Our Research

A Hybridized Laboratory

The Kisailus Biomimetic and Nanostructured Materials Laboratory investigates biomineralized composites in order to derive not only structure–functional relationships (for development of light–weight and tough materials), but also in interpreting mineralization pathways that dictate resulting ultrastructures. The Kisailus lab focuses on gleaning inspiration from these biological systems, or directly using biological constructs, to develop/utilize solution–based processes to synthesize nanoscale materials for energy based applications. This includes trying to understand the relationships between the solution precursor, solvent, and solution conditions (e.g., pH, temperature, etc.) on the nucleation and growth of these materials and their resulting structures and performance. The ultimate goal is to be able to leverage lessons from nature to develop next generation materials for energy conversion and storage as well as for environmental applications.

Featured News

Clare Scott | June 1st, 2016

"Researchers Developing Super–Strong Materials Thanks to a 3D Printer and the Mantis Shrimp": The rainbow–colored mantis shrimp is gorgeous to look at – to humans, anyway. To its fellow crustaceans, it’s a purple–eyed horror. The mantis shrimp is a brutal killer that dispatches its prey by beating it to death with a fist–like appendage that can hammer out blows at speeds of 10,000g – the velocity of a .22 caliber bullet. It may be a crab’s worst nightmare, but that appendage, called a dactyl club, is currently of great interest to researchers at Purdue University and the University of California, Riverside. Mantis shrimp actually come in two varieties – spearers, which spear soft–bodied creatures as their prey, and smashers, which pulverize their shelled victims with the aforementioned club. The smashers are what interest the scientists, who believe that the dactyl club’s indestructible nature could lead to the development of new impact–resistant... read more

 

Kisailus Biomimetics and Nanostructured Materials Lab

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Nature has evolved the capacity to utilize simple building blocks acquired from the environment to synthesize a wide range of complex structures. This is demonstrated through a multitude of biomineralized organisms that produce remarkably sophisticated three-dimensional organic-inorganic composite materials that in many aspects rival the structural, optical, and mechanical properties afforded by modern materials engineering strategies.

By learning from these organisms (housed in our 500-gallon tropical and cold water system), we aim to produce biomimetic and biologically inspired nanomaterials used in the next generation of advanced materials.

Research in the Kisailus Lab focuses on the ultrastructural investigation of biological minerals and their formation mechanisms in order to design biomimetic composite structures. The ultimate goals of our research are to develop novel "bio-inspired" synthetic processes to create organized nanostructures, which have application in energy storage (e.g., battery) and conversion (e.g., photovoltaic, photocatalytic) applications.

Dr. David Kisailus has a diverse background in chemical engineering, materials science and molecular biology. His current research group includes 2 post-doctoral researchers, 9 graduate students, and 14 undergraduate students and is highly interdisciplinary; Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds including Chemistry, Biology, Neurology, Invertebrate Zoology, Physics, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, and Environmental Engineering. This diversity is helping us to develop bio-inspired routes to nanostructured materials.

 

Biologically Inspired Photocatalytically Active Membranes for Water Treatment

Placeholder image To accommodate the ever-increasing demand for clean drinkable water Advances Oxidation Technologies are being employed to degrade harmful compounds. One such technology uses photooxidative reactions to completely mineralize such compounds to carbon dioxide and water using Titanium dioxide. We are developing Titanium dioxide photocatalytic membranes for water treatment systems based on inspiration from biology.

Structure-property relationships in an impact tolerant bio-composite.


Placeholder image Mantis shrimp utilize a dactyl club to smash open the shells of many impressive oceanic biominerals. We are studying the structural features, such as the helicoidal design seen here in a model and fracture surface, which contribute to the material's ultra high toughness. Using advanced characterization and theory we are gleaning many insights which have lead to applicable improvements in the impact resistance of modern composite materials.

High Performance Abrasion-Resistant Materials: Lessons from Nature


Placeholder image Cryptochiton Stelleri, a common inhabitant of the rocky shores of the temperate Northeastern Pacific(A), graze for algae on hard substrates using a specialized rasping organ called the radula, a conveyor belt-like structure located in the mouth( B). The radular teeth are hard and abrassion resisitant as they rasp away the rock together with algae and make the mushroom-like island (A). The goal of this project is to learn from the... read more