Biomimetics: Inspiration from the Structural Organization of Biological Systems
The premise of the field of biomimetics lies in the wonder of the biological world, that it has numerous examples for both imitation and inspiration. On the other hand, specific design elements of the biological world are often not practical for direct implementation. This chapter reviews materials that are relevant and have lead to recent advances in materials and engineering of the man-made world. Many materials in nature are a result of giga- to mega-years of evolution and are not thermodynamically stable designs often achieved in engineered systems. Yet biological structures in those cases remain inspirational for exceptional properties. This chapter reviews key scientific advances in various fields of science and engineering using biomimetic pathways to design and fabricate engineered materials and also to provide a fundamental understanding of the biological world. Many hierarchical structural designs are described and their engineered look-alikes developed in the literature will be reviewed. Bone, silk, teeth and seashells are some of the inspirational material systems that are covered in this article.