Interview with Michaela Eder
Group Leader – “plant material adaptation”, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
Michaela Eder: Our main research focus is on understanding how plant materials (eg. wood, seed pods) are shaped and/or structured to function in a particular environment/habitat, eg in fire – prone regions.
The research activities of our group are assigned to the following 3 areas:
1. Understanding how plants adapt/adjust their material properties to extreme places,
eg. fire – prone environments
2. Growth and material adaptation within a plant eg. in trees
3. Exploring interactions between basic research and design with the aim to find new
routes towards the use of sustainable materials
Our aim is to reveal interesting adaptation and optimization strategies, to understand them
and to provide them as input parameters for the development of new materials to a larger
community. Furthermore, in our opinion a deeper understanding of plant based material in
general is essential for sustainable and targeted use of this important renewable resource.
Recently we started a project to explore the use of various tree barks by keeping them in a
highly natural condition. In addition to our work on plant tissues we are involved in a variety
of projects of different groups dealing with questions related to mechanical studies under
controlled environmental conditions (mainly humidity), not only on wood but also on eg.
reinforced polyionic liquid membranes or on animal tissue such as the periodontal ligament
P: What is the Image Space Material Cluster of Excellence?
Michaela Eder: The Cluster Matters of Activity seeks to provide the foundations for a new culture of materiality in the sense of reinventing the analogue in the digital age. The development of sustainable, energy – saving artefacts and techniques requires the inseparability of active images, spaces and materials through an interdisciplinary approach in which the humanities, natural sciences and design disciplines cooperate as equal partners. Experimental and design – oriented approaches will be combined with historical analysis in order to draw practical and theoretical consequences. To this end, researchers from more than 40 disciplines, situated at several universities, cultural and research institutions, including the MPIKG, are working together in the Cluster, which is based at Humboldt University.
INTERVIEW Teaser, full article in PLASMA magazine 5, release in July 2019