Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Thermal Property Measurements of Bio-materials. Major Professor: Dr. Heng Ban
The goal of this research is to determine the thermal properties of natural and synthetic spider silks at cryogenic temperatures and elevated temperatures. Spider silk is well-known for its exceptional mechanical properties, such as strength, elasticity and flexibility. Recently, it has been reported that dragline silk from a Nephila clavipes also has an exceptionally high thermal conductivity, comparable to copper when the fiber is stretched. Synthetic spider silks have been spun from spider silk proteins produced in transgenic sources, and their production process has the optimization potential to have properties similar to or better than the natural spider silk.
A measurement system has been designed and in the process of being validated to characterize the thermal properties of natural and synthetic spider silks by means of a transient electrothermal and photothermal fluorescence methods. Basic characterization of these materials is needed to develop a unique light-weight, flexible, electrically insulative, and biocompatible material for use in thermal management systems.