Extreme biomimetics: Preservation of molecular detail in centimeter-scale samples of biological meshes laid down by sponges

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  04 Oct 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 10, eaax2805
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax2805


Fabrication of biomimetic materials and scaffolds is usually a micro- or even nanoscale process; however, most testing and all manufacturing require larger-scale synthesis of nanoscale features. Here, we propose the utilization of naturally prefabricated three-dimensional (3D) spongin scaffolds that preserve molecular detail across centimeter-scale samples. The fine-scale structure of this collagenous resource is stable at temperatures of up to 1200°C and can produce up to 4 × 10–cm–large 3D microfibrous and nanoporous turbostratic graphite. Our findings highlight the fact that this turbostratic graphite is exceptional at preserving the nanostructural features typical for triple-helix collagen. The resulting carbon sponge resembles the shape and unique microarchitecture of the original spongin scaffold. Copper electroplating of the obtained composite leads to a hybrid material with excellent catalytic performance with respect to the reduction of p-nitrophenol in both freshwater and marine environments.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances