Professor Nicholas Kotov, Professor of Engineering
The structure of cartilage and tooth enamel is unusually consistent across all species from all geological eras. Among its interesting properties is its ability to dampen vibration and shock while providing structural strength and transport nutrients.
Composites replicating enamel and cartilage both structurally and functionally have been made at the University of Michigan by using nanostructured materials taking advantage of ability of nanocomposites to self-assemble. Importantly, their ability to reduce the vibrations is similar or higher than those of biological analogs. The biomimetic cartilage show high porosity making it suitable to transport ions.
In today’s world of mobile devices, used in a variety of harsh environments (such as a teenager’s pocket), these biomimetic materials could be used as a protective layer to protect the sensitive electronic components from shock and vibration. Furthermore, they can also be used in other essential electronic components that need a combination of fast ionic transport, structural robustness, and vibration resilience, such as batteries. In addition, such biomimetic materials will be light, stiff, thin and inexpensive to make using only readily available materials.
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