The Biomimetic Materials Laboratory

Biomimetics (also known as biomimicry or bionics) is the transfer of technology from nature to engineering. By understanding how natural materials, tissues, systems or devices operate in their natural environment, we can engineer better materials, system and devices with higher efficiency, higher performance, lower weight. Our lab focuses on biomimetic materials, with two missions:

  • Structure and Mechanics of natural materials
  • Modeling, fabrication and testing of new bio-inspired materials
1) Structure and Mechanics of natural materials: We characterize high-performance natural materials such as teeth, bone, mollusk shells, fish scales, collagen...Our approach includes structural and mechanical characterization of natural materials over multiple length scales. We focus on nonlinear deformations and fracture mechanics, and more recently on multifunctionalities (actuation, self-healing, remodeling). We use multiscale experiments, theoretical models (fracture mechanics, micromechanics) and computational approaches. 
2) Modeling, fabrication and testing of new bio-inspired materials: We duplicate the structures and mechanisms we observe in nature into new, high-performance engineering materials. We use design and optimization tools, material selections techniques, and non-conventional fabrication techniques (rapid prototyping, laser engraving, self-assembly). For example we recently fabricated a new bio-inspired glass which is 200 times tougher than regular glass, using structures and mechanics inspired from sea shells and teeth. We also recently developed a flexible protective system inspired from armadillo skin and fish scales. Other materials in development include artificial bone, bio-inspired bulletproof glass, advanced ceramics and composites for high-temperature applications.
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