A multiscale study on the structural and mechanical properties of the luffa sponge from Luffa cylindrica plant

Chen, Qiang, Shi, Quan, Gorb, Stanislav and Li, Zhiyong (2014) A multiscale study on the structural and mechanical properties of the luffa sponge from Luffa cylindrica plant Journal of Biomechanics, 47 (6). pp. 1332-1339.

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Cellular materials that are often observed in biological systems exhibit excellent mechanical properties at remarkably low densities. Luffa sponge is one of such materials with a complex interconnecting porous structure. In this paper, we studied the relationship between its structural and mechanical properties at different levels of its hierarchical organization from a single fiber to a segment of whole sponge. The tensile mechanical behaviors of three single fibers were examined by an Instron testing machine and the ultrastructure of a fractured single fiber was observed in a scanning electronic microscope. Moreover, the compressive mechanical behaviors of the foam-like blocks from different locations of the sponge were examined. The difference of the compressive stress-strain responses of four sets of segmental samples were also compared. The result shows that the single fiber is a porous composite material mainly consisting of cellulose fibrils and lignin/hemicellulose matrix, and its Young's modulus and strength are comparable to wood. The mechanical behavior of the block samples from the hoop wall is superior to that from the core part. Furthermore, it shows that the influence of the inner surface on the mechanical property of the segmental sample is stronger than that of the core part; in particular, the former's Young's modulus, strength and strain energy absorbed are about 1.6 times higher. The present work can improve our understanding of the structure-function relationship of the natural material, which may inspire fabrication of new biomimetic foams with desirable mechanical efficiency for further applications in anti-crushing devices and super-light sandwich panels. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Times Cited: 1 0 1
Research affiliation: Kiel University
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0021-9290
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2015 12:04
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2016 12:30
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/27235

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