This week we discussed biological materials, or those that are made by biological systems. Biological materials share a number of characteristics, including the following:
- They are made primarily from carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur.
- They are composite materials, meaning they are made up of two or more materials.
- They serve multiple functions, which could include protection, thermoregulation, and more.
- They have heirarchial structures, an intrinsic property of biological systems.
Natural biological molecules are made up of proteins, carbohydrates AKA polysaccharides and various minerals. This week we learned about the varying structures and strengths of these building blocks (a comparison of the relative tensile strengths of these biomolecules can be seen in a future post).
Proteins play large roles in structural support. Polysaccharides primarily provide energy storage. Minerals contribute to anything from strength of bones to teeth.