JOM

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 449–468 | Cite as

The Structure, Functions, and Mechanical Properties of Keratin

  • J. McKittrick
  • P.-Y. Chen
  • S. G. Bodde
  • W. Yang
  • E. E. Novitskaya
  • M. A. Meyers
Article

Abstract

Keratin is one of the most important structural proteins in nature and is widely found in the integument in vertebrates. It is classified into two types: α-helices and β-pleated sheets. Keratinized materials can be considered as fiber-reinforced composites consisting of crystalline intermediate filaments embedded in an amorphous protein matrix. They have a wide variety of morphologies and properties depending on different functions. Here, we review selected keratin-based materials, such as skin, hair, wool, quill, horn, hoof, feather, and beak, focusing on the structure–mechanical property-function relationships and finally give some insights on bioinspired composite design based on keratinized materials.

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Copyright information

© TMS 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. McKittrick
    • 1
    • 2
  • P.-Y. Chen
    • 3
  • S. G. Bodde
    • 2
  • W. Yang
    • 2
  • E. E. Novitskaya
    • 2
  • M. A. Meyers
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUC San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Materials Science and Engineering ProgramUC San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan, ROC

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