Characterization of interfaces at transitions between skeletal elements with different properties and functions

H. Fabritius, A.M. Janus, A. Ziegler, D. Raabe

The transitions between mineralized and unmineralized skeletal elements of crustaceans are particularly interesting because the chitin matrix of the cuticle is continuous, but the properties of the connected elements differ dramatically. Furthermore, such transition zones where organic fibres are not fully mineralized can provide valuable information on biomineralization processes and the interaction of matrix and mineral. Within the scope of this project we analyze structure and composition of organic matrix and mineral phases in limb-joints of the marine Decapoda Homarus americanus and Cancer pagurus over the entire length scale and determine the resulting local mechanical properties using nanoindentation.

Fig. 1. Qualitative EDX-mapping of the local distribution of Ca, P and MG and SEM micrographs of regions with different structure and composition on cross sections through a cuticular tendon from a pereiopd of the crab C. pagurus.
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