Nature’s Multiscale Design Strategies and Smart Manufacturing

ABSTRACT:  Recent discoveries in seashells unveil that nature uses multiscale design strategies to achieve exceptional mechanical properties which are still beyond the reach of many engineering materials. The multiscale hierarchical structure, ranging from micro lamellae down to nanoparticles, renders seashells multilevel strengthening and toughening mechanisms such as crack deflection, interlocking, lamellae’s deformability, biopolymer’s viscosity, nanoparticle rotation, deformation twining in nanoparticles, and amorphization, jointly contributing to seashell’s ultra-high mechanical robustness. Graphene is a game changing material. We cloned seashell’s hierarchical architecture and realized its reinforcing mechanisms in engineered materials by simply shear mixing, freeze drying, and sintering of metal powders and graphene sheets. Such man-made seashell-like graphene/metal composites achieved an exceptional enhancement in both strength and toughness. Such design strategy and model material system should guide the manufacturing of bioinspired materials to achieve exceptionally high mechanical performance.

BIOGRAPHY:  Dr. Xiaodong (Chris) Li is a Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor at the University of Virginia. He is an ASME Fellow and a SEM Fellow. He has published over 260 peer-reviewed journal articles in prestigious journals including Science, Science Advances, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, and Physical Review Letters. His publications have been cited over 16,881 times with H-index of 66. He has received numerous awards including the TMS MPMD Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award and the Professional Engineering Publisher´s PE Prize. He serves on editorial board for ten journals.


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Media Contact: Serena Sidwell



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