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J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2008 Jul;1(3):208-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2008.02.003. Epub 2008 Feb 19.

Structure and mechanical properties of selected biological materials.

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Materials Science and Engineering Program, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037-0411, United States.


Mineralized biological tissues offer insight into how nature has evolved these components to optimize multifunctional purposes. These mineral constituents are weak by themselves, but interact with the organic matrix to produce materials with unexpected mechanical properties. The hierarchical structure of these materials is at the crux of this enhancement. Microstructural features such as organized, layered organic/inorganic structures and the presence of porous and fibrous elements are common in many biological components. The organic and inorganic portions interact at the molecular and micro-levels synergistically to enhance the mechanical function. In this paper, we report on recent progress on studies of the abalone and Araguaia river clam shells, arthropod exoskeletons, antlers, tusks, teeth and bird beaks.

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