Investigation of the Property & Topology Gradients of Scaled Reptile Skin for Bio-mimetic Wear Resistance of Material Systems
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The research objective of this project is to investigate the unique combinations of material property and topology gradients exhibited within a class of nature’s hierarchical material systems, which are optimized to achieve its intended function(s) by strategically combining aspects of form, structure, and properties. A systematic mapping and analysis of these property and topology distributions will help generate design guidelines for material systems to improve performance while catering to the operating environment. The class of mentor organism features that is selected for study is scaled reptile skin. Scaled reptile skin is typically optimized for excellent abrasive wear resistance through strategies such as the biological coupling of hard surface scale layers with flexible inner regions for shock/vibration absorption, the size/shape/arrangement of topological features, etc. For achieving the objective, specimen will be suitably sectioned and prepared, their property distributions will be mapped through appropriate mechanical characterization testing, chemical distributions through spectroscopy, and topologies through non-contact white light interferometry. These will be combined to create a 3D model of the material with distributed property and topology gradients. Such a model will serve as the input template for finite element studies aimed at attaining material system performance at levels close to the efficiencies found in nature.
Hale, Sydney (2016). Investigation of the Property & Topology Gradients of Scaled Reptile Skin for Bio-mimetic Wear Resistance of Material Systems. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from