Kickscience is a London Institute programme to fund specific research projects with private, focused donations.
Throughout the 20th century, curiousity-driven research was funded mainly by governments. But as government support for basic science decreases, the philanthropy of the new economy is shaping the future of discovery. Individuals and organizations are playing an important role in determining the most important lines of research.
You can decide which of our research projects gets advanced by supporting it specifically. Any funds that you give for a project will be spent entirely on that project. Donors are listed on the Institute website and kept abreast of the progress of the research. Donors of £5000 or more are acknowledged in our research publications.
3D printing of fractal space frames
Fractals are self-similar structures: a part looks like a scaled-down version of the whole. Examples occur in Nature in the form of snowflakes and fern fronds. Recently, we predicted that space-frames—like the latticework of a crane—can be designed using fractal principles to have extraordinary strength for their weight. These new structures exhibit radically new strength-to-mass scaling laws.
Fractal structures are hard to manufacture by conventional methods. But recent advances in 3D printing mean that we can finally make them, at an affordable cost. We will 3D-print fractal space frames out of polymer with different rod diameters and numbers of fractal generations. We will then test them mechanically to see if the predicted strength versus mass relation holds up in real life.
Fractal space frames can extend the limits of architecture and civil engineering. They offer new opportunities for building space stations and exploring space. One intriguing application is solar sails: large platforms which accelerate by reflecting solar radiation. Fractal space frames also contribute to resource efficiency because the gains in mechanical performance mean less material is needed.
Raised so far
This project has been successfully funded.