The materials of the future come from nature
12 December 2019 | Written by La redazione
The production and development of new materials passes through the study of nature
Nature is always a form of inspiration for technology, after all evolution has had billions of years of testing and prototyping to perfect the animal and plant world. From the adhesive capabilities out of the ordinary of the geckos’ legs to the almost perfect water repellency of lotus flowers, there are countless examples of the incredible degree of specialization and optimization that nature has managed to achieve. It is not surprising therefore that man has always imitated and replicated these characteristics to obtain new forms, such as in bio-inspired robotics, and materials.
Bio-inspired materials. The world of research is constantly working on the development of new materials, to obtain useful features of various types. The rhino horn, for example, is composed of a matrix of keratin fibers arranged in such a way as to redistribute the mechanical stress of the impacts, preventing the horn from breaking with impacts. Studying the behavior of the rhino horn, it was possible to understand how to create resistant and light materials, such as Kevlar, now used in bulletproof vests.
Now imagine you want to create a resistant fiber like steel and at the same time incredibly elastic, capale of supporting huge weights, researchers could spend years trying to synthesize this material, without any guarantee of success, or they could look for materials that already behave like this in nature. And to find them we should not go too far: it is the silk of spiders, an incredible material that in the not too distant future could have a huge amount of applications.
Watch the video and find out which ones: