How Water Can Affect Keratin : Hydration-Driven Recovery of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis Canadensis) Horns

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Wei Huang
  • Alireza Zaheri
  • Wen Yang
  • David Kisailus
  • Horacio Espinosa
  • Joanna McKittrick

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number1901077
Journal / PublicationAdvanced Functional Materials
Volume29
Issue number27
Early online date29 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Keratin is one of the most common structural biopolymers exhibiting high strength, toughness, and low density. It is found in various tissues such as hairs, feathers, horns, and hooves with various functionalities. For instance, horn keratin absorbs a large amount of energy during intraspecific fights. Keratinized tissues are permanent tissues because of their basic composition consisting of dead keratinized cells that are not able to remodel or regrow once broken or damaged. The lack of a self-healing mechanism presents a problem for horns, as they are under continued high risk from mechanical damage. In the present work, it is shown for the first time that a combination of material architecture and a water-assisted recovery mechanism, in the horn of bighorn sheep, endows them with shape and mechanical property recoverability after being subjected to severe compressive loading. Moreover, the effect of hydration is unraveled, on the material molecular structure and mechanical behavior, by means of synchrotron wide angle X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nanoindentation, and in situ and ex situ tensile tests. The recovery and remodeling mechanism is anisotropic and quite distinct to the self-healing of living tissue such as bones.

Research Area(s)

  • energy absorption, keratin, mechanical behavior, self-recovery, water effects

Citation Format(s)

How Water Can Affect Keratin : Hydration-Driven Recovery of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis Canadensis) Horns. / Huang, Wei; Zaheri, Alireza; Yang, Wen; Kisailus, David; Ritchie, Robert O.; Espinosa, Horacio; McKittrick, Joanna.

In: Advanced Functional Materials, Vol. 29, No. 27, 1901077, 04.07.2019.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review