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Carbon-fiber Epoxy Honeycombs Mimic the Material Performance of Balsa Wood

Carbon-fiber Epoxy Honeycombs Mimic the Material Performance of Balsa Wood | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Materials scientists at Harvard University have created lightweight cellular composites via 3D printing. These fiber-reinforced epoxy composites mimic the structure and performance of balsa wood. Because the fiber fillers align along the printing direction, their local orientation can be exquisitely controlled. These 3D composites may be useful for wind turbine, automotive and aerospace applications, where high stiffness- and strength-to-weight ratios are needed."

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Fruit of Aluminum: Peel-Inspired Metal

Fruit of Aluminum: Peel-Inspired Metal | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"A composite aluminum announced in a new study this week borrows its structure from the Asian pomelo. When you´re trying remove them to reach the tastiness within, the peels of citrus fruits are a waxy annoyance. This is especially true of the pomelo, a type of Asian grapefruit. But while this thick peel thwarts hungry humans, it lets the pomelo take a pummeling. A 4-pound fruit can fall 30 feet and land without splitting open because its peel has a composite structure that absorbs the impact. And now, that fruit has inspired a new kind of metal."

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Researchers are Getting Closer to Making Artificial Nacre

Researchers are Getting Closer to Making Artificial Nacre | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

The remarkable properties of some natural materials have motivated many researchers to synthesize biomimetic nanocomposites that attempt to reproduce Nature’s achievements and to understand the toughening and deformation mechanisms of natural nanocomposite materials. One of the best examples is nacre, the pearly internal layer of many mollusc shells. It has evolved through millions of years to a level of optimization currently achieved in very few engineered composites. Preparation of artificial analogs of nacre has been approached by using several different methods and the resulting materials capture some of the characteristics of the natural composite

 

Nacre has a layered structure composed of approximately 95% calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and nearly 5% organics. As depicted in the figure below, single-crystalline calcium carbonate nanotablets (CCNs) are interfaced by entrapped organics. Such a periodic 'bricks and mortar' arrangement is crucial to mechanical and other outstanding properties that nacre possesses.

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Vascular Networks Make Self-healing Possible in Composites

Vascular Networks Make Self-healing Possible in Composites | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"One of the more intriguing capabilities in nature is, however, the number of biological systems that are able to self heal. Scientists, spurred on by the potential economic benefits of materials that would be able to repair themselves  - longer lifetime, lower maintenance costs and more efficiency - have worked to develop self-healing systems for various materials, including plastics. And with success: various polymers are now available which have  the intrinsic ability to repair damage caused by usage over time. Up until now, however, composites, were a whole different ballgame. But once again, nature showed the way."

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Computation, 3D Printing, and Testing of Bone-Inspired Composites

Computation, 3D Printing, and Testing of Bone-Inspired Composites | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Researchers at MIT have developed an approach that allows them to create physical sample of a multiscale computer model of a synthetic material. he approach allows creation of complex hierarchical patterns such as bones. The process could be scaled up to provide a cost-effective way to manufacture composite materials that are tailored for specific functions in different parts of a structure."

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Biomimicry: Nacre Inspires Transparent Strong As Steel Plastic

Biomimicry: Nacre Inspires Transparent Strong As Steel Plastic | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Nacre, or Mother of pearl is the iridescent lining you see on the inside of an oyster, mussel, or abalone shell. It is also the same material that creates pearls. The play of light we find so appealing is a result of the little beasties engineering the shell down to the molecular level. To create a shell that is tough and lightweight (sometimes 3000 times tougher than its component parts), the abalone layers an organic material and a non-organic material into a nano-structure design resembling brick and mortar. 

 

We have seen before how the abalone inspired super tough materials. Now engineering professor Nicholas Kotov and his team from the University of Michigan have created a process similar to our bivalve friends that allows the creation of materials one nano-layer at a time, with impressive results.

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