Mass production of bulk artificial nacre with excellent mechanical properties

Nat Commun. 2017 Aug 18;8(1):287. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00392-z.


Various methods have been exploited to replicate nacre features into artificial structural materials with impressive structural and mechanical similarity. However, it is still very challenging to produce nacre-mimetics in three-dimensional bulk form, especially for further scale-up. Herein, we demonstrate that large-sized, three-dimensional bulk artificial nacre with comprehensive mimicry of the hierarchical structures and the toughening mechanisms of natural nacre can be facilely fabricated via a bottom-up assembly process based on laminating pre-fabricated two-dimensional nacre-mimetic films. By optimizing the hierarchical architecture from molecular level to macroscopic level, the mechanical performance of the artificial nacre is superior to that of natural nacre and many engineering materials. This bottom-up strategy has no size restriction or fundamental barrier for further scale-up, and can be easily extended to other material systems, opening an avenue for mass production of high-performance bulk nacre-mimetic structural materials in an efficient and cost-effective way for practical applications.Artificial materials that replicate the mechanical properties of nacre represent important structural materials, but are difficult to produce in bulk. Here, the authors exploit the bottom-up assembly of 2D nacre-mimetic films to fabricate 3D bulk artificial nacre with an optimized architecture and excellent mechanical properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't