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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Blueprints from Biology: Bioinspired Design and Biological Materials Science

Date: Thursday, Oct 20th
Presenter: Prof. Steven Naleway, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah


The interconnected fields of biological materials science and bioinspired design offer the potential to provide ingenious solutions to modern engineering problems by harnessing the hundreds of millions of years of design experience offered by evolution. Biological materials science, where I investigate the armored carapace of the boxfish, the impact resistant skull of the woodpecker and the self-sharpening teeth of the sea urchin, employs the tools and techniques of engineering, chemistry and physics to investigate biological organisms and understand how they thrive in their natural environments. Bioinspired design, where I develop new structural and biomedical materials through an ice driven fabrication process called freeze casting, employs these lessons learned from nature to modern materials and fabrication methods with the goal of developing designs and materials that can bring benefit to society.
This presentation will provide an in-depth look at my work into the design and manufacturing of bioinspired porous scaffolds through the process of freeze casting along with a brief overview of my work into biological materials science. Similar to collagen fibers, which template the deposit of carbonated hydroxyapatite mineral in mammalian bone, freeze casting employs a template of growing ice crystals to create a complex porous microstructure in any ceramic. This allows for the fabrication of complex materials that mimic the hierarchical designs found in nature. The use of chemical, physical, ultrasound and magnetic forces to tailor the structure and properties of these materials will be discussed, with a focus on structural and biomedical applications.

Steven E. Naleway is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, San Diego with a focus on bioinspired design and biological materials science. Prior to this, he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S. in Materials Science from Oregon State University, the latter with a research focus on fatigue and fracture of bulk metallic glasses and biomaterials.