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 The Center for Biological, Bioinspired and Bio-Materials (CB3M) investigates biological systems and applies the lessons learned in order to develop novel, bioinspired materials and biomaterials.

 Our research focuses on three main areas:

   Biological materials – the study of natural materials (e.g. bone, feathers, skin).

   Biomimetics or bioinspired materials design – synthesis of novel materials, devices, and structures inspired by biology.

   Biomaterials – the application of materials in the biomedical arena (e.g. implants).
M.B. Frank, S.E. Naleway, T.S. Wirth, J.Y. Jung, C.L. Cheung, F.B. Loera, S. Medina, K.N. Sato, J.R.A. Taylor, J. McKittrick,

"A Protocol for Bioinspired Design: A Ground Sampler Based on Sea Urchin Jaws," J. Vis. Exp. (110), e53554. doi:10.3791/53554 (2016).


(UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering) "From the deep sea to deep space: sea urchin's teeth inspire new design for space exploration device"

(Gizmag) "Mouthy sea urchin inspires engineers to take a bite out of other planets"

(Quartz) "Engineers modeled this space-exploring robot after a sea urchin’s mouth"

Charles Osgood (Sunday Morning on CBS) featured us on CBS Radio Network!
(The Osgood File) "A BETTER REACH… ON MARS"

Graduate Student Jae-Young (Jerry) Jung is awarded the Best Literature Review Award for his poster, "Comparative Analysis of the Woodpecker Skull," at the 2016 UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo

 
 Article published in Science
M.M. Porter, D. Adriaens, R. Hatton, M.A. Meyers, J. McKittrick, “Why the seahorse tail is square,” Science,
349(6243), aaa6683-1-7 (2015).
doi: 10.1126/science.aaa6683

Graduate Students Michael Frank and Steven Naleway were interviewed for "Meet the Engineers of Tomorrow"

Graduate Student Steven Naleway is awarded the 2015 Graduate Student Association Graduate Student Peer Mentorship Award

Graduate Student Michael Frank is awarded the Katie Osterday Best Poster Award at the 2015 UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo

Graduate Student Steven Naleway is awarded 2015 Abe Hurlich Award from the San Diego Chapter of ASM International

See "News and Highlights" page for more information

Updated: 4/28/2015


Structural Biological Materials
We study a variety of biological materials that are lightweight, strong and fracture resistant.

 
Characteristics of Biological Materials



 

Toughness and Modulus

  • Organic based biological materials show high toughness (natural elastomers) but a low modulus.  The inorganic constituents (hydroxyapatite and calcite) show high modulus but low toughness.
  • In combination, the composite (bone and nacre) has high toughness and modulus


 
Learning from Nature
  • The strength is dependent on which direction the force is applied
  • Highest strength is in compression with the force applied perpendicular to the layers


Adapted from:

  • Porter M.M., S. Lee, N. Tanadchangsaeng, et al., "Porous hydroxyapatite-polyhydroxybutyrate composites fabricated by a novel method via centrifugation," Mechanics of Biological Systems and Materials, Volume 5. B.C. Prorok, F. Barthelat, C.S. Korachet al: Springer New York: 63-71 (2013).
  • Lee, S., M. Porter, S. Wasko, et al., Potential bone replacement materials prepared by two methods, MRS Proceedings, Vol. 1418, 2012,  mrsf11-1418-mm06-02 doi:10.1557/opl.2012
  • Meyers, M.A., A.Y.M. Lin, P.Y. Chen, et al. Mechanical strength of abalone nacre: Role of the soft organic layer, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 1, 76-85 (2008).

 
 

Anisotropy

  • The strength is dependent on which direction the force is applied
  • Highest strength is in compression with the force applied perpendicular to the layers

Adapted from:

  • Chen, P.Y., A.Y.M. Lin, Y.-S. Lin, Y. Seki, A.G. Stokes, J. Peyras, E.A. Olevsky, M.A. Meyers and J. McKittrick, “Structure and mechanical properties of selected biological materials,” Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 1, 208-226 (2008).
  • Novitskaya, E.E., P.-Y. Chen, S. Lee, A.B. Castro-Ceseña, G.A. Hirata, V. Lubarda and J. McKittrick, “Anisotropy in the compressive mechanical properties of bovine cortical bone: Mineral and protein constituents compared with untreated bone,” Acta Biomaterialia, 7, 3170-3177 (2011)
 

Nacre-like Materials

  • Bioinspired nacre-like materials have layered structures that capture the nanoscale features at the ceramic/polymer interface
Adapted from:
  • Bouville, F., M.E. Florian, S. Meille, et al., Strong, tough and stiff bioinspired ceramics from brittle constituents, Nature Materials, 13, 508-514 (2014).
  • Munch, E., M.E. Launey, D.H. Alsem, et al., Tough bio-inspired hybrid materials, Science, 322, 1516-1520 (2008).
  • Launey, M.E., E. Munch, D.H. Alsem, et al., Designing highly toughened hybrid composites through nature-inspired hierarchical complexity, Acta Materialia, 57, 2919-2932 (2009)
 
 

Bone-like Materials

  • The structure of cortical and trabecular bone can be replicated using magnetic fields or by polymer infiltration into ceramic sponges

Adapted from:

  • Erb, R.M., R. Libanori, N. Rothfuchs, et al., Composites reinforced in three dimensions by using low magnetic fields, Science, 335, 199-204 (2012).
  • Porter M.M., S. Lee, N. Tanadchangsaeng, et al., "Porous hydroxyapatite-polyhydroxybutyrate composites fabricated by a novel method via centrifugation," Mechanics of Biological Systems and Materials, Volume 5. B.C. Prorok, F. Barthelat, C.S. Korachet al: Springer New York: 63-71 (2013).
 Science Nation video

Science Nation: Antlers, Shells and Beaks



Nova video


 

Keratinous materials: Feathers, pangolin scales and hair

  • Keratins form complex hierarchical structures, rendering a                    wide range of mechanical properties.

Adapted from:

  • Wang, B., Yang, W., McKittrick, J., Meyers, M.A., Keratin: Structure, Mechanical Properties,    Occurrence in Biological Organisms, and Efforts at Bioinspiration, Progress in Materials Science (Accepted Feb., 2015).
Osteoderms: Turtles and alligators


  • Osteoderm's have bony plates for protection with collagen bridges that allow for significant flexing.
 

Adapted from:

  • Chen, I., Yang, W., and Meyers, M.A., "Leatherback Sea Turtle Shell: A Tough and Flexible Biological Design," Acta Biomaterialia (Accepted Feb., 2015).





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