BIMat :: Biologically Inspired Materials

The Biologically Inspired Materials Institute (BIMat) was originally established under NASA sponsorship as a University Research, Engineering and Technology Institute (URETI) in August 2002. Its declared mission was to develop new autonomous materials for space technology using bioinspired and biomimetic processes. Building upon this base, the program has now expanded to include research and development of earth-bound advanced materials for energy generation and storage, sensing systems, combustion, and self-healing structures. Projects focus on bioinspired materials built at the nanometer scale, utilizing “bottom-up” nanotechnology as opposed to the more common “top-down” approach. The coupling of biological inspiration with nanoscale design, “bio-nanotechnology”, leads to enhanced performance and materials properties for evermore demanding applications, on earth and in aerospace. Work in the topics of self-assembly, self-repair and self-healing, increased sensitivity and response in sensors and actuators, and advanced composites represent new approaches to the needs of next generation technologies, with benefits to ceramics, polymers, composites, and adhesives.

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