Bioinspired Hierarchical Designs for Stiff, Strong Interfaces between Materials of Differing Stiffness

Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope, Yong Mao, Cyril Rauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


Throughout biology, geometric hierarchy is a recurrent theme in structures where strength is achieved with efficient use of material. Acting over vast timescales, evolution has brought about beautiful solutions to problems in mechanics that are only now being understood and incorporated into engineering designs. One particular example of structural hierarchy is found in the junction between stiff keratinized material and the soft biological matter within the hooves of ungulates. Using this biological interface as a design motif, we investigate the role of hierarchy in the creation of a stiff, robust interface between two materials. We show that through hierarchical design, we can manipulate the scaling laws relating constituent-material stiffness and overall interface stiffness under loading. Furthermore, we demonstrate that through use of a hierarchical geometry, we can reduce the maximum stress the materials experience for a given loading and tailor the ratio of maximum stresses in the constituent materials. We demonstrate that when two materials of different stiffness are joined, hierarchical geometries are linked with beneficial mechanical properties and enhanced tailorability of mechanical response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034016
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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