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Issue 45, 2012
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Enhanced mechanical pathways through nature's building blocks: amino acids

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Abstract

Amino acids are the core building blocks of nature's mechanically robust proteins. Their innate ability to self-assemble into well-ordered secondary structures, such as the α-helix and β-sheet, coupled with unique load-bearing characteristics, has sparked considerable interest in their use in innovative engineering materials. Biomimickry and bioinspired approaches to materials design can be utilized to facilitate the conception of these peptidic-based materials by introducing principles proven by the demanding conditions of nature. In this review, we will explore the design process of tailored mechanics through the examination of research that has employed amino acid sequences inspired by silks, elastin, and resilin to construct hybrid functional polymeric materials as well as polymeric materials exploiting non-canonical or non-native amino acids as building blocks. We foresee the next generation of nature-inspired materials finding widespread use, not only in biomedical and bioengineering applications, but also in roles that require tailored and functional coatings, films and fibers.

Graphical abstract: Enhanced mechanical pathways through nature's building blocks: amino acids

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 May 2012, accepted on 15 Aug 2012 and first published on 29 Aug 2012


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26185E
Soft Matter, 2012,8, 11431-11442

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    Enhanced mechanical pathways through nature's building blocks: amino acids

    J. C. Johnson and L. T. J. Korley, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 11431
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26185E

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