Structure-property relations in mineralized cuticle of different Crustacea

H. Fabritius, P. Romano, C. Sachs, A. Al-Sawalmih, K. Balasundaram, S. Karsten, S. Hild, M.Epple, D.Raabe

The aim of this project was to understand the mechanical design of mineralized cuticle from the exoskeletons of marine decapod crustaceans (Homarus americanus, Cancer pagurus). To achieve this, we performed a detailed analysis of microstructure and chemical composition and the characterized the resulting macro- and micromechanical properties on the material level both in dry state and in the natural, hydrated state.[1]

Fig.1. a) Structural hierarchy of the arthropod cuticle based on the organic matrix. b) Transversely fractured lobster cuticle showing its honeycomb-like structure generated by the pore canal system. c) Anisotropic mechanical „honeycomb“-behavior of lobster cuticle during compression in normal and transverse direction.


[1] Fabritius, H., Sachs, C., Romano, P. and Raabe, D. Influence of structural principles on the mechanics of a biological fiber-based composite material with hierarchical organization: the exoskeleton of the lobster Homarus americanus. Adv. Mater. 21:391-400, 2009.

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