Bioinspiration and Biomimetics: How animals and plants inspire new engineering materials and devices
Humans have looked to nature for inspiration from the time they started to make tools and machines. Famous examples include Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machines inspired by birds, or George de Mestral’s hook and loop fasteners (Velcro) inspired by “sticky” burrs. Materials produced by nature are in many ways superior to their man-made counterparts, and they can teach many lessons to engineers. Today, researchers in biology, zoology, physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering are working to create materials which are inspired by nature (bioinspired and biomimetic materials). This display shows five recent examples of bioinspired structures and materials.
Exhibit designed and assembled by Francois Barthelat (Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Bioinspiration, McGill University) with assistance from Ingrid Birker and Anthony Howell (Redpath Museum), Roberto Martini, Zhen Yin, Anand Barthelat and Shaan Barthelat. Material samples were provided by the Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Bioinspiration by Professor Sylvain Deville (Laboratoire de synthèse et fonctionnalisation des céramiques, CNRS / Saint-Gobain, Cavaillon, France); Professor Michael Porter (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, USA) and Professor André Studart (Complex Materials group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland). Natural history samples from Redpath Museum collections.