Engineering with keratin: A functional material and a source of bioinspiration

Benjamin S. Lazarus, Charul Chadha, Audrey Velasco-Hogan, Josiane D.V. Barbosa, Iwona Jasiuk, Marc A. Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Keratin is a highly multifunctional biopolymer serving various roles in nature due to its diverse material properties, wide spectrum of structural designs, and impressive performance. Keratin-based materials are mechanically robust, thermally insulating, lightweight, capable of undergoing reversible adhesion through van der Waals forces, and exhibit structural coloration and hydrophobic surfaces. Thus, they have become templates for bioinspired designs and have even been applied as a functional material for biomedical applications and environmentally sustainable fiber-reinforced composites. This review aims to highlight keratin's remarkable capabilities as a biological component, a source of design inspiration, and an engineering material. We conclude with future directions for the exploration of keratinous materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102798
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 20 2021


  • Biomaterials
  • Engineering materials
  • Materials design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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