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Advanced Chemistry

Biologically Inspired Materials

Started over 1 year ago by Amber Carr.


Hello Everyone! As I mentioned in my intro, one of my research interests is in engineering materials with novel properties that are inspired by those found in Nature. I am going to update this thread periodically with articles that I find about cool new materials that are currently being developed with various real-world applications. If you are teaching a unit on polymers and/or biological molecules and would like to incorporate some of these findings into a lesson, please let me know and I would be glad to work on that with you!

This first article is about engineering spider silk, which is one of the toughest yet lightest materials on the planet. There have been many challenges in scaling up production of this material, but some products made of spider silk will be coming on the market soon. I am absolutely fascinated by this work!

Delivering on spider silk’s promise _ February 20, 2017 Issue - Vol.pdf

10 Comments

  • Amber Carr

    Posted over 1 year ago

    I'm glad that these articles were useful and interesting! I think that polymers would be so much more interesting to teach to students if they are given more of a context with real materials with cool properties, especially these biomimetics. I think that this field really showcases the creativity that is important to doing good scientific work and that is usually completely neglected by textbooks!

  • Jodi Fertoli

    Posted over 1 year ago

    We have a google classroom for my classes and science olympiad - totally just shared these with the kids. Thanks!!!

  • Jodi Fertoli

    Posted over 1 year ago

    PS - I am totally addicted to these articles. Such a cool branch of chemistry!!!

  • Jodi Fertoli

    Posted over 1 year ago

    I have been neglecting this group and I am sorry, my life got super crazy. We just did organic and polymers. But we are reviewing for the state test so I will totally share these articles with the students. Thanks. I read the one on spider silk, SO COOL!

  • Brandy Hildebrand

    Posted over 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing these articles. I will try and use them while teaching!

  • Amber Carr

    Posted over 1 year ago

    And here's another one about how the claw of the mantis shrimp (made of one of the strongest materials found in nature) has inspired the design of new materials.

  • Amber Carr

    Posted over 1 year ago

    Yay! These novel materials are such a great way to get students excited about real-world chemistry. Let me know how it goes!

    I'm just going to keep dumping articles here as I find them so that you have a bunch to choose from. Here's one about Reebok making biodegradable sneakers out of corn.

  • Lacy Buck

    Posted over 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing these articles, even if a polymer unit is not put together this semester for me, I think these articles would be great bell work for the students to be exposed to.  I'm hoping to get to it next school year!  We only have a week and a half of instruction left prior to finals, where did the year go?  They can read the articles and we could have a little discussion.  I think this could be powerful for the students to see!

  • Amber Carr

    Posted over 1 year ago

    Article on barnacle adhesive attached.

  • Amber Carr

    Posted over 1 year ago

    Article on bone-inspired steel attached.