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Spiral Architect

based on 1 rating
Author: Judee Shipman
Topics: Engineering
Type

Architecture

Grade Level

9-12

Difficulty Level

Medium-Hard

Cost

Minimal

Safety Issues

None

Material Availability

All necessary materials are readily available.

Project Time Frame

4-6 weeks.

Objective 

This project examines the architectural possibilities of a snail shell. 

The goals of this project are: 

  1. To discover the practical applications for this particular structural design.
  2. To develop new or improved uses for this type of space. 

Materials and Equipment  

  • Computer with internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/craft/hobby supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board, glue, etc.)
  • Snail shells 

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay. 

Introduction 

The basic form of a snail shell has many interesting features. The spiraling interior is well insulated, and it seems to contain a lot of volume in a relatively small dimensional space. There are no corners to clean, and the smooth, continuous roundness of the structure is quite pleasing to the eye. It seems there are must be many practical uses for this shape. Here we will discover them. 

Research Questions
  1. What can we do with the shape of a snail shell, other than “hear the ocean?”
  2. What is the (average) volume of a snail shell?
  3. What are the benefits of this type of space? 
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research 
  • Architecture
  • Gastropod   

Experimental Procedure 

  1. Research related materials (see bibliography below)
  2. Search and print out images of snail shells that interest you.
  3. Obtain several large snail shells and photograph them from all angles.
  4. If possible, bisect a shell to show its cross-section.
  5. Examine the interior space of each shell.
  6. Determine each shell’s volume by filling it to the brim with water, then pouring the water into a measuring cup.
  7. Sketch a few ideas for ways to use this unusual space. Musical instrument? Hand tool? House? Reservoir? Water slide? Drainage system? Use your imagination.
  8. Build a model of your design.
  9. Clearly describe your methods and materials in a detailed report.
  10. Include sketches, models, and shell samples in your science fair display.
  11. Show interesting photos taken throughout the course of the project. 

Bibliography 

Wiki topics: “Snail” “Seashell” and “Hermit Crab”

http://www.seashellarchitecture.com/ (X-rays of seashells)

http://mypages.iit.edu/~krawczyk/shell01/shell01.htm (Seashell architecture)

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-different-types-of-seashells.htm (About seashells)

http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/residential/archives/0401HotM-1.asp (Shell house 1)

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/sachin-tendulkar-shell-house.shtml (Shell house 2)

Internet searches of your own choosing: Search for any of the terms listed above (or make up your own phrases to search), and click on any results that interest you. Have fun surfing the net!

 

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