PHYC40940 Bio-inspired technologies

Academic Year 2022/2023

Biomimicry is a relatively new science that studies nature, its systems, processes and elements and then imitates them to solve human problems. Here, we focus on chemical, mechanical and topographical biomimicry at the nanoscale. Examples of the systems that we will examine include: natural adhesives; antifouling surfaces; aqueous lubricant, brushes - artificial joint lubrication; mechanically adaptive materials. Other systems of interest include those that exhibit anhydrobiosis (desiccation tolerance) and those that thrive in physically or geochemically extreme conditions (extremophiles), superhydrophobic surfaces (lotus leaves), active surfaces and filaments providing liquid propulsion at low Reynolds numbers, self-organising swarms and flocks, ant-colony optimisation.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

What can we learn from nature? Has evolution found solutions for many of the design problems we might like to solve? How does exploration at the nanoscale help us answer these questions? How can the nature-like solutions upscaled or downscaled to be implemented in engineering applications?

We will discuss the underlying principles and caveats of biomimicry at the nanoscale through detailed exploration of specific examples. We will practice order of magnitude and scaling calculations to assess the feasibility and efficiency of specific processes and engineering solutions. At the end of the module you will propose your own system, justifying its suitability for biomimicry and explaining why a knowledge of properties at the nanoscale would be important for your system.

Indicative Module Content:

Current topics in biomimicry and bio-inspired technologies.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Supplementary reading materials and online content
Self-directed homework
Student presentations with peer feedback
Scientific writing
Data analysis
In class tests 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Continuous assessment. Worksheets, Presentation, Report, Activities Varies over the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: Exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on assignments should be self-assessed.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Vladimir Lobaskin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 11:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 4, 7, 8 Tues 11:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 6 Tues 11:00 - 12:50