At a conference marking its 5-year anniversary, the North American Center for Research on Advanced Materials (NORA) recently announced a five-year extension of the collaboration, which Lorna Gibson has been instrumental in for her research on structural materials.
"In recent years, the NORA initiative has led to significant advancements in the field of structured materials. Nature has perfected such materials, for instance, Balsa wood – a prominent example of lightweight materials, balancing low weight and remarkable strength. A joint effort of BASF and MIT, Professors Lorna Gibson and Markus Buehler used a combination of experimental techniques and computer simulation to reveal more insights into the structure of Balsa wood – from macroscopic specimens, to the level of the cellular structure of the wood, down to chemical details at the atomic scale. In looking at the smallest details, it was determined that the wood’s strength comes from cellulosic fibers reinforcing the walls in the cellular structure in a specific geometrical arrangement."