Sarah Miller

2018 Hellman Fellow

sabmil at

Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
UC Davis

Project Title: Bio-inspired geometries to advance sustainable plastics

Project Description: The objectives of this research are to determine how bio-inspired geometries can be used to expand the potential application of bio-based plastics for use in infrastructure systems through improving toughening mechanisms.  Global need for infrastructure materials is rising quickly due to growing populations, and the consumption of plastics for construction is increasing rapidly.  The majority of these plastics come from non-renewable resources.  While bio-based polymers provide an alternative to petrochemical-based plastics, current bio-based plastics do not possess the mechanical toughness necessary for infrastructure applications.  The advanced architectures present in nature, e.g. leaf venation structures, provide significant opportunity to engineer the properties of bio-based plastics.