Bio-inspired Large Scale Structural Material
Concrete is the most used engineering material for civil infrastructure. However, lacking tensile strength and ductility, concrete infrastructure has limited durability and resiliency. The iridescent material of abalone shells, nacre, is composed mostly of similarly brittle calcium carbonate, yet exhibits strength and ductility far superior to concrete. The impressive properties of nacre have spurred significant research of its structural organization and deformation mechanisms. The several successful attempts to mimic its hierarchical composite design have yielded only materials that share the millimeter size scale and slow growth characteristics of natural nacre. This project aims at overcoming these size and processing limitations to produce a civil infrastructure material that, utilizing the mechanisms of nacre, improves upon the performance of concrete. The development of such material entreats biochemistry, materials science, and civil engineering and is expected to provide infrastructures enhanced human safety under severe loading, and improved structural durability and environmental sustainability.
Published by the MM&FGM Conference, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oct 19-22, 2014