Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UNH Researchers find seed coats could lead to strong, tough, yet flexible materials

08.08.2018

Inspired by elements found in nature, researchers at the University of New Hampshire say the puzzle-like wavy structure of the delicate seed coat, found in plants like succulents and some grasses, could hold the secret to creating new smart materials strong enough to be used in items like body armor, screens, and airplane panels.

"The seed coat's major function is to protect the seed but it also needs to become soft to allow the seed to germinate, so the mechanical property changes," said Yaning Li, associate professor of mechanical engineering. "By learning from nature it may be possible to tailor the geometry and create the architecture for a smart material that can be programmed to amplify the strength and toughness but also be flexible and have many different applications."


Characteristic features of the seedcoat of Portulaca oleracea , an annual succulent commonly known as verdolaga or purslane. A) Photograph of the P. oleracea flower, B) Photograph of the tiny black seeds from P.oleracea , C) SEM image of the P. oleracea seedcoat, D) a magnified area of the seedcoat of P.oleracea.

Credit: UNH

The building blocks of the seed coat are star-shaped epidermal cells which move by zigzag intercellular joints to form a compact, tiled exterior that protects the seed inside from mechanical damage and other environmental stresses, such as drought, freezing, and bacterial infection.

To better understand the relationship between the structural attributes and functions of the seed coat's unique microstructure, prototypes were designed and fabricated using multi-material 3D printing, and mechanical experiments and finite element simulations were performed on the models.

"Imagine a window, or the exterior of an airplane, that is really strong but not brittle," said Li. "That same concept could create smart material that could be adapted to behave differently in different situations whether it's a more flexible body armor that is still protective or another such materials."

The results, published in the journal Advanced Materials, show that the waviness of the mosaic-like tiled structures of the seed coat, called sutural tessellations, plays a key role in determining the mechanical response. Generally, the wavier it is, the more an applied loads can effectively transit from the soft wavy interface to the hard phase, and therefore both overall strength and toughness can simultaneously be increased.

Researchers say that the design principles described show a promising approach for increasing the mechanical performance of tiled composites of man-made materials. Since the overall mechanical properties of the prototypes could be tuned over a very large range by simply varying the waviness of the mosaic-like structures, they believe it can provide a roadmap for the development of new functionally graded composites that could be used in protection, as well as energy absorption and dissipation.

There is a pending patent which has been filed by UNHInnovation, which advocates for, manages, and promotes UNH's intellectual property.

###

This work was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

For more information on licensing this patent-pending technology, contact unh.innovation@unh.edu.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH's research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.

IMAGE AND VIDEOS FOR DOWNLOAD:

Photo 1: https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/sites/default/files/media/yaning_li_seed_coat_images.jpg
Caption: Characteristic features of the seedcoat of Portulaca oleracea , an annual succulent commonly known as verdolaga or purslane. A) Photograph of the P. oleracea flower, B) Photograph of the tiny black seeds from P.oleracea , C) SEM image of the P. oleracea seedcoat, D) a magnified area of the seedcoat of P.oleracea. Photo credit: UNH

Video 1: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/action/downloadSupplement?doi=10.1002%2Fadma.201800579&file=adma201800579-sup-0001-S1.MP4
Caption: Mechanical experiment of 3D printed specimen of design I (with suture tessellation (θm=90°)) under vertical tension, that creates stress and strain in the material in direction 1.

Video 2: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/action/downloadSupplement?doi=10.1002%2Fadma.201800579&file=adma201800579-sup-0002-S2.MP4
Caption: Mechanical experiment of 3D printed specimen of design I (with suture tessellation (θm=90°)) under vertical tension, that creates stress and strain in the material in direction 2.

Video 3: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/action/downloadSupplement?doi=10.1002%2Fadma.201800579&file=adma201800579-sup-0003-S3.MP4
Caption: Mechanical experiment of 3D printed specimen of design I (with suture tessellation (θm=10°)) under vertical tension, that creates stress and strain in the material in direction 1.

Video 4: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/action/downloadSupplement?doi=10.1002%2Fadma.201800579&file=adma201800579-sup-0004-S4.MP4
Caption: Mechanical experiment of 3D printed specimen of design I (with suture tessellation (θm=10°)) under vertical tension, that creates stress and strain in the material in direction 2.

Robbin Ray | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/news/release/2018/08/08/unh-researchers-find-seed-coats-could-lead-strong-tough-yet-flexible
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201800579

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Topological material switched off and on for the first time
11.12.2018 | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

nachricht Proteins imaged in graphene liquid cell have higher radiation tolerance
10.12.2018 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electronic evidence of non-Fermi liquid behaviors in an iron-based superconductor

11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Topological material switched off and on for the first time

11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs

11.12.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>