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Plants Exhibit a Wide Range of Mechanical Properties, Engineers Find

Plants Exhibit a Wide Range of Mechanical Properties, Engineers Find | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"From an engineer’s perspective, plants such as palm trees, bamboo, maples and even potatoes are examples of precise engineering on a microscopic scale. Like wooden beams reinforcing a house, cell walls make up the structural supports of all plants. Depending on how the cell walls are arranged, and what they are made of, a plant can be as flimsy as a reed, or as sturdy as an oak. An MIT researcher has compiled data on the microstructures of a number of different plants, from apples and potatoes to willow and spruce trees, and has found that plants exhibit an enormous range of mechanical properties, depending on the arrangement of a cell wall’s four main building blocks: cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and pectin. Lorna Gibson, the Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, says understanding plants’ microscopic organization may help engineers design new, bio-inspired materials."

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Elke B. Bachler's curator insight, April 4, 6:14 AM

There is still so very much useful to discover in nature!

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Mimosa Biomimicry Inspires New Adaptive Structures

Mimosa Biomimicry Inspires New Adaptive Structures | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Researchers at University of Michigan (U-M) and Penn State University are studying how plants like the Mimosa can change shape, and they’re working to replicate the mechanisms with artificial cells. Currently, their artificial cells are palm-size and larger, but they’re trying to minify them by using microstructures and nanofibers to construct them. They’re also exploring how to replicate the mechanisms by which plants heal themselves."

 

Photo details: Mimosa Putrajaya, Gryffindor, GFDL 2006,  Wikimedia Commons.

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Newlight Technologies Produces AirCarbon Plastic From CO2

Newlight Technologies Produces AirCarbon Plastic From CO2 | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"In recent years, the desire to emulate botanical processes for environmental benefit has inspired "design similes," such as cities that behave like forests, buildings that act as trees, or products that operate like plants. Although such comparisons serve to promote ideal goals, they are difficult to put into actual practice. Irvine, Calif.-based Newlight Technologies has found a way to achieve the latter objective, with a plastic that is made by mimicking the material production method of plants. AirCarbon is a type of polyester that is made from air rather than oil. Like plants, Newlight's "GHG-to-Plastic" process captures CO2 from the air, and isolates the carbon and oxygen elements. The company then polymerizes C and O and reassembles them into a long-chain thermopolymer. The resulting plastic is biodegradable, recyclable in multiple stages, and has programmable compostability."

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How Does Nature Make Materials?

How Does Nature Make Materials? | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

How does nature make materials?Let Biomimicry 3.8 Institute's Director of Youth Education Sam Stier give you some insight into nature's premier polymer producer. Check AskNature Nugget Ep. 8: Plants and Plastic.

 

Photo details: Mountain Fireweed, Bow Pass Summit, Banff National Park, Alberta. Copyright © 2009, Alan D. Wilson. http://www.naturespicsonline.com

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Super-Slippery Material for Bottles and Pipes Mimicked After Carnivorous Plant Leaves

Super-Slippery Material for Bottles and Pipes Mimicked After Carnivorous Plant Leaves | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
The leaves of carnivorous plants could hold the key to repelling ice from pipes and keeping them cleared.
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Plant Roots Mimicked to Develop Soil-Monitoring Robots

Plant Roots Mimicked to Develop Soil-Monitoring Robots | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"...a number of technologies have emerged from the study and mimicry of plants and the way in which their roots function. One such example is a project called the Innovative Robotic Artefacts Inspired by Plant Roots for Soil Monitoring - or PLANTOID for short - a European Commission-funded research project into the behaviour of roots with the aim of developing advanced soil monitoring technologies."

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Plant-mimicking Robots Could Help Explore Our World

Plant-mimicking Robots Could Help Explore Our World | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"In the world of biomimicry, plants haven't necessarily been overlooked, but compared to animals -- especially in robotics -- there have been far fewer projects inspired by them. That's why it's neat to read about a project that revolves completely around finding ways to build robots that mimic plants, in particular their roots."

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Nature-Inspired Nano-material Builds a Better Electrode, Points to Greener Future

Nature-Inspired Nano-material Builds a Better Electrode, Points to Greener Future | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

From the apple falling on Newton\'s head to batteries made out of root extract, scientists have long turned to nature for ideas. Following that tradition, the brainiacs over at the University of Reading have developed a new nano-material electrode coating based on the cellular structure of plants.

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Plant with Eggbeater-Shaped Hairs Inspires New Waterproof Coating

Plant with Eggbeater-Shaped Hairs Inspires New Waterproof Coating | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
The unusually shaped hairs on the leaves of this floating weed is the foundation for a high-tech waterproof material.
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