How does nature do it?
Nature has developed elegant, efficient and sustainable biologically-based solutions to many challenges that vex geotechnical infrastructure systems. Examples include ant excavation processes that are 1000 times more energy efficient than man-made tunneling machines, carbonate cemented sand that is exceptionally resistant to erosion and earthquakes, and self-sensing and self-healing tree root structures that are 10 times more efficient than any mechanical soil reinforcing/foundation system yet devised.
The NSF funded Engineering Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG) focuses on ecologically friendly, cost-effective solutions, inspired by nature, for development and rehabilitation of resilient and sustainable civil infrastructure systems. It serves as a nexus for two transformative trends in engineering: biologically-based design and sustainability.
The center propels the US into a leadership role in biogeotechnical engineering, enhancing national security by providing green and sustainable solutions to important infrastructure and resource development-related challenges. It also enhances national competitiveness through export of these technologies in response to the worldwide demand for more sustainable practices.