Arief Budiman, University of Singapore of Technology and Design
Biomimetic, Strong yet Tough Composites through 3D printing
Written by Trevor Clark
Nature has produced microstructures that allow for unique mechanical properties and impact mechanics. These layered fibrous hierarchical structures have previously been studied in the club of the mantis shrimp which is used to punch fish at enormous velocities. The very complex helicoidal layered structures transmit mechanical strains much more efficiently than monolithic material while still maintaining the strength. By applying the bio-inspired structure, Arief Budiman hopes to enhance the strength of three-dimensional (3D) printed parts. This is a follow-up study to the one performed by Yaragi et al. (2016) but using fibers of a smaller scale, ~100 micrometers as opposed to millimeter scale. Using electro spun polymer fibers as an analogue to 3D-printed material, the researchers constructed the layered stack structures observed in the mantis shrimp club. Mechanical tests found that the mechanical properties of these structures followed the trends of the natural materials. This technique can be used to produce 3D-printed materials that are capable of absorbing large strains without fracture. This has applications in impact resistant armor.