Green Matter: Creepy crawlers inspire new biomaterial

12/22/2011

It's biocompatible, biodegradable, and micromoldable. It is, say its inventors, twice as strong as nylon or polylactic acid (PLA), while exhibiting the strength of an aluminum alloy at half its weight. In short, Shrilk is a new bio-inspired, sci-fi sounding insectoid material promising low cost and high performance that was developed by researchers taking a leaf from nature's own book. (Read our Medical Channel's article on possible implications of Shrilk for that sector).

Natural designs have been tried and tested throughout the eons of time it has taken for these to evolve. Poor designs fall by the wayside; sustainable innovations get passed on to future generations, to be used and improved on. Today, one of the fastest growing fields in science is called "biomimicry", in which researchers look to the natural world to find inspiration for new products, and to learn how to build in ways that are more efficient, lower-cost, and environmentally friendly.

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