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Synthetic analogues of biomineralized materials

AndrĂ© R. Studart 

ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Str. 10, Zurich 8093, Switzerland


Biomineralized materials like seashells, teeth and bone often comprise of a soft organic matrix and hard reinforcing building blocks assembled into unique hierarchical architectures. The ubiquitous micro- and nanostructures of such natural materials lead to outstanding functional properties and find no counterparts within man-made composites. In this talk, I will present our recent attempts to replicate in artificial materials some of the unique architecture and design principles of biomineralized hybrid materials. First, I will show a new approach to obtain polymer-based composites exhibiting bioinspired deliberate orientation of reinforcing particles using ultra-low magnetic fields. The ability to control the position and orientation of reinforcing particles within a polymer matrix leads to heterogeneous structures with unusual out-of-plane stiffness, wear resistance and shape-memory effects. In the second part of the talk, I will show that an elastomeric polyurethane matrix can be hierarchically reinforced with nano- and microplatelets to form bioinspired hybrid materials with local elastic modulus varying up to five orders of magnitude. Control over the local reinforcement level enables the creation of polymeric substrates that can be stretched several times its initial length, while keeping the local strain on specific surface sites lower than 1%. Alike their biomineralized natural counterparts, the unusual mechanical properties achieved in these synthetic examples illustrate the great potential of nano- and microstructuring in creating bioinspired hybrid materials with rich functional behavior using a limited set of building blocks.


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Presentation: Invited oral at 17th International Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy - ICCGE-17, General Session 3, by André R. Studart
See On-line Journal of 17th International Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy - ICCGE-17

Submitted: 2013-04-26 10:57
Revised:   2013-04-26 10:57