The SQUID BEAK project focuses on fundamental investigation of Humboldt squid beak that is an example of biocomposite material with remarkable mechanical properties. The beak is entirely made of organic components and exhibits a 200-fold stiffness gradient, from the soft base to the hard tip. Thus, it represents a very promising model for bio-inspired materials engineering.
Proteins present in the beak are key molecules responsible for its unique features. Understanding of their functions and biophysical properties is essential to translate beak's structure and features into a synthetic system.
The studies will involve investigations of biophysical properties of the beak proteins and how they influence on the mechanical properties of the material. This knowledge will be then utilized in processing and engineering of squid beak-inspired biocomposites with stiffness gradient. Such materials can serve as a new type of biomaterials for biomedical applications e.g. limb prostheses.