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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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Biomimetic materials

Biomimetic materials

(p.106) Chapter 10 Biomimetic materials
Living machines

Julian Vincent

Oxford University Press

Biological materials present the conventional materials scientist with alternative ways of achieving durability, recyclability, and adaptability. Technical materials are commonly designed to resist the initiation of cracks; biological materials control disaster by initiating failure where it can be more closely controlled and the strain energy can be more easily absorbed, at the same time controlling shape so that stress concentrations are avoided in sensitive areas. Most materials are hydrated and soft, achieving stiffness by dehydration and mineralization. The low energy of the predominant hydrogen bonds allows relatively easy breakdown and recycling of the units of biological materials. Since most biological materials are metabolically accessible (obvious exceptions are keratins and wood) they can be recycled and repaired in situ, adapting the organism to changing circumstances internally and externally. At the molecular level, liquid crystallinity is a driving force.

Keywords:   bone, cuticle, controlled fracture, intrinsic sensor, adaptive structure, biomimetic materials, biological actuation

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