Carbon fiber fasteners from Purdue University have an energy‑absorbing laminated structure to increase resilience when connecting dissimilar materials.

Benefits

  • Increased strength
  • Increased durability
  • Increased resilience

Applications

  • Manufacturing

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

The Challenge

In engineered structures, the point of connection between two dissimilar materials is often the weakest point. Typical forms of this connection are welding, adhesive bonding, and nailing together. Although these methods work in holding the materials together, the joint can emphasize stress concentration or degrade from exposure to the environment. The presence of these joints limits the material’s ability to support loads.

Innovation Details

The carbon fiber fasteners, inspired by the diabolical ironclad beetle, create a strong, tough joint capable of avoiding catastrophic failure. The joints have an ellipsoidal geometry and a laminated microstructure, providing physical interlocking and toughening at critical strains. Unlike typical joints, that can be strong but are often brittle, these joints provide flexibility and toughness, prolonging failure.

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Biomimicry Story

The diabolical ironclad beetle’s exoskeleton has a robust, jigsaw-like connection that increases it’s integrity. Along the center are mushroom-shaped interlocking joints that fit together like puzzle pieces. When compressed, the shape of these joints hold the two pieces together, prolonging the overall joint failure. Additionally, the joints are able to delaminate, which prevents an overall catastrophic failure.