Biological materials are highly efficient, sustainable, and multi-functional, and they could fulfill both mechanical and functional needs. One key to achieve this lies in their hierarchical structure.
The hierarchical structure provides inspiration for developing novel materials that are not dependent on complicated chemicals and meanwhile are durable, reliable, and nontoxic. It also leads to exceptional mechanical performance per unit mass, which means bioinspired materials are usually lightweight with high strength and toughness.
Dr. WANG Bin and her colleagues from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences formulated key strategies for bioinspired materials and addressed bioinspired materials from a vast number of fascinating biological materials in terms of functional and structural categories.
Their study, published in Bioactive Materials on June 21, provided a compact overview of the grand panorama of this field.
So far, the development of bioinspired materials includes uncovering the design principles from nature through theorizing fundamental mechanisms, correlating this fundamental understanding to engineering needs/problems, and fabricating hierarchically structured materials through developing fabrication techniques accordingly.
Through paradigmatic biological and bioinspired materials, Dr. WANG and her colleagues detailed the representative, impactful types of functions like superwettability, bioactivity, and stimuli-responsiveness, as well as mechanical properties like light weight and toughness.
Besides the fundamentals for each specific property, they also illustrated the structure-property mechanisms from biological materials to bioinspired materials, and the corresponding development routes targeting exceptional functions/properties for relevant applications.
"Despite current challenges, biological and bioinspired materials have a bright prospect in promoting innovations and breakthroughs in the modern materials industry," said Dr. WANG.
The development of bioinspired materials from biological prototypes (Image by WANG Bin)
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