Biological approaches to electrical conduction in non-metallic materials for engineered products

Allan P. Wandall, Torben A. Lenau, Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The use of electricity is so pervasive that life without it is unimaginable today. The scope of electricity is even widening to encompass wearables and draperies in domestic and professional surroundings. The typical way of conducting electricity is through metallic wires and conduits, which often are integrated permanently into engineered products. This means that we have more and more products with mixed materials that are difficult to recycle, thereby creating a major bottleneck towards the achievement of sustainable urban and rural environments. If electricity could be conducted in another way, new design options would become possible. The bioworld offers ways for conducting electricity without metallic interconnects. Examples range from electric discharges by electric eels to electrolocation by fish to bacterial protein networks that conduct electrons. A review of electrical conduction mechanisms in the bioworld suugests the feasibility of incorporating the underlying bioworld principles in engineered products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XII
EditorsRaul J. Martin-Palma, Mato Knez, Akhlesh Lakhtakia
ISBN (Electronic)9781510649576
StatePublished - 2022
EventBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XII 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Apr 4 2022Apr 10 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XII 2022
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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