With support from NSF, engineers Pablo Zavattieri and Santiago Pujol of Purdue University and Nilesh Mankame of General Motors Global R&D are collaborating to create architected materials with microstructures that can out-perform the natural systems that inspired them. The team is focused, in part, on improving the energy absorption of materials to increase safety and comfort. Think earthquake-resilient buildings, low turbulence air travel, safer sports helmets, and scratch and dent resistant cars. And some of their inspiration is coming from solutions evolution has engineered into natural materials, from honeycombs to woodpecker beaks. Many students also contribute to this research, including William G. Pollalis, Prateek P. Shah, Charles S. Kerby, Yunlan Zhang, and Kristiaan Hector, in addition to Reza Moini, who is featured in the video. The engineering research for this episode is supported by these NSF grants: #1538898 GOALI: Phase Transforming Cellular Materials, #1254864 CAREER: Multiscale Investigation and Mimicry of Naturally Occurring Ultra High-Performance Composite Materials, and #1562927 Collaborative Research: 3D Printing of Civil Infrastructure Materials with Controlled Microstructural Architectures, with co-principal investigators Jan Olek and Jeffrey Youngblood. Some of the research has been conducted in the Robert L. and Terry L. Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research at Purdue University.

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