CNIE takes part in 'It's All Academic Festival', 10 June 2017

07 April 2017

It's All Academic Festival

Saturday 10 June 2017

Dr Ayomi Perera from the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering will present at It’s All Academic Festival, on Saturday 10th June 2017:

Nacre-inspired composite gels for biomedical applications

Nacre (or mother of pearl) is found in the inner shell layer of certain molluscs & has a complex hierarchical structure made of hard (CaCO3) and soft (proteins) components. Layers of hexagonal plates of aragonite, which is a crystalline form of CaCO3 are held together by a matrix of proteins. Incorporation of the soft protein in between the hard aragonite plates imparts superior mechanical strength to nacre, compared to pure aragonite. This ingenious combination of materials result in remarkable properties, such as, resistance against fracture, high pressure absorption, prevention of crack propagation, and being incredibly light weight.

Inspired by these features, we have developed robust, flexible materials with self-adaptive and self-healing properties. Polymer hydrogels were incorporated with functional nanoparticles to produce composites with unique physicochemical and mechanical properties. 3D printing was utilized as an effective technique to combine the nanoparticles with polymer gels, in hexagonal well-matrix structures, in order to combine “hard” and “soft” components. The materials have customizable physical and mechanical properties and 3D printing allows a wide range of design dimensions for making nanoparticle-gel composites. These novel materials displayed enhanced capabilities in mechanical strength, self-adaptation to environmental stresses and in self-healing ability and together with their biocompatibility, allow for a myriad of highly useful biomedical applications.

Join us for the first ever It’s All Academic Festival. The Festival will be a celebration of all that is great at UCL, with the campus bursting with free indoor and outdoor events run by staff and students. Whether you are coming for an hour or two, or staying all day, there will be something for everyone.

Please follow the links below to find out more about our exciting programme of events and activities and how to register. All events are free but some with smaller capacities require pre-booking:

For further information about the call, please contact us at

Further information about the Centre can be found here:

CNIE takes part in 'It's All Academic Festival', 10 June 2017