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Biological materials and mechanics: An overview

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The approach used by Materials Science and Engineering is revealing new aspects in the structure and properties of biological materials. The integration of advanced characterization, mechanical testing, and modeling methods can rationalize heretofore unexplained aspects of these structures. The nascent areas of Biological Materials Science and Mechanobiology encompass three thrusts: Biological (or natural) materials: materials that comprise cells, extracellular material, organs, and organisms; Biomaterials: synthetic materials used to correct, repair, or supplement natural functions in organisms; Bioinspired design: this area encompasses the materials and structures inspired in biological systems and/or functions. We demonstrate the power of this methodology with examples from our research: biomineralization and toughness of shells, avian beaks and feathers, fish scales, and osteoderms. We illustrate bioinspired applications with a few selected applications: Velcro, ceramic-polymer composites inspired on abalone nacre, and synthetic attachment devices inspired on the gecko.

This talk is part of the Physics and Chemistry of Solids Group series.

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