School of Materials Seminar entitled Inspired by nature: Unravelling Silk’s Secrets
|Dates:||10 May 2017|
|Times:||12:00 - 13:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Department of Materials|
Silks are biological polymers that have evolved to be processed by controlled protein denaturation, a process depending on the researchers’ background,
with similarities to amyloidogenesis for some and flow induced crystallisation for others. However whilst many attempts have been made to replicate silk,
none have succeeded. This may be in part because it is not structure but processing that defines a silk, for unlike all other biological materials they are spun,
not grown. I will provide an overview of Natures 400 million years of R&D into silk and our recent studies into the importance of flow processing.
I will conclude there is more to silk than just a fibre and that Nature may in fact hold unique solutions to the current challenges facing the synthetic
polymer industry, i.e. routes towards low embodied energy, sustainable wet processing of polymers and the development of biomedical materials
and devices for regenerative healthcare.
Chris is based in The University of Sheffield in the Materials Science and Engineering Department where he leads the Natural Materials Group.
He currently holds an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship and was previously at Oxford University where he obtained his degrees and doctorate.
Dr Holland is also an Associate Editor for the newly established journal ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering and is the chair of the IoM3
Natural Materials Association.
His research uses tools developed for the physical sciences to better understand Nature’s materials, from latex to collagen, but with a focus on silk.
By studying how silk is spun he has been able to gain unique insights into silks’ biodiversity, structure and evolution.
Additionally, this work has made important links between natural and industrial fibre processing which has led to several patents and a fundamentally
new way of designing, testing and fabricating bio-inspired materials, evidenced by being Co-ordinator of a recently award H2020 FET Open project.
Role: EPSRC Early Research Fellow
Organisation: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The University of Sheffield
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