Bioinspired approaches in the mechanics of nanocomposites

Reference Presenter Authors
03-041 Federico Bosia Bosia, F.(Università di Torino); Pugno, N.M.(Università di Trento); Nanomaterials like carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or graphene have been shown to exhibit outstanding mechanical properties. Unfortunately, transferring their superior characteristics from the nanoscale to macroscale, through their integration in polymeric or inorganic matrices, is a challenging task. Current graphene or CNT- based nanocomposite strength and toughness characteristics remain below the desired goals. Moreover, current engineering materials are in general neither multifunctional, nor self-healing, nor self-cleaning, nor do they display stiffening or tunability in constitutive properties. All of these features, however, are defining properties of natural biological composites, such as spider silk, limpet teeth, beetle armours, gecko toes, or lotus leaves, to cite only few examples. Thus, bioinspired approaches can be pursued to mimic natural (usually hierarchical) materials and design novel synthetic ones with superior mechanical properties, artificially emulating the way Nature fabricates materials. Here, we review some recent promising results involving strength/toughness optimization, including the fabrication of hierarchical composites or so-called “Bionic composites” obtained through direct/natural mixing of carbon-based nanoreinforcements into natural materials (e.g. spider silk), taking advantage of optimized natural mechanisms (e.g. spider spinning).
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