Minimum mass vascular networks in multifunctional materials

H. R. Williams, R. S. Trask, P. M. Weaver, I. P. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (SciVal)


A biomimetic analysis is presented in which an expression for the optimum vessel diameter for the design of minimum mass branching or vascular networks in engineering applications is derived. Agreement with constructal theory is shown. A simple design case is illustrated and application to more complex cases with branching networks of several generations discussed. The analysis is also extended into the turbulent flow regime, giving an optimization tool with considerable utility in the design of fluid distribution systems. The distribution of vessel lengths in different generations was also found to be a useful design variable. Integrating a network into a structure is also discussed. Where it is necessary to adopt a non-optimum vessel diameter for structural integration, it has been shown that small deviations from the minimum mass optimum can be tolerated, but large variations could be expected to produce a punitive and rapidly increasing mass penalty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Royal Society, Interface
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2008


  • Biomimetic
  • Constructal theory
  • Sandwich structures
  • Self-healing
  • Vascular flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Minimum mass vascular networks in multifunctional materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this