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Title: Fabrication and testing of bioinspired microstructured alumina composites with sacrificial interpenetrating polymer bonds
Authors: Sapasakulvanit, Slocha
Chan, Xin Ying
Le Ferrand, Hortense
Keywords: Engineering::Materials::Composite materials
Issue Date: 2023
Source: Sapasakulvanit, S., Chan, X. Y. & Le Ferrand, H. (2023). Fabrication and testing of bioinspired microstructured alumina composites with sacrificial interpenetrating polymer bonds. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 18(4), 046009-.
Project: NRFF12-2020-0002 
Journal: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 
Abstract: Bioinspired composites exhibit well-defined microstructures, where anisotropic ceramic particles are assembled and bound by an organic matrix. However, it is difficult to fabricate these composites where both the ceramic particles and organic matrix work together to unlock toughening mechanisms, such as shear dissipation, particle rotation and interlocking, etc., that lead to stiff, strong, and tough composites. Here, we produce composites inspired by seashells, made of alumina microplatelets assembled in complex microstructures and that are physically bonded by a small amount of interpenetrated polymer network (IPN) made of polyacrylamide (PAM) and polyN-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAM). The fabrication employs magnetically assisted slip casting (MASC) to orient the microplatelets as desired, and in situ gelation of the IPN, followed by drying. The process was successful after carefully tuning the slip casting and gelation kinetics. Samples with horizontal, vertical, and alternating vertical and horizontal microplatelets orientations were then tested under compression. It was found that the IPN threads bonding the microplatelets acted as sacrificial bonds dissipating energy during the compression. Paired with the alternating microstructure, the IPN significantly enhanced the compressive toughness of the composites by 205% as compared to the composites with horizontal or vertical orientation only, with less than 35% reduction on the stiffness. This study demonstrates that microstructure control and design combined with a flexible and tough matrix can effectively enhance the properties of bioinspired ceramic polymer composites.
ISSN: 1748-3182
DOI: 10.1088/1748-3190/acd42d
Schools: School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
School of Materials Science and Engineering 
Rights: © 2023 IOP Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. IOP Publishing Ltd is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The definitive publisher authenticated version is available online at
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:MAE Journal Articles
MSE Journal Articles

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