Hierarchical structure observation and nanoindentation size effect characterization for a limnetic shell

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-372
Journal / PublicationActa Mechanica Sinica/Lixue Xuebao
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


In the present research, hierarchical structure observation and mechanical property characterization for a type of biomaterial are carried out. The investigated biomaterial is Hyriopsis cumingii, a typical limnetic shell, which consists of two different structural layers, a prismatic “pillar” structure and a nacreous “brick and mortar” structure. The prismatic layer looks like a “pillar forest” with variation-section pillars sized on the order of several tens of microns. The nacreous material looks like a “brick wall” with bricks sized on the order of several microns. Both pillars and bricks are composed of nanoparticles. The mechanical properties of the hierarchical biomaterial are measured by using the nanoindentation test. Hardness and modulus are measured for both the nacre layer and the prismatic layer, respectively. The nanoindentation size effects for the hierarchical structural materials are investigated experimentally. The results show that the prismatic nanostructured material has a higher stiffness and hardness than the nacre nanostructured material. In addition, the nanoindentation size effects for the hierarchical structural materials are described theoretically, by using the trans-scale mechanics theory considering both strain gradient effect and the surface/interface effect. The modeling results are consistent with experimental ones.

Research Area(s)

  • Biomaterial, Hierarchical structure, Mechanical property, Nanoindentation size effect, Trans-scale mechanics

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