Bio-inspired Murray materials for mass transfer and activity

Xianfeng Zheng, Guofang Shen, Chao Wang, Yu Li, Darren Dunphy, Tawfique Hasan, C. Jeffrey Brinker, Bao Lian Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Downloads (Pure)


Both plants and animals possess analogous tissues containing hierarchical networks of pores, with pore size ratios that have evolved to maximize mass transport and rates of reactions. The underlying physical principles of this optimized hierarchical design are embodied in Murray's law. However, we are yet to realize the benefit of mimicking nature's Murray networks in synthetic materials due to the challenges in fabricating vascularized structures. Here we emulate optimum natural systems following Murray's law using a bottom-up approach. Such bio-inspired materials, whose pore sizes decrease across multiple scales and finally terminate in size-invariant units like plant stems, leaf veins and vascular and respiratory systems provide hierarchical branching and precise diameter ratios for connecting multi-scale pores from macro to micro levels. Our Murray material mimics enable highly enhanced mass exchange and transfer in liquid-solid, gas-solid and electrochemical reactions and exhibit enhanced performance in photocatalysis, gas sensing and as Li-ion battery electrodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14921
Pages (from-to)14921
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Bio-inspired Murray materials for mass transfer and activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this