New Project: Biomimetic materials
Natural materials are formed on different principles than most engineering materials. They are synthesized under gentle conditions, with little energy used in their formation and are always composites. We are working to extract principles in natural materials for use in design of new materials for applications ranging from medicine to architecture.
Mineralized Tissues as Composite Materials
Even the structurally simplest of biological tissues are composite materials: soft tissues are composed of proteins, sugars and water while mineralized (hard) tissues are composed of these components plus a large volume fraction of mineral (a carbonated apatite or dahllite). In mammals the ubiquitous fibrillar protein collagen is the dominant protein present. Due to the composite nature of tissues, there has been considerable recent interest in modeling the structure-properties relationships (particularly in mineralized tissues) in a manner analogous to that used for study of traditional engineering composites.