1-1:50 PM MWF

Peterson 103

Instructor: Marc André Meyers (M&M)

Associate Instructor: Po-Yu Chen (P&C)


1.  Introduction

Materials Science and Engineering has initially merged metals, polymers, ceramics, and composites into a broad and unified treatment. Whereas the 20th century was marked by revolutionary discoveries in physics and chemistry, the 21st century has been prognosticated to be biology. Indeed, medical and biological discoveries are bound to have a profound effect on our future. Consistent with the increasing demands of engineering students to acquire basic working tools in this domain, many engineering curricula are adding appropriate courses or modifying existing courses to address biological aspects. Within MSE, the nascent area of Biological Materials Science encompasses three areas:

·     Biological (or natural) materials: materials that comprise cells, extracellular material, organs, and organisms.

·     Bioinspired materials: this area encompasses the materials and structures inspired by biological systems and/or functions.

·     Biomaterials: synthetic materials used to correct, repair, or supplement natural functions in organisms.


The course will focus on the first two of these three areas in a balanced manner. In appropriate places some concepts of biomaterials will be introduced.  The course is geared for seniors and first year graduate students





2.  Approach


Many courses in biomaterials devote the first half to explain the principles of MSE and are designed for bioengineering and medical students. They fall into two categories:

a.       Biomedical approach, emphasizing biocompatibility, implants.

b.      Mechanics approach, with emphasis on  biomechanics.

The opposite approach will be implemented here: we will present the principles of biology and the structure-properties connections in biological materials. We will use the Materials Science and Engineering approach, which is based on the correlation of structure with structural and functional properties.

      The intended audience for this course are MSE and ME students with a sound MSE background and poor biology background. In selected places, we will introduce innovations in biomaterials rather than the classical, well established alloys, ceramics, and polymers. A unique aspect of this course, not treated heretofore in classrooms, is the bioinspired design of materials and structures. Some of these bioinspired materials are already used in biomedical applications.


3.  Grading, Exams and Homework


Grading will be based on exams, homework, and  reports. The reports will consist of reading assignments of important papers.

The weights will be:

Midterm: 30%

Final: 40%

Homework& reports: 30%


4.  Outline of Course


Part I Basic Biology Principles

Chapter 1 Biological (Natural) Materials

            1.1 Hierarchical Structures

            1.2 Multi-functionality

            1.3 Self Organization and Self Assembly

            1.4 Adaptation

1.5 Evolution and Convergence

1.6 Ashby –Wegst Performance Plots

Chapter 2 Basic Building Blocks

            2.1 Water

            2.2 Nucleotides and Nucleic Acid

            2.3 Amino Acid, Peptides, and Proteins

                       2.2.1 Amino Acids and Peptides

                       2.2.2 Overview of Protein Structure

                       2.2.3 Collagen

                       2.2.4 Keratin

                       2.2.5 Elastin

                       2.2.6 Resilin and Abductin

                       2.2.7 Other Structural Proteins

            2.4 Polysaccharides

                       2.4.1 Chitin and chitosan

                       2.4.2 Cellulose

             2.5 Lipids

                        2.5.1 Storage Lipids

                        2.5.2 Structural Lipids 

              2.6 Formation of Biopolymer

Chapter 3 Cells

            3.1 Structure of Cells

            3.2 Mechanical Properties

            3.3 Motility and Adhesion


Part II Biological Materials

Chapter 3 Biomineralization

3.1 Principles

3.2 Nucleation and Growth

3.3 Morphology

3.4 Important Minerals in Biological Systems

Chapter 4 Silicate and Calcium Carbonate Based Composites

4.1 Diatoms, Sea Sponges, and other Silicate-based Materials

            4.2 Mollusk Shells

                        4.2.1 Classification and structures

                        4.2.2 Nacreous Shells

                        4.2.3 Conch Shells

                        4.2.4 Tridacna Gigas Shells

                        4.2.5 Bivalves

              4.3 Teeth of marine organisms: Chitons, Sea urchins

  4.4 Crustacean exoskeletons

              4.5 Nano-scale Effects

              4.6 Multi-scale Effects

Chapter 5 Calcium Phosphate Based Composites

            5.1 Bone

                        5.1.1 Hierarchical Structure

                        5.1.2 Mechanical Properties

                        5.1.3 Constitutive Models

                        5.1.4 Fracture and Fracture Toughness of Bone

                        5.1.5 Synthetic Bone

            5.2 Teeth and Tusks

                        5.2.1 Structure of Teeth

                        5.2.2 Mechanical Properties

                        5.2.3 Fracture and Fracture Toughness of Teeth

            5.2.4 Tusks

            5.2.5 Dental Materials and Implantation

5.3 Other Mineralized Biological Materials: Antler, Armadillo, Turtle Shell

Chapter 6 Biological Polymers and Polymer Composites

            6.1Tendons and Ligaments

            6.2 Spider and Other Silks

            6.3 Arthropod Exoskeletons (Cuticle)

            6.4 Keratin-based Materials

            6.5 Fish Scales

            6.6 Squid Beak

            6.7 Invertebrate Jaws and Mandibles 

            6.8 Other Natural Fibers

Chapter 7 Biological Elastomers

            7.1 Skin

            7.2 Muscle

            7.3 Blood Vessels

            7.4 Mussel Byssus

Chapter 8 Biological Foams (Porous Solids)

            8.1 Basic Equations

            8.2 Wood

            8.3 Cancellous Bone

            8.4 Beak Interior

            8.5 Feathers

            8.6 Other Natural Cellular Solids

Chapter 9 Functional Biological Materials

            9.1 Adhesion and Attachment

            9.2 Surfaces and Surface Properties

            9.3 Optical Properties

            9.4 Cutting: Sharp Biological Materials  

            9.5 Functional Adaptation

             9.6 Self-healing


Part III Bio-inspired Materials and Biomimetics  

Chapter 10 Bioinspired Materials

            10.1 History                

            10.2 Aerospace and Automobile

            10.3 Architecture and Building Designs

            10.4 Fiber Optics and Micro-lenses

            10.5 Manufacturing

            10.6 Water Collection

            10.7 Energy

            10.8 Attachment Devices and Bio-inspired Adhesives

            10.9 Tough Ceramic Composites

            10.10 Superhydrophobic Materials: The Lotus Leaf Effect

            10.11 Biomedical Applications

Chapter 11 Molecular-based Biomimetics

            11.1 Self-assembly Nano-structures

            11.2 Virus-assisted Synthetic Materials

            11.3 Genetically Engineered Peptides for Inorganics

            11.4 Diatom-derived MEMS Devices

            11.5 Other Molecular-based Biomimetics


Additional Material Interspersed in Course

Analytical, Experimental and Computational Techniques

A.  Structural Characterization and Analysis

             A.1 Introduction

             A.2 Elemental Analysis

             A.3 Optical Microscopy

             A.4 Electron Microscopy

             A.5 Tomography and 3-D Visualization

             A.6 Atomic Force Microscopy

B.  Mechanical Testing

              B.1 Introduction  

              B.2 Bulk Mechanical Testing

              B.3 Micro and Nano-scale Mechanical Testing

  C. Computational Methods

              C.1 Finite Element Analysis

              C.2 Molecular Dynamics

              C.3 WLC Approach

  D. Biomedical Materials

              D.1 Hip and Knee Prostheses

              D.2 Dental Implants

              D.3 Artificial Tendon and Ligament

              D.4 Regenerative/Synthetic Skin        

              D.5 Blood Vessel Prosthesis

              D.6 Biomedical Adhesives and Sealants


5. Principal Sources for Class

  1. Co-authored by instructors
  1. M. Meyers, P.-Y. Chen, A. Y.-M. Lin, Y. Seki, Biological Materials: Structure and mechanical Properties, Progress in Materials Science, 53(2008) 1-206.
  2. M. A. Meyers, P.-Y. Chen, M. I. Lopez, Y. Seki, and A. Y. M. Lin, Biological Materials: A Materials Science Approach, J. Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, in press, 2010.
  3. J. McKittrick, P.-Y. Chen, L. Tombolato, E.E. Novitskaya, M.W. Trim, G.A. Hirata, E.A. Olevsky, M.F. Horstemeyer, M.A. Meyers, Energy absorbent natural materials and bioinspired design strategies: a review, Materials Science & Engineering: C (Materials for Biological Applications), Vol. 30, pp. 331-342, 2010.
  4. P.Y. Chen, A.Y.M .Lin, Y.S. Lin, Y Seki, A.G. Stokes, J. Peyras, E.A. Olevsky, M.A. Meyers, J. McKittrick, Structure and mechanical properties of selected biological materials, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, Vol. 1, pp. 208-226, 2008.


  1. By Other Authors

1.      P. Fratzl, ed. Collagen: Structure and Mechanics, Springer, 2008.

2.      Peter Forbes, The Gecko's Foot: Bio- Inspiration: Engineering New Materials from Nature, 2006.  (recommend purchasing on amazon.co~$20 used)

3.      Michael F. Ashby, Lorna J. Gibson, and Brendan A. Harley, Cellular Materials in Nature and Medicine by, 2010. (~$85 on amazon.com

  1. Additional Textbooks on Biological and Biomaterials

1.      Biomechanics, Biodynamics Y. C,. Fung, Springer. These classic books (four of them) are very complete accounts of the field. They have probably over 1000 references and the mechanics part is strong, since Prof. Fung’s background is in aeroelasticity. He is the ‘Timoshenko’ of biomechanics. However, the books are too detailed and advanced for use as undergraduate/beginning graduate texts. There are no problems at the end of chapters.

2.      Biomaterials Science, B. D. Ratner et al. eds., Elsevier 850 super pages(double column). This is a comprehensive book written by approximately 50 persons and edited by four. This poses a problem for students. Too many cooks spoil the food. The book, 800 tightly written pages, is an excellent reference and is closer to an encyclopedia. Nevertheless, it has been used as a text by default.

3.      Biomaterials, An Introduction (third edition) J. Park, R. S. Lakes, Springer, 550 pages

Main focus is implant materials.  The first eight chapters are traditional MSE with occasional input /figures from biomaterials. Chapters 9-16 cover biological materials and biomaterials.

The book has been successful and is geared at undergraduates. Book has end-of-chapter problems and solved examples inside the chapters.

4.      Biomaterials J. S. Temenoff, A. G. Mikos, Prentice Hall, 474 pages

          Primarily an undergraduate book. First 7 chapters cover basics of MSE. Chapters 8-14 go into the details of interaction of cells and proteins with biomaterials, immune response, infections, etc. Solved examples and end-of-chapter problems. This is primarily an undergraduate text.

5.      Biomaterials, eds. J. Y. Wong, J. D. Bronzino, CRC Press, ~200 pages.

Approximately 20 authors. Focus is on implant materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites). Some new ideas on biodegradable and biologic biomaterials.

6.      Biological Performance of Materials, J. Black, Taylor &Francis (fourth edition), 492 pages. Traditional MSE with bio-implants.