Green and Living Composites

Drawing inspiration from the natural world has led to the development of engineered living materials, where living organisms are incorporated into material systems to generate structurally complex materials in situ, which would be otherwise extremely difficult to achieve by physical and chemical means. My research will aim at developing such materials, investigating their stimuli responsivity, longevity, biocompatibility, and self-healing properties, and finally, evaluating their use in a myriad of applications. I would like to develop green and living composites that involve the utilization of microorganisms, e.g. cellulose producing bacteria, as the self-strengthening and self- healing agent in enclosed three-dimensional bio-polymeric systems. Embedding microorganisms directly into the polymer matrix will ensure the three-dimensional in situ production of living nanocomposite with enhanced structural performances while reducing potential environmental impact. In contrast to the traditional methods of nanocomposite development, I want to advance this field, hatched at the interface of biology and materials science, by growing complex structures with enhanced structural and functional performances leveraging the power of living systems.  The overarching goal of the proposed research approaches will be realized through quantitative measurements and optimization of the interplay of hierarchical components of the hybrid systems that control macroscopic properties and functionality. In a broader sense, through my research efforts, I seek toward achieving genuine sustainability in the design of materials, for the simultaneous benefit of the environment, economy, and society.

Selected Publications

Aligned Bacterial Cellulose Arrays for Composite Material

Rahman, M. M. ; Netravali, A. N. 

ACS Macro Letters 2016

Bio-derived “Green” Composite from Soy Protein and Eggshell Nanopowder

Rahman, M. M.; Netravali, A. N.; Tiimob, B. J.; Rangari, V. K.  

ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering 2014

Advanced green composites from liquid crystalline cellulose fibers and waxy maize starch-based resins. 

Rahman, M. M.; Netravali, A. N.  

Composites Science and Technology 2018