Researchers in the Complex Materials Group (ETH Zurich) investigated the design principles of tough biological materials by studying nacre-inspired composites structured across three length scales. The organic layers between nacre layers in the mollusk shell were conceptually mimicked using polymer foils in between synthetic nacre layers. The hierarchical materials exhibit mechanical properties that rival conventional composite materials and offer new insights into the multiscale toughening mechanisms responsible for the outstanding fracture resistance of mollusk shells. These innovative lightweight materials may find application in the design and construction of aircrafts, automobiles and turbine blades, as they show the same strength and fracture resistance as metals that are traditionally used in these fields.
To see how tough the new material is, watch the video below! Or get more details in the ETH News video.
Damage tolerance of the nacre-like composite material developed in the group of André Studart at ETH Zurich (Video: Kunal Masania, Complex Materials Group, ETH Zurich).
For more information, contact Prof. André Studart, head of the Complex Materials Group, or Dr. Kunal Masania, researcher in the group, or find out more in the corresponding paper, published in the Journal of Advanced Functional Materials recently. This research was conducted within SCCER Mobility Capacity Area A3, which focusses on minimizing the non-propulsive energy demand of vehicles.