Biological and Bioinspired Materials
Haocheng mainly focused on investigating the structure and mechanical behavior of fish scales using different art-of-the-state ex-situ and in-situ characterization methods. Recently he started working on 3D visualization of some interesting biological structures and trying to replicate them with 3D printing. He is also studying the hygroscopic movement of pine cones.
Andrei studies the mechanical behavior of pig skin, from its stretchability to its remarkable tear resistance, in order to understand how skin maintains its integrity throughout life and mitigates damage. Standard mechanical testing is coupled with Digital Image Correlation and ex situ transmission electron microscopy, in an attempt to explain how the microscale structural rearrangement processes affect the macroscopic response. He uses numerical modeling tools to simulate the straightening process of collagen, the principal constituent of the dermis. This work aims to identify the mechanisms involved and their constitutive relationships to design better skin-like materials.
Seth studies the mechanical properties of Pelican skin and beaks. Renowned for wielding one of the largest bills of any bird alive, the Brown Pelican has captivated researchers with the bending resistance it maintains during feeding; since its bill behaves like an optimized ‘cantilever’ beam, there is great promise for structural inspiration. With the focus on the mandible’s ability to endure hydrodynamic loading heightened by the species’ plunge-diving dynamics, the gular sac tissue of the extensible pouch, has only received minor characterization through biaxial bubble inflation. Through mechanical testing, we further investigate these material properties, examining the possible impact of such parameters: hydration, proximity to mandibles (dorsoventral variation), proximity to the neck (anteroposterior variation), and vascular muscle regions. TEM of tensile fracture surfaces grants a glimpse of the microstructure, allowing us to understand the complex underlying behaviors of the collagen fibers present.
Audrey studies structures found in biological materials in order to determine their purpose, mechanical and optical properties, underlying mechanisms, and to understand how these motifs compare between species. Further, Audrey uses inspiration from these biological structures to inform bio-inspired designs to create functional materials with enhanced properties.