The future will bring one more step, to four dimensions: three-dimensional objects that morph in time in accord with their time-changing environmental conditions. This concept is illustrated with the thermo-fluid design and time-behavior of a volume filled with parallel plates cooled by forced convection. When the pressure difference that drives the flow varies stepwise in time, the plate to plate spacing for maximum heat transfer density must change. If the structure is free to morph to maintain its optimal spacings in step with its changing environment, then the time-integrated performance of the morphing object is maximum. If the structure is rigid (sized optimally for one flow condition), its performance is inferior. The general significance and applicability of this future of design activity is discussed.





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Bejan, A, and S Gucluer (2021). Morphing the design to go with the times. International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer, 120. pp. 104837–104837. 10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2020.104837 Retrieved from

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Adrian Bejan

J.A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Bejan was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal 2018 and the Humboldt Research Award 2019. His research covers engineering science and applied physics: thermodynamics, heat transfer, convection, design, and evolution in nature.

He is ranked among the top 0.01% of the most cited and impactful world scientists (and top 10 in Engineering world wide) in the 2019 citations impact database created by Stanford University’s John Ioannidis, in PLoS Biology.  He is the author of 30 books and 700 peer-referred articles. His h-index is 111 with 92,000 citations on Google Scholar. He received 18 honorary doctorates from universities in 11 countries.

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