We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Material Mimics One of Nature's Toughest
News

Material Mimics One of Nature's Toughest

Material Mimics One of Nature's Toughest
News

Material Mimics One of Nature's Toughest

Credit: Pixabay
Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Material Mimics One of Nature's Toughest"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

In the summer, many people enjoy walks along the beach looking for seashells. Among the most prized are those that contain iridescent mother of pearl (also known as nacre) inside. But many beachcombers would be surprised to learn that shimmery nacre is one of nature’s strongest, most resilient materials. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Nano have made a material with interlocked mineral layers that resembles nacre and is stronger and tougher than previous mimics.

Some mollusks, such as abalone and pearl oysters, have shells lined with nacre. This material consists of layers of microscopic mineral “bricks” called aragonite stacked upon alternating layers of soft organic compounds. Scientists have tried to replicate this structure to make materials for engineering or medical applications, but so far artificial nacre has not been as strong as its natural counterpart. Hemant Raut, Caroline Ross, Javier Fernandez and colleagues noticed that prior nacre mimics used flat mineral bricks, whereas the natural material has wavy bricks that interlock in intricate herringbone patterns. They wanted to see if reproducing this structure would create a stronger, tougher nacre mimic for sustainable medical materials.

Using the components of natural nacre, the team made their composite material by forming wavy sheets of the mineral aragonite on a patterned chitosan film. Then, they interlocked two of the sheets together, filling the space between the wavy surfaces with silk fibroin. They stacked 150 interlocked layers together to form a composite that was about the thickness of a penny. The material was almost twice as strong and four times as tough as previous nacre mimics – close to the strength and toughness reported for natural nacre. The artificial nacre was also biocompatible, which the researchers demonstrated by culturing human embryonic stem cells on its surface for one week. These features suggest that the material could be suitable for sustainable, low-cost medical uses, the researchers say.

Reference


Raut et al. (2020). Tough and Strong: Cross-Lamella Design Imparts Multifunctionality to Biomimetic Nacre. ACS Nano. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.0c01511

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Advertisement