Bioinspired Materials: Learning from Honeybees

Interdisciplinary Areas: Others

Project Description

Biological systems in nature have evolved over millions of years to adapt to environmental and ecological challenges. Nature seeks to leverage available materials with an emphasis on hierarchy and local control of microstructure to meet functional needs. As such, biological systems incorporate intelligent, unique, and complex structural design concepts. Recently, bioinspiration has been extended to some limited manufacturing examples. As an alternative to traditional manufacturing techniques, additive manufacturing (AM) has accelerated the growth of complex parts. We are experiencing an unprecedented growth in computational design and manufacturing capabilities. Bioinspired design approaches have historically been confined to specific solutions with narrow applicability. Where general principles have been identified across several organisms, these have not been translated into engineered materials. Furthermore, while qualitative design principles can be identified in the biological system and demonstrated through AM, the number of possible microstructural design variables and permutations that can and need to be examined is extremely large. Simply carrying out a myriad of experiments to cover all of the possible microstructural design parameters would require a huge number of experiments which is clearly not efficient nor realistic. The project involves a transformational approach for materials discovery that is based on bioinspiration, theory, experimental validation, and eventual deployment. 

Start Date

January 1, 2022. Flexible depending on the candidate.

Postdoctoral Qualifications

Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering or Mechanical Engineering.


Nikhilesh Chawla, Ransburg Professor of Materials Engineering, School of Materials Engineering,,

Brock Harpur, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology,,


D. Goss, Y. Mistry, S. Niverty, C. Noe, B. Santhanam, C. Ozturk, C. Penick, C. Lee, N. Chawla, A. Grishin, V. Shyam, and D. Bhate, “Bio-Inspired Honeycomb Core Design: An Experimental Study of the Role of Corner Radius, Coping, and Interface,” Biomimetics, (2020) 5 1-24.

S. Morankar, A.S.S. Singaravelu, S. Niverty, Y. Mistry, C.A. Penick, D. Bhate, and N. Chawla, “Tensile and Fracture behavior of Silica Fibers from the Venus Flower Basket (Euplectella aspergillum),” Int. J. Solids Struc., (Special issue Celebrating Jim Barber’s 80th Birthday) (2021) submitted.