Imitating nature to produce nacre-inspired composite materials with bacteria

Dominik Schmieden

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

295 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, a method for the bacterial production of a nacre-mimicking composite material was developed. Nacre (mother-of-pearl) is an organic-inorganic composite found in the inner lining of many mollusk shells and in pearls. It has a brick-and-mortar structure consisting of 95% aragonite (calcium carbonate) platelets and 5% organic matrix. Serving as a protective structure against e.g. predators, nacre has developed into an extremely strong and tough material, despite largely consisting of ceramic calciumcarbonate. Numerous mechanisms have been proposed to explain the outstanding mechanical properties of nacre, such as crack deflection and local strain hardening. Many groups are pursuing the aim of developing new materials which mimic nacre’s structure and mechanical properties. Nacre is produced by mollusks at ambient temperatures with easily obtainable materials and with low expenditure of energy. In contrast, human methods usually require extensive energy input, high temperatures and/or pressures, and environmentally damaging chemicals.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Meyer, Anne, Supervisor
  • Aubin-Tam, M.E., Advisor
Award date20 Mar 2019
Print ISBNs978-90-8593-385-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Biomimetics
  • nacre
  • biomaterials
  • synthetic biology
  • 3D printing
  • bioprinting


Dive into the research topics of 'Imitating nature to produce nacre-inspired composite materials with bacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this