Researchers from Rice University have developed a novel theory that combines strength, stiffness and toughness of composites into a single design map. The dimensionless computer-drawn maps can be applied to anything from nanoscale to buildings.
“That’s the beauty of this approach: It can scale to something very large or very small,” said Rouzbeh Shahsavari, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and engineering.
The formula depends on four characteristics of each specific material under consideration: length, a ratio based on respective stiffness, plasticity and how the materials overlap.
This from Rice University:
The Rice researchers’ work spanned three years of calculation and experimentation that involved mapping the properties of natural composites like collagen and spider silk as well as synthetic stacks like hexagonal boron-nitride/graphene and silumin/alumina. They also tested their theory on macro-scale, 3-D printed composites of hard plastic and soft rubber that mimicked the properties they observed in nacre.
The researchers hope that materials scientists will use these design maps to achieve the best possible combination of the composite properties.