Forisome based biomimetic smart materials

Amy Q. Shen, B. D. Hamlington, Michael Knoblauch, Winfried S. Peters, William F. Pickard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


With the discovery in plants of the proteinaceous forisome crystalloid (Knoblauch, et al. 2003), a novel, non-living, ATP-independent biological material became available to the designer of smart materials for advanced actuating and sensing. The in vitro studies of Knoblauch, et al. show that forisomes (2-4 micron wide and 10-40 micron long) can be repeatedly stimulated to contract and expand anisotropically by shifting either the ambient pH or the ambient calcium ion concentration. Because of their unique abilities to develop and reverse strains greater than 20% in time periods less than one second, forisomes have the potential to outperform current smart materials as advanced, biomimetic, multi-functional, smart sensors or actuators. Probing forisome material properties is an immediate need to lay the foundation for synthesizing forisomebased smart materials for health monitoring of structural integrity in civil infrastructure and for aerospace hardware. Microfluidics is a growing, vibrant technology with increasingly diverse applications. Here, we use microfluidics to study the surface interaction between forisome and substrate and the conformational dynamics of forisomes within a confined geometry to lay the foundation for forisome-based smart materials synthesis in controlled and repeatable environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-235
Number of pages11
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Biomimetic materials
  • Microfluidics
  • Smart actuators
  • Smart materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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