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Lorna Gibson

Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT


Professor Gibson’s research interests focus on the mechanics of materials with a cellular structure such as engineering honeycombs and foams, natural materials such as wood, leaves and bamboo and medical materials such as trabecular bone and tissue engineering scaffolds.  We relate the microstructure of cellular materials to their mechanical properties such as stiffness and strength.  Current projects are on balsa as a model for bioinspired design of engineering materials and on structural bamboo products, analogous to wood products such as oriented strand board.

Selected Publications

  • Gibson, L.J. and Ashby, M.F. (1997)  Cellular Solids:  Structure and Properties, Second Edition, Cambridge University Press.
  • Gibson L.J., Ashby M.F. and Harley B.A. (2010) Cellular Materials in Nature and Medicine. Cambridge University Press.
  • Gibson LJ (2012) The hierarchical structure and mechanics of plant materials. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 9, 2749-66.
  • Dixon PG and Gibson LJ (2014) Structure and mechanics of Moso bamboo material.  J Roy Soc Interface, 11, 20140321.
  • Borrega M Ahvenainen P, Serimaa R and Gibson LJ (2015) Composition and structure of balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) wood. Wood Science and Technology, 49, 403-420.
  • Borrega M and Gibson LJ (2015) Compressive and shear properties of balsa wood. Mechanics of Materials, 84, 75-90.
  • Dixon PG, Ahvenainen P, Aijazi AN, Chen SH, Lin S, Augusciak PK, Borrega M, Svedström K and Gibson LJ (2015) Comparison of the structure and mechanical properties of Moso, Guadua and Tre Gai bamboo. Construction and Building Materials, 90, 11-17.
  • Ahvenainen P, Dixon PG, Kallonen A, Suhonen H, Gibson LJ and Svedstrom K Spatially-localized bench-top X-ray scattering reveals tissue-specific microfibril orientation in Moso bamboo. Plant Methods, in press.


PhD in Materials Engineering
University of Cambridge
BASc in Civil Engineering
University of Toronto