Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar

Thursday February 4, 2021 11:00 AM

Biomimetic and Living Materials for the Built Environment

Speaker: Wil V. Srubar III, Civil and Architectural Engineering and Materials Science, University of Colorado Boulder
Location: Online Event

Abstract: Recent advances in biological engineering have enabled autonomous, high-fidelity biomanufacturing of useful chemical, mineral, and polymer building blocks that can be leveraged in the design and fabrication of construction material biotechnologies and living architectures at the human scale. This presentation will highlight research that integrates the fields of synthetic biology, microbiology, materials science, and structural engineering to design and fabricate biomimetic and living materials for the built environment. In one study, we take inspiration from antifreeze proteins to design and fabricate biomimetic ice-binding molecules that prevent freeze-thaw damage in concrete without the use of air-entraining admixtures. In another study, we demonstrate for the first time that biologically precipitated calcium carbonate (CaCO3) for biocements can be tailored by modulating the precipitation kinetics of ureolytic microorganisms via genetic engineering. We also show how photosynthetic microorganisms can be leveraged in the design of low-carbon living building materials that display both biological (i.e., living, self-replicating) and structural (i.e., load-bearing) function. Finally, this talk will highlight the challenges that emerge working across length scales and disciplines, as well as the grand opportunity that exists for synthetic biologists and materials scientists to work together to create never-before-imagined material solutions for critical societal problems in energy, water, and the built environment.

Passcode: 152620

Series Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar Series

Contact: Sonya Lincoln at (626) 395-3385