Multi-University Research Initiative (MURI)

MURI Header

This MURI program, sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), is designed to uncover fundamental design rules and develop simple and basic scientific foundations for the predictable design of bio-inspired materials that are lightweight, tough and strong.

 An integrated team of materials scientists, biologists, and engineers will elucidate hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary changes in plant and animal species to understand structures and physical mechanisms that underpin the micro- and nanomechanics of tough, strong structures.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) provides grants to university scientists, contracts to industry and funding for Department of Defense Laboratories.

Funding for this project (FA9550-15-1-0009) is graciously provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under the program management of Dr. Hugh DeLong.


Nature and the Department of Defense

This project will utilize natural systems to bridge multiple fields of biology, materials science and engineering as well as computational modeling in order to create new technological capabilities for structurally relevant systems. This project will enhance and broaden basic knowledge in design principles of composite materials through the detailed study of the natural composite and mimicked structures with varied nano- and microstructural features to highlight key failure mechanisms and reveal common rules for predictable design of tough and strong structures. The use of natural/synthetic interfaces combined with biomimetic processing will enable control of hierarchical structures that will lead to optimized performance and durability

Mantis Shrimp (Stomatopod): Crustaceans that can be found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Mantis Shrimp have club-like appendages they use to attack prey. They have the ability to strike at the speed of a .22 caliber bullet which allows them to easily break through the shell of a crab or mollusk. The club creates an impact force more than 1,000 times its own weight. Researchers have used the club's spiraled, layered design to create carbon fiber-epoxy composites that could be used for a range of applications, from aerospace and vehicle frames to body armor and even football helmets.

Participating Institutions

Brookhaven National Lab (DiMasi); Cambridge (Russell); Clemson (Porter); EIFAT (Gomez); ETH-Zurich (Studart, Yang); University of Freiburg (Speck); Imperial College (Brown); MIT (Buehler); San Diego Zoo (Mace, Miller); Scripps (Taylor, Hastings); Smithsonian (Tyler);  University of Tokyo (Kato); Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (Arakaki);  USD (Iovine); Wright Patterson Air Force Base (Naik, Mollenhauer)