REVIEW ARTICLES: Part 6: Bioengineering

Biomimetics: Advancing Man-Made Materials Through Guidance From Nature - An Update

[+] Author and Article Information
A. V. Srinivasan

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA 01609-2280

G. K. Haritos

Graduate School of Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base OH 45433-7765

F. L. Hedberg, W. F. Jones

Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington DC 20332-6448

Appl. Mech. Rev 49(10S), S194-S200 (Oct 01, 1996) doi:10.1115/1.3101972 History: Online April 20, 2009


An update is provided on progress resulting from research programs supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) in biomimetics. The goal of these programs remains constant: to obtain significant improvements in aerospace materials and systems through the understanding and description of the evolutionarily-optimized structure and function of biological systems. The programs fall into three general categories: Biomimetic Materials Design, Biomimetic Processing, and Biomimetic Precision Sensing. Biomimetic material design efforts have focused on new concepts for the design of advanced composites with optimized mechanical properties to weight ratios, by studying the constituent properties, percentage, distribution, morphology, and contribution in biological materials. Types of biological materials under AFOSR-funded study include compact bone, tendon, and mollusk shells. Biomimetic processing programs have addressed biopolymer-mediated growth mechanisms of inorganic crystals with potential for highly selective control of electro-optical and electromagnetic properties, and also explored porous proteins as templates for nanolithography. Biomimetic precision sensing programs have addressed receptor composition and transduction mechanisms for auditory sensing in cochlea, and are most recently investigating receptor composition and transduction mechanisms for infrared sensing in snakes. Future considerations for research programs include better understanding of mechanisms involved in growth of biological materials in order to understand, describe, and more effectively mimic the complexities of their composition.

Copyright © 1996 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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