teaching
Evolutionary Biomaterials Group

 

An extensive microscopical study has shown a strong inverse scaling effect in biological attachment devices: finer subcontacts increase adhesion. Additionally, the contact shape is extremely important for adhesion enhancement (figure: artificial polymeric probe with enhanced adhesive properties)

Multidisciplinary studies of biological friction and antifriction mechanisms help in understanding the biomechanics of surfaces. In addition, the results of such studies will also be useful for micro mechanics and the material science of composite materials. (figure: SEM picture of polymeric nanofibers)

Plant hooks have been previously used as prototypes for "hook-and-loop fasteners". However, there are many biological micro-fastening systems which have not been previously studied experimentally. Detailed information about these devices may provide new ideas for novel microfastening systems (figure: SEM picture of the velcro fastener)

Friction, adhesion and mechanical properties of a surface make up its haptic property. Our studies may contribute to the engineering and design of haptic surfaces that create a particular sense of touch (figure: SEM picture of the polymeric "soft-touch" surface)

 

 


Material science is strongly focused on materials with particular surface properties (adhesive, anti-adhesive, frictional, anti-frictional, water repellent, self cleaning, "soft-touch" effects). Many materials with such properties appeared in the course of biological evolution. Therefore, broad comparative studies on different biological systems may aid in finding some interesting structure-function relationships.

A further possible area of application is in pest control. Insect adhesive pads are often adapted to attach to a surface of the particular plant. Changes of the structure of the host plant surface could prevent attachment of particular pest insects to the plant surface.