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. 2014 May;13(5):501-7.
doi: 10.1038/nmat3920. Epub 2014 Mar 30.

Pervasive Nanoscale Deformation Twinning as a Catalyst for Efficient Energy Dissipation in a Bioceramic Armour

Pervasive Nanoscale Deformation Twinning as a Catalyst for Efficient Energy Dissipation in a Bioceramic Armour

Ling Li et al. Nat Mater. .

Abstract

Hierarchical composite materials design in biological exoskeletons achieves penetration resistance through a variety of energy-dissipating mechanisms while simultaneously balancing the need for damage localization to avoid compromising the mechanical integrity of the entire structure and to maintain multi-hit capability. Here, we show that the shell of the bivalve Placuna placenta (~99 wt% calcite), which possesses the unique optical property of ~80% total transmission of visible light, simultaneously achieves penetration resistance and deformation localization via increasing energy dissipation density (0.290 ± 0.072 nJ μm(-3)) by approximately an order of magnitude relative to single-crystal geological calcite (0.034 ± 0.013 nJ μm(-3)). P. placenta, which is composed of a layered assembly of elongated diamond-shaped calcite crystals, undergoes pervasive nanoscale deformation twinning (width ~50 nm) surrounding the penetration zone, which catalyses a series of additional inelastic energy dissipating mechanisms such as interfacial and intracrystalline nanocracking, viscoplastic stretching of interfacial organic material, and nanograin formation and reorientation.

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