Mimicking Nature – Bioinspired Materials and Systems


  1. Hiltz, J.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN)
Nature produces a range of materials attractive for defence applications. Properties including high strength and light weight, adhesion, high strain, hydrophobicity, specificity and sensitivity to chemical compounds and antigens, and self healing capabilities are common in nature. Bone, shell, and spider silk are examples of strong and light weight materials. A gecko can walk up walls and across ceilings. An antibody is specific to a particular antigen, a hormone to a particular receptor, and an enzyme to a particular substrate. The lotus leaf has an extremely hydrophobic surface. Broken bone and cuts will heal. The challenge for scientists and engineers is to understand the structure of these materials and use this knowledge to prepare novel materials. In many instances attempts to produce materials using the bottom up approach common in nature has proven to be difficult if not impossible. However, even if a bottom up approach can not be realized, natural materials have inspired the development of a number of materials including adhesives and adhesive systems, high strain materials, molecularly imprinted polymers, super hydrophobic surfaces and self healing materials. Nature also produces systems or systems of systems that have properties and/or capabilities that are of interest to Defence scientists and engineers. The range of natural materials discussed above, the way in which these are incorporated into a system, and how systems are organized into systems of systems can a
Report Number
DRDC-ATLANTIC-SL-2007-198 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jul 2007
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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