Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/30/2005
Publication Date: 2/15/2006
Citation: Eichler, C., Lomakin, J., Arakane, Y., Kramer, K.J., Kanost, M.R., Gehrke, S.H., Beeman, R.W. 2006. Insect cuticle as a biomimetic material, p. 4309-4313. In: A. Peppas, J.Z. Hilt, editors, Proceedings of American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, October 30-November 4, 2005. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Insect cuticle’s superb mechanical characteristics, as determined by a variety of mechanical tests, are speculated to originate in its dual network structure comprised of chitin and protein enzymatically cross-linked by catechol derivatives. This work examines the mechanical properties of both native insect cuticle and biomimetic hydrogels based on a dual network motif. This research has both basic aspects—understanding the origin of the mechanical properties of insect cuticle in terms of the relationships between its components—and applied aspects in developing a simplified version of this motif to produce a dual network hydrogel with improved strength and durability, two characteristics important in biomedical and other applications of gels. The interactions between proteins, chitin, and catechols were examined via dynamic mechanical testing and ultimate property tests using a Rheometrics RSA III Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer. Native insect cuticle was studied at several different stages throughout its tanning process (also known as sclerotization and believed to be the result of a chemical cross-linking process).