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Arthropod cuticle: A natural composite shell system


Reference:

Vincent, J. F. V., 2002. Arthropod cuticle: A natural composite shell system. Composites Part A Applied Science and Manufacturing, 33 (10), pp. 1311-1315.

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Abstract

The cuticle of arthropods (jointed-limb animals), and especially of insects is, by biological standards, a relatively simple composite. It is a single external layer of material forming the skeleton and many sense organs. The fibrous phase is crystalline chitin making nanofibrils of about 3 nm diameter, a few hundreds of nanometers long and a modulus probably in excess of 150 GPa. At least two surfaces of the nanofibril can have silk-like protein attached through specific H-bonds; the rest of the protein is globular. The protein matrix stiffens through dehydration controlled by the introduction of hydrophobic phenolics. Crustacea add up to 40% calcium salts. The stiffness of cuticle can range from tens of GPa to 1 kPa. It can be hardened by the addition of Zn or Mn. It can form springs and change its stiffness and plasticity under the control of the animal. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Details

Item Type Articles
CreatorsVincent, J. F. V.
DOI10.1016/S1359-835X(02)00167-7
Uncontrolled Keywordscomposite materials, crystalline materials, chitin, proteins, hydrophobicity, hardness, stiffness, biological organs, plasticity, hydrogen bonds, dehydration
DepartmentsFaculty of Engineering & Design > Mechanical Engineering
RefereedYes
StatusPublished
ID Code2586

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