Additive manufacturing of biologically-inspired materials
Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies offer an attractive pathway towards the fabrication of functional materials featuring complex heterogeneous architectures inspired by biological systems. In this paper, recent research on the use of AM approaches to program the local chemical composition, structure and properties of biologically-inspired materials is reviewed. A variety of structural motifs found in biological composites have been successfully emulated in synthetic systems using inkjet-based, direct-writing, stereolithography and slip casting technologies. The replication in synthetic systems of design principles underlying such structural motifs has enabled the fabrication of lightweight cellular materials, strong and tough composites, soft robots and autonomously shaping structures with unprecedented properties and functionalities. Pushing the current limits of AM technologies in future research should bring us closer to the manufacturing capabilities of living organisms, opening the way for the digital fabrication of advanced materials with superior performance, lower environmental impact and new functionalities.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bioinspired Surfaces and Materials