About this course
The use and availability of materials has shaped our society for centuries. From the bronze and iron ages of the past, to the silicon age of the present, material science has driven technological and societal changes. Materials of the present are increasingly formed from polymers as building block. This course will present an inspiring overview of the state-of-the-art in designer materials, ranging from the latest advances in DNA nanotechnology, biotechnology, and polymer engineering; for example: the use of biobased building blocks to new materials such as ultra-tough polymers and adhesives, and development of novel medical materials. For all of these topics, we seek inspiration from Nature, to learn how Nature designs its functional (nano)materials and extract design principles to work towards synthetic materials with new and unique properties, designed from the bottom up. To do so, this interdisciplinary course, will encompass aspects from chemistry, material physics, engineering, biotechnology and biology. In addition to the lectures by teachers working at the frontiers of this field, you will work in groups on designing your own material of the future. A special focus will be put on communicating your design to the world through new (social) media approaches.
After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand design strategies developed by Nature to build functional cellular structures;
- describe and apply basic material design concepts used in biological science and material science, such as structure-function relationships;
- describe and apply molecular design strategies, including genetic engineering, controlled polymerisations, biomass conversion and colloid synthesis approaches;
- identify how material science can contribute to the societal challenges of today, including sustainability issues, biobased economy and green energy;
- evaluate the challenges of the future at the interface between biological science and material science using the knowledge of bottom-up design strategies;
- create a design for new materials from the molecular level up using the knowledge of design concepts and societal challenges;
- communicate your scientific work to the world using new media;
- being receptive to influences and insights provided by group members.