Role of Biosilica in Materials Science: Lessons from Siliceous Biological Systems for Structural Composites

  • George Mayer
Part of the Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology book series (PMSB, volume 47)


The unique mechanical response of spicules of Hexactinellid sponges, notably, Euplectella aspergillum, are reviewed and related to the structure, architecture, and failure modes of those natural rigid composite materials. In particular, exceptional levels of resilience, damping capacity, and the ability to dissipate mechanical energy prior to failure have been observed, all these properties greatly exceeding those of synthetic melt-fabricated glass. How these observations can be related to the design of new structural composites that are based on glass are described.


Dynamic Mechanical Analysis Biogenic Silica Organic Constituent Silica Fiber Sponge Spicule 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Mayer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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