Engineering Tough Materials: Biomimetic Eggshell
CAMBRIDGE UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM) DEPT OF ENGINEERING
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This preliminary report has two parts. First the literature on biomimetic calcite synthesis is reviewed with an aim of establishing gold-standard techniques for making biomimetic eggshell in large quantities. The literature is found to be surprisingly uniform in that most controlled studies of calcite biomineralization have utilized a vapor diffusion technique where calcium is in solution and carbon and oxygen atoms or ions are introduced as a gaseous phase. Although well controlled this process is slow and produces small quantities of material. As such the evidence supports our continuing with solution-based calcite synthesis with a mind towards scale-up of material synthesis for eggshell-like material in large quantities. Second the results of a series of preliminary experiments on this project are presented comparing calcitic materials we produce with natural eggshell. Spectroscopy is utilized for examining the mineralization of calcite and the presence of amorphous calcium carbonate in the calcite matrix. Thermal analysis is used to establish the presence of organic materials within calcium carbonate. Next steps on this project will add a focus on how little is known about the quantitative thermodynamics of calcite formation in the presence of organic molecules such as eggshell proteins in order to facilitate larger-scale production of eggshell-like organic-inorganic composite materials.
- Organic Chemistry
- Laminates and Composite Materials