Hygroscopy and adaptive architectural façades: an overview

Rana El-Dabaa*, Sherif Abdelmohsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Hygroscopic properties of wood have been utilized in adaptive façades to respond to variation in humidity levels. Shape-shifting materials have been developed to replace mechanical actuators that respond to climatic variation with zero-energy consumption. This paper presents a systematic review of the literature on the use of hygromorphic behaviour in developing adaptive architectural façades, with the primary focus of identifying the venues of implementation of hygroscopic actuation in adaptive facades. The paper triangulates the intersection between hygroscopic design parameters with manufacturing strategies and their application as a passive motion mechanism in adaptive facades. This review focuses on state-of-the-art experimental work in hygroscopic design, with specific interest in manufacturing methods of hygromorphic adaptive façades, response motion behaviour evaluation and tracking, analysis of the current applications of hygromorphic design in real weather conditions, and performance prediction. Results reveal that most of the studied papers focus on the response behaviour of programmable materials to variation in moisture content and the implementation of hygroscopic design in adaptive façades. From the literature analysis, it was shown that programming the response behaviour of hygroscopic materials mainly takes place through variation in fabrication methods, followed by passive layer configurations, which act as actuators that are controlled by differences in layer properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-582
Number of pages26
JournalWood Science and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date8 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Plant Science
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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