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      Bioinspired structural materials

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          Abstract

          Natural structural materials are built at ambient temperature from a fairly limited selection of components. They usually comprise hard and soft phases arranged in complex hierarchical architectures, with characteristic dimensions spanning from the nanoscale to the macroscale. The resulting materials are lightweight and often display unique combinations of strength and toughness, but have proven difficult to mimic synthetically. Here, we review the common design motifs of a range of natural structural materials, and discuss the difficulties associated with the design and fabrication of synthetic structures that mimic the structural and mechanical characteristics of their natural counterparts.

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          The conflicts between strength and toughness.

          The attainment of both strength and toughness is a vital requirement for most structural materials; unfortunately these properties are generally mutually exclusive. Although the quest continues for stronger and harder materials, these have little to no use as bulk structural materials without appropriate fracture resistance. It is the lower-strength, and hence higher-toughness, materials that find use for most safety-critical applications where premature or, worse still, catastrophic fracture is unacceptable. For these reasons, the development of strong and tough (damage-tolerant) materials has traditionally been an exercise in compromise between hardness versus ductility. Drawing examples from metallic glasses, natural and biological materials, and structural and biomimetic ceramics, we examine some of the newer strategies in dealing with this conflict. Specifically, we focus on the interplay between the mechanisms that individually contribute to strength and toughness, noting that these phenomena can originate from very different lengthscales in a material's structural architecture. We show how these new and natural materials can defeat the conflict of strength versus toughness and achieve unprecedented levels of damage tolerance within their respective material classes.
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            Biological materials: Structure and mechanical properties

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              Direct Ink Writing of 3D Functional Materials

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Materials
                Nature Mater
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1476-1122
                1476-4660
                January 2015
                October 26 2014
                January 2015
                : 14
                : 1
                : 23-36
                Article
                10.1038/nmat4089
                25344782
                c77484ca-088f-4892-899f-2ea4bbf6519b
                © 2015

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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