Structure and Mechanical Properties

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ABSTRACT

The multiscale structure, materials properties, and mechanical responses of the turtle shell (Terrapene carolina) were studied to understand the fundamental knowledge of naturally occurring biological penetrator-armor systems. The structure observation and chemical analysis results revealed that the turtle shell carapace comprises a multiphase sandwich composite structure of functionally graded material having exterior bone layers and a foam-like bony network of closed-cells between the two exterior bone layers. Although the morphology was quite different, the exterior bone layers and interior bony network possessed comparable hardness and elastic modulus values of ~1 GPa and ~20 GPa, respectively. Compression and flexure test results showed a typical nonlinear deformation behavior recognizant of man-made foams. The mechanical test results revealed that the interior closed-cell foam layer plays a significant role on the overall deformation behavior of the turtle shell. The finite element analysis simulation results showed comparable agreement with the actual experimental test data. This systematic study could provide fundamental understanding for structure-property phenomena and biological pathways to design bio-inspired synthetic composite materials

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