Mechanical Properties and Failure of Biopolymers: Atomistic Reactions to Macroscale Response

  • GangSeob Jung
  • Zhao Qin
  • Markus J. BuehlerEmail author
Part of the Topics in Current Chemistry book series (TOPCURRCHEM, volume 369)


The behavior of chemical bonding under various mechanical loadings is an intriguing mechanochemical property of biological materials, and the property plays a critical role in determining their deformation and failure mechanisms. Because of their astonishing mechanical properties and roles in constituting the basis of a variety of physiologically relevant materials, biological protein materials have been intensively studied. Understanding the relation between chemical bond networks (structures) and their mechanical properties offers great possibilities to enable new materials design in nanotechnology and new medical treatments for human diseases. Here we focus on how the chemical bonds in biological systems affect mechanical properties and how they change during mechanical deformation and failure. Three representative cases of biomaterials related to the human diseases are discussed in case studies, including: amyloids, intermediate filaments, and collagen, each describing mechanochemical features and how they relate to the pathological conditions at multiple scales.


Amyloidosis Biological materials Bone Lamin 



We acknowledge support from DOD-PECASE, NSF, and ARO, and additional funding from NIH-U01.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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