Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Julie C Liu

Committee Member 1

Jonathan J Wilker

Committee Member 2

You-Yeon Won

Committee Member 3

Chongli Yuan


When we engineer new materials, nature provides us with a wealth of inspiration, often in the form of proteins. The blue mussel Mytilus edulis and sandcastle worm Phragmatopoma californica produce adhesive proteins that help them to adhere in wet, turbulent environments. The frog Notaden bennetti secretes a sticky, proteinaceous emulsion that helps it defend against predators; the velvet worm bombards a similar protein onto its prey to prevent its escape. Mammals and insects produce remarkably elastic proteins to support highly repetitive motions. This work describes the design, production, and characterization of several biomimetic materials inspired by natural adhesive proteins.