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Physics Colloquium - Bio-inspired foundations and concepts for next-generation materials
Time: Feb 17, 2017 (03:00 PM) - Feb 18, 2017 (12:00 AM)
Location: 236 Parker Hall - Snacks in 200 Allison at 2:45


Bio-inspired foundations and concepts for next-generation materials


 Cornelis Storm

Eindhoven University of Technology


The materials that support and shape the living world use clever, comprehensive approaches to materials design. The protein polymer meshworks responsible for the mechanical properties of the cytoskeleton, the plant cell wall, and the extracellular matrix all feature tailored combinations of constituents, connections, and spatial (re)arrangements that conspire to produce versatile, dynamic functionality: toughness combined with compliance, self strengthening and self-healing. These remarkable properties, moreover, are achieved using autonomously assembled and renewable structures.

An exciting direction for future, post-oil materials (packaging, textiles, construction, etc.) is to borrow suitable design concepts from natural matter to develop superior man-made materials. In order for this ambition to materialize, we must first understand why natural materials perform as well as they do, and determine, secondly, how their design principles may be implemented to purposely create similar functionality in new materials. Theory and simulation, properly paired with experiment, are powerful tools to achieve both these objectives.

In the first part of this colloquium, I review some the basic biophysical principles that underpin the mechanical and structural response of natural biomaterials. I will highlight the roles of single-protein mechanics, of cohesion and orientational order, and along the way will introduce some of the computational and analytical innovations my group has developed to study these mechanisms. In the second part of my colloquium I discuss crucial unresolved questions that impede the implementation of bio-inspired concepts in new smart materials, and propose promising paths towards answering them, including early proof-of-concept support.


Friday, February 17, 2017

2:45 PM – Allison Lab Rm. 200 – Refreshments - 3:00 PM – Parker Hall Rm. 236 – Colloquium

Last updated: 02/13/2017