WEB Bioinspired Design and Manufacturing of Graphene CompositesAudimax
Nacre (mother of pearl), commonly referred to as nature’s armor, has served as a blueprint for engineering stronger and tougher bioinspired materials. Nature organizes a brick-and-mortar-like architecture in nacre, with hard bricks of aragonite sandwiched with soft biopolymer layers. Graphene is a game changing material. We cloned nacre’s hierarchical architecture and reinforcing mechanisms in engineered materials by simply shear mixing, freeze drying, and sintering of metal powders and graphene sheets. Such man-made nacre-like graphene/metal composites achieved an exceptional enhancement in both strength and toughness. Additionally, we demonstrate that a small amount of graphene can minimize porosity/defects and reinforce carbon fibers. The 0.075 weight % graphene-reinforced carbon fiber exhibits 225% increase in strength and 184% enhancement in Young’s modulus. Such design strategy and model material system should guide the synthesis of bioinspired materials to achieve exceptionally high mechanical performance.