Bioinspired Construction Materials

Bioinspired construction materials

Construction industry used about 40% of raw material by weight in 2009, and the amount of material usage in construction industry is increasing rapidly [1]. As construction material accounts for a large portion of the entire used material, a little improvement in construction material could give a huge impact.

Many researchers have been conducting research on bioinspired materials as they are sustainable, efficient, and even performs better than many of conventional man-made materials. Some examples of biomaterials and bioinspired construction materials are: biotech concrete incorporating ureolytic bacteria, self-cleaning materials inspired by lotus leaves, tough materials such as spider silk and nacre shells, and adhesives such as mussel byssus and barnacle cement [2].

In-vivo Raman spectroscopy in biomaterial studies

Biomaterials are synthesized and modified within a living body. Researches should be conducted in in-vivo conditions in order to observe the changing chemistry within the body. The significant benefit of Raman spectroscopy is that it could be used on living body with the least damage on the samples as it requires no sample preparation [3].

Barnacle cement

Barnacles can attach to a wide variety of surfaces by secreting proteinaceous cement, which is one of the strongest underwater adhesive on Earth. [4] But the components of barnacle cement and attachment mechanisms are still unknown [5]. The goal of this research is to characterize barnacle cement with the change of composition and properties during the curing process. Understanding barnacle cement could give an insight into developing strong underwater adhesives, which can be used as additives in concrete, surgical adhesives, marine adhesives, and a number of different applications.

(Left) Barnacle Balanus amphitrite (Center) Image of the baseplate (black areas within the baseplate are barnacle cement) (Right) Raman peak clustering of barnacle baseplate (blue: CaCO3, green : organic)

[1] Fridolin Krausmann, Simone Gingrich, Nina Eisenmenger, Karl-Heinz Erb, Helmut Haberl, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century, Ecological Economics, 15 August 2009, 68(10):2696-2705.

[2] F. Pacheco-Torgala and J.A. Labrinchab, Biotechnologies and bioinspired materials for the construction industry: an overview, International Journal of Sustainable Engineering, 2013.

[3] R Krishna, T.J. Unsworth and R. Edge, Raman Spectroscopy and Microscopy, In Reference Module in Materials Science and Materials Engineering, Elsevier, 2016.

[4] D.J Crisp, G Walker, G.A Young, A.B Yule, Adhesion and substrate choice in mussels and barnacles, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 1985;104(1):40-50.

[5] Kamino K, Mini-review: barnacle adhesives and adhesion, Biofouling. 2013;29(6):735-49.