Bio-Inspired Materials Processing


Green Materials Production Inspired by Nature

Nature has something to teach humans about how to make better materials in a more sustainable way.

Our group wants to understand biological material processing and apply it to fabricate novel materials.

Flexible coatings from fluid phases

Mussels fabricate metal-reinforced polymer coatings to protect against abrasion at the seashore. We utilized advance imaging techniques to investigate the assembly of the coatings from preorganized biphasic fluid protein phases. Our findings are relevant for efforts to design nanostructured materials and devices through self-assembly.

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Liquid Crystals to Fibers

Mussels create self-healing fibers known as byssal threads from tiny protein vesicles, which rapidly self-assemble. The bright color indicates that proteins are liquid crystalline, meaning they have an ordered arrangement, but flow like a liquid. This pre-ordering helps achieve  high structural order necessary for material performance.

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Stiff Fibers from Sticky Slime

The hunting slime of velvet worm transform into stiff polymeric fibers in mid-air. With our collaborators, we discovered mechanoresponsive protein-lipid nanoglobules in the slime, which are the key to this remarkable behavior. Fibers are fully recyclable, providing scientists with an excellent role model for circular materials processing.

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