Skip to main content Accessibility help

Failure mode transition in natural mineralized composites

  • Reza Rabiei (a1), Sacheen Bekah (a1) and Francois Barthelat (a1)


Mineralized biological materials such as nacre and bone achieve remarkable combinations of stiffness and toughness through staggered arrangements of stiff components bonded by softer materials. These natural composites are therefore substantial source of inspiration for emerging synthetic materials. In order to gain new insights into structureperformance relationships of these staggered structures, nacres from four species were compared in terms of fracture toughness and damage propagation pattern. Fracture tests revealed that all nacres display rising crack resistance curves, but to different extents. Using in-situ optical and atomic force microscopy, two distinct patterns of damage propagation were identified in columnar and sheet nacre respectively. These two different patterns were further confirmed by means of large scale numerical models of staggered structures. Similar mechanisms possibly operate at the smallest scales of the microstructure of bone.



Hide All
1. Wegst, U.G.K. and Ashby, M.F., The mechanical efficiency of natural materials . Philosophical Magazine, 2004. 84 (21): p. 21672181.
2. Barthelat, F., Biomimetics for next generation materials . Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society a-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2007. 365: p. 29072919.
3. Currey, J.D., Mechanical Properties of Mother of Pearl in Tension . Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1977. 196 (1125): p. 443463.
4. Barthelat, F., et al. ., On the mechanics of mother-of-pearl: A key feature in the material hierarchical structure . Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 2007. 55 (2): p. 225444.
5. Wang, R.Z., et al. ., Deformation mechanisms in nacre . Journal of Materials Research, 2001. 16: p. 24852493.10.1557/JMR.2001.0340
6. Barthelat, F. and Espinosa, H.D., An Experimental Investigation of Deformation and Fracture of Nacre-Mother of Pearl . Experimental Mechanics, 2007. 47 (3): p. 311324.
7. Deville, S., et al. ., Freezing as a path to build complex composites . Science, 2006. 311 (5760): p. 515518.
8. Bonderer, L.J., Studart, A.R., and Gauckler, L.J., Bioinspired design and assembly of platelet reinforced polymer films . Science, 2008. 319 (5866): p. 10691073.
9. Gao, H.J., Application of fracture mechanics concepts to hierarchical biomechanics of bone and bone-like materials . International Journal of Fracture, 2006. 138 (14): p. 101137.10.1007/s10704-006-7156-4
10. Buehler, M.J., and Yung, Y.C., Deformation and failure of protein materials in physiologically extreme conditions and disease . Nature Materials, 2009. 8 (3): p. 175188.
11. Gupta, H.S., et al. ., Cooperative deformation of mineral and collagen in bone at the nanoscale . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2006. 103 (47): p. 1774117746.
12. ASTM, ASTM standard E 1820-01Standard Test Method for Measurement of Fracture Toughness”. 2004.
13. Saxena, A., Nonlinear Fracture Mechanics. 1998: CRC Press.
14. Bruet, B.J.F., et al. ., Nanoscale morphology and indentation of individual nacre tablets from the gastropod mollusc Trochus niloticus . Journal of Materials Research, 2005. 20 (9): p. 24002419.
15. Barthelat, F., et al. ., Mechanical properties of nacre constituents and their impact on mechanical performance . Journal of Materials Research, 2006. 21 (8): p. 19771986.


Failure mode transition in natural mineralized composites

  • Reza Rabiei (a1), Sacheen Bekah (a1) and Francois Barthelat (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed