bioinspired materials; microstructure; composites; self-assembly; platelets
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Billaud Juliette, Bouville Florian, Magrini Tommaso, Villevieille Claire, Studart André R., Magnetically aligned graphite electrodes for high-rate performance Li-ion batteries, in Nature Energy
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Le Ferrand Hortense, Bouville Florian, Niebel Tobias P., Studart Andre R., Magnetically assisted slip casting of bioinspired heterogeneous composites, in Nature Materials
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Niebel Tobias P., Bouville Florian, Kokkinis Dimitri, Studart André R., Role of the polymer phase in the mechanics of nacre-like composites, in Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
, (Available ), online.
Strong and light-weight composite materials are increasingly used in transportation, biomedical and structural applications, but still exhibit several shortcomings such as low impact resistance, low delamination resistance and increased wear. Interestingly, biological composites like mollusk shells and the tooth have been exposed to similar mechanical loading conditions as their synthetic counterparts and thus might provide new insights into the effective design of tougher and more durable artificial composites. Following such bioinspired approach, new processing routes have been developed to mimic in synthetic systems the overall architecture of biological materials. Despite the promising results achieved so far, the development of self-assembly pathways to create bioinspired composites with volume fraction of reinforcement as high as that of natural systems remains very challenging. Moreover, the use of heterogeneous bioinspired architectures as model systems to investigate the mechanical design principles of biological materials has yet to be systematically explored. This project aims at addressing this major processing challenge and deepening our understanding of structure-property relations in biological and bioinspired composites. In the first part of the project, we propose to investigate the directed self-assembly of magnetically-responsive platelets under mechanical and magnetic stimuli as a means to create highly reinforced composites (Part I). In the second part, we propose to systematically study the mechanics of model synthetic composites that mimic the heterogeneous architectures of teeth and mollusk shells in order to shed light into the design principles of such unique biological composites (Part II). In Part I, mechanical stimulus will be used to provide alumina microplatelets with enough kinetic energy to spontaneously self-assemble into a thermodynamically stable nematic phase. This will be combined with the application of a rotating external magnetic field to align the nematic domains into one specific orientation at high platelet volume fractions. In Part II, the hardness, wear resistance and crack growth resistance of model bilayer architectures that resemble the structure of teeth and mollusk shells will be evaluated. The effect of the relative thickness between layers with different platelet orientations and the presence of mixed platelet orientations at the interface of the bilayer composites will be systematically investigated. On the basis of this research, we expect to identify new routes for the cost-effective and scalable fabrication of highly-reinforced bioinspired composites and to provide new insights into the mechanical design principles underlying the structure of selected biological materials.