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J Exp Biol. 2009 Nov;212(Pt 22):3627-32. doi: 10.1242/jeb.033712.

The effects of trapping and blade angle of notched dentitions on fracture of biological tissues.

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1
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK. Phil.Anderson@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

The material properties of food can exert a significant influence on tooth morphology. Although the stiffness or toughness of a material is usually of prime concern, other aspects of material properties (such as extensibility) can be of equal importance. Previous experimental work on the effect blade shape has on fracturing biological materials indicated a notched blade greatly reduced the work required to cut tough tissue. As a notched blade both traps materials and cuts at an angle, it is not clear which of these features leads to increased cutting efficiency. This paper tests whether the ability to cut at an angle or trap the material has the greater effect on the work to fracture required to cut tough tissues with different levels of extensibility (asparagus and fish muscle). Results show that the work to fracture required to cut more extensible materials is reduced by up to 50% when a trapping mechanism alone is used in comparison with an angled blade alone. For less extensible materials, the trapping ability of a notch seems to have no effect, whereas the angled blade reduces work to fracture by up to 25% relative to a straight blade. The aspects of blade shape most important to the breaking down of foods depend upon the relative stiffness or toughness, as well as other material properties.

PMID:
19880723
DOI:
10.1242/jeb.033712
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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