Learning from nature to build better load-bearing materials
Thursday, September 15, 2016
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Bostock Library - The Edge Workshop Room
Megan T. Valentine, University of California at Santa Barbara
Biological materials are incredibly complex: structural elements are found on many length scales, non-linear elastic effects are common, forces are generated and transmitted on demand, and protein binding/unbinding dynamics give rise to new time scales of material rearrangements. These dynamics not only suppress fatigue, but can allow systems to heal even when loaded to failure. Such materials properties impart tremendous function to biological systems: bacteria divide, cells crawl, and tissues maintain cohesive and adhesive strength to form complex organisms that can withstand substantial force. Yet, our ability to exploit the unique properties of cells and tissues to generate manmade materials with enhanced functionality remains poor.