Designed for resistance to puncture: The dynamic response of fish scales



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Natural dermal armors are serving as a source of inspiration in the pursuit of “next-generation” structural materials. Although the dynamic strain response of these materials is arguably the most relevant to their performance as armors, limited work has been performed in this area. Here, uniaxial tension and transverse puncture tests were performed on specimens obtained from the scales of Asian carp over strain rates spanning seven decades, from 10-4 to 103 s-1. The importance of anatomical variations was explored by comparing the performance of scales from the head, middle and tail regions. In both loading orientations, the scales exhibited a significant increase in the resistance to failure with loading rate. The rate sensitivity was substantially higher for transverse loading than for in-plane tension, with average strain rate sensitivity exponents for measures of the toughness of 0.35 and 0.08, respectively. Spatial variations in the properties were largest in the puncture responses, and scales from the head region exhibited the greatest resistance to puncture overall. The results suggest that the layered microstructure of fish scales is most effective at resisting puncture, rather than in-plane tension, and its effectiveness increases with rate of loading. X-ray microCT showed that delamination of plies in the internal elasmodine and stretching of the fibrils were key mechanisms of energy dissipation in response to puncture loading. Understanding contributions from the microstructure to this behavior could guide the development of flexible engineered laminates for penetration resistance and other related applications. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd


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Armor, Computerized tomography, Energy dissipation, Fish, Microstructure, Toughness, Anatomical variations, Average strain rate, Bio-inspiration, Fish scale, Layered microstructure, Loading orientation, Penetration resistances, Puncture, Strain rate, anatomical variation, article, controlled study, fibril, head, human tissue, micro-computed tomography, puncture, tension