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Center Innovation Fund: GRC CIF

Bio-functionalization of Titanium (Ti) by Amine Groups for Advanced Materials Development

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Bio-functionalization of Titanium (Ti) by Amine Groups for Advanced Materials Development
Develop a multifunctional biomimetic material that exhibits damage tolerant and self‐healing adhesive properties for space and terrestrial applications that is activated by a simple sugar solution. Biomimicry and biomimetic materials are enabling technologies that support  journey  to  Mars  exploration  for  structural  applications  In  this  case,  collagen  molecules are covalently bonded to a hard inert surface like titanium (Ti), this will allow for  adhesion  between  two  Ti  structures,  similar  to  how  ligaments  attach  to  bones.  Self‐assembly of ~100 um long collagen fibrils initiated by the covalently bonded molecules will form  a  microscopic  brush  like  surface  structure.    When  two  such  surfaces  are  brought  together, the brushes will interdigitate. Subsequent exposure to a simple sugar solution (i.e.  glucose  in  water)  causes  covalently  crosslinking  between  the  brushes.  This  new  material system would rely on the robust properties of collagen fibrils to create a bio-inspired adhesive that is more resilient than cyanoacrylates, more amenable to in-situ repair, and can bond rough surfaces without the need for toxic or hazardous chemicals or solutions. In addition, the adhesive can be released using an enzyme that functions in water near  neutral  pH.    Eliminating  complex  permanent  adhesives  will  benefit  robotic  construction allowing parts to be repositioned if necessary in the event of misalignment. Additionally,  in-situ  resource  utilization  (ISRU)  can  be  leveraged  to  provide  the  liquid  water required for the solution, resulting in a significant reduction in launch mass. This would be accomplished by employing a multi-disciplinary process. In this low TRL proof of concept proposal, we initially create Ti surfaces with collagen fibrils  oriented  with  their  axis  of  symmetry  perpendicular  to  the  Ti  surface.  Two  fibril  containing surfaces will be placed into contact and the interface saturated with a sugar solution.  Mechanical  properties  of  the  interface  will  be  evaluated  including  tensile  and  shear strength and stiffness. The joined parts will then be separated and rejoined and mechanical properties re-­‐evaluated. The goal is to demonstrate  the  ability  to  fuse  two  Ti  substrates together via a biomimetic interface (collagen fibrils) and to evaluate robustness of  the  interface.  More »

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