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Finite Element Analysis of Nacre

Motily, Austen
Abstract
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Nacre, a material commonly found in mollusk shells, displays remarkable fracture toughness when compared to the mineral that comprises 95% of its weight. This toughness can be attributed to a unique microstructure that contains mineral platelets and an organic protein matrix. The mechanical behavior of this composite material is not fully understood, and existing mathematical models require severe assumptions about the interaction between the mineral and protein phases. Finite element analysis is the best method available to investigate the complex behavior of this material. Abaqus®, a finite element modeling program was used to analyze the nacre. This software implements the finite element method to predict material behavior in complex structures when subjected to various loads. Starting with basic two-dimensional models, the stress-strain relationships of the nacre were simulated and verified with values in literature. More complex three-dimensional models were also verified. With the continued study of the material microstructure, nacre could be used to inspire a new class of bio-inspired staggered composites.
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University of Wyoming Libraries