On March 11, 2019, from 11:30 to 10:30, at the Aula Caminetto of the University of Firenze, Via di Santa Marta 3, Professor Roberto Ballarini will deliver the Seminar
Cracking the Conch Conundrum: Reverse Engineering of the Shells of Mollusks
Natural composite materials are renowned for achieving impressive mechanical properties through their highly hierarchical structures. Sea shells are but one example. Despite being highly mineralized, with the organic component constituting not more than a few percent of the composite material, their fracture toughness can exceed that of single crystals of the pure mineral by as much as three orders of magnitude. Experimental and theoretical results are first presented that elucidate how the shell of Strombus gigas resists catastrophic fracture, and how it can self-heal through biomineralization. The results suggest that biological structures offer promise for guiding the design of synthetic structures with impressive mechanical properties.