Biomimetics (also known as biomimicry or bionics) is the transfer of technology from nature to engineering. By understanding how natural materials, tissues, systems or devices work, we can engineer better materials, system and devices: higher efficiency, higher performance, sustainability, recyclability. Our lab focuses on biomimetic materials, with two missions:
1) Natural materials: We characterize the structure and mechanics of high-performance natural materials such as bone, mollusk shells, fish scales, collagen...Our approach includes structural and mechanical characterization of natural materials over multiple length scales. We typically focus on nonlinear deformations and fracture mechanics, and more recently on multifunctionalities (actuation, self-healing, remodeling). We use multiscale experiments, theoretical models (fracture mechanics, micromechanics) and computational approaches. 

2) Fabrication and testing of new materials: 
In parallel we also duplicate the structures and mechanisms we observe in nature into new, high-performance engineering materials. Here we use design and optimization tools, material selections techniques, and non-conventional fabrication  techniques (rapid prototyping, laser engraving, self-assembly). We are currently making and testing artificial nacre, artificial bone, artificial fish scales and bio-inspired protective systems

Browse our website to learn about this exciting new area of research!

If you are interested in joining our group as a master, PhD student or post-doc, contact me by email and attach your CV



Francois Barthelat
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
McGill University
MacDonald 150
817 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 2K6

Tel.: 514-398-6318
Fax.: 514-398-7365


•   Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (2005) Northwestern University (USA)            
•   Master in Mechanical Engineering (1998)  University of Rochester (USA)              
•   Diplome d'Ingenieur (1997) Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electricité et de Mécanique (France)  


•   McGill University (Montreal, QC)
                Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering    (06/2012 – present)
                Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering    (09/2006 – 06/2012)
                Associate Member, Biomedical Engineering    (03/2007 – present)

•    Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)                 
            Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Mechanical Engineering (01/2006 - 09/2006)
            Supervisor: H.D. Espinosa

•    DataPointLabs (Ithaca, NY)                       
            Development Engineer, consultant in polymer testing   (12/1998 - 09/2000)


- Discovery Accelerator Supplement (2012), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
- Best Paper Award,  Society for Experimental Mechanical (Biological Systems and Materials Division, 70 papers)
- Paper highlighted for 2010 in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics (2011)
- Top-ten cited article in the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids over the past 5 years (2011)
- Best Paper by a Young Researcher, 12th International Conference on Fracture, 700 papers (2009)
- Hetényi Award for best research paper of the year published in Experimental Mechanics (2005)
- Smith Terminal Year Fellowship, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University (2005)
- Walter P. Murphy Fellowship, Northwestern University (2000)


- Bioinspiration and Biomimetics:  Editorial Board (Invited)
- Experimental Techniques:  Associate Editor (Invited)
- Applied Mechanics Reviews:  Associate Editor (Invited)
- Modeling and Numerical Simulation of Material Science:  Editorial Board (Invited)
- Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials: Guest editor for a special issue“Merging Materials and Structures”
- Reviewer:  Science, Advanced Materials, Nature Communication, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Acta Biomaterialia, Biomaterials, Journal of Materials Research, Journal of Materials Science, Advanced Biomaterials, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, Journal of Bionic Engineering, PLOS ONE, Experimental Mechanics, Experimental techniques, Optics Express, Optics and Laser in Engineering, Journal of Composite Materials, Composites Science and Technology, Strain, Journal of Tribology, Tribology International, Tribology Letters, Modeling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering, Biophysical Chemistry, Materials Characterization, Journal of Reinforced Plastic and Composites.

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McGill University
McGill Faculty of Engineering | Department of Mechanical Engineering

Francois Barthelat | MacDonald 150| 817 Sherbrooke Street West | Montreal, Quebec H3A 2K6| Canada
Phone: 514-398-6318 Fax: 514-398-7365