Biology of Fibrous Composites

Biology of Fibrous Composites : Development beyond the Cell Membrane

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This book, by a leading thinker with 30 years experience in the field, is the first devoted to fibrous composites in biology. It tackles a major unsolved problem in developmental biology - how does chemistry create architecture outside cells? Fibrous composites occur in all skeletal systems including plant cell walls, insect cuticles, moth eggshells, bone and cornea. They function like man-made fibreglass, with fibres set in a matrix. The fibrous molecules are long, extracellular and water-insoluble and to be effective they must be orientated strategically. The underlying hypothesis of this book is that the fibres are orientated by self-assembly just outside the cells during a mobile liquid crystalline phase prior to stabilization. The commonest orientations of the fibres are plywood laminates (orthogonal and helicoidal), and as parallel fibres. These may be imitated in vitro by liquid crystalline chemicals. The book takes an interdisciplinary approach and will be relevant to biologists, biochemists, biophysicists, material scientists and to liquid crystals chemists.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 142 b/w illus. 12 tables
  • 1139242903
  • 9781139242905

Table of contents

1. Defining the subject; 2. The occurrence of fibrous composites; 3. Properties of natural plywoods; 4. Biomimickry: making liquid crystalline models of helicoids and other plywoods; 5. How is fibre orientation controlled?; 6. Unifying themes; References; Index.
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Review quote

"This listing of animal and plant structures with different arrangements of fibrous composites is interspersed with interesting and relevant snippets of information on a variety of biological mechanisms and functions...successfully supports the author's claim that extracellular composites play a more dynamic role in development biology than is generally appreciated." Angus J.F. Russel, Times Higher Education Supplement As usual, Neville is generous with his ideas and produces blueprints for a dozen or so projects, some to be pursued in well-known holiday resorts. This book is such a good read that I wouldn't mind taking it along too." J.F.V. Vincent, Science
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