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The role of quasi-plasticity in the extreme contact damage tolerance of the stomatopod dactyl club

Abstract

The structure of the stomatopod dactyl club—an ultrafast, hammer-like device used by the animal to shatter hard seashells—offers inspiration for impact-tolerant ceramics. Here, we present the micromechanical principles and related micromechanisms of deformation that impart the club with high impact tolerance. By using depth-sensing nanoindentation with spherical and sharp contact tips in combination with post-indentation residual stress mapping by Raman microspectroscopy, we show that the impact surface region of the dactyl club exhibits a quasi-plastic contact response associated with the interfacial sliding and rotation of fluorapatite nanorods, endowing the club with localized yielding. We also show that the subsurface layers exhibit strain hardening by microchannel densification, which provides additional dissipation of impact energy. Our findings suggest that the club’s macroscopic size is below the critical size above which Hertzian brittle cracks are nucleated.

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Figure 1: Fractured shell impacted by a stomatopod dactyl club, and overview of dactyl clubs visualized by macro-photography and microCT scan.
Figure 2: Indentation response of the smasher dactyl club in distinct layers.
Figure 3: Contact deformation and damage mechanisms of the dactyl clubs revealed by post-indentation FESEM observations of the planes beneath the contact points.
Figure 4: Multi-scale indentation fracture studies of the dactyl clubs.
Figure 5: Sharp contact indentation and residual stress fields in the dactyl clubs, and comparison with geologic FAP.

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Acknowledgements

This research is financially supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) through a NRF Fellowship awarded to A.M. S.A. and M.T. are supported by a Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA fellowship). We thank T. Baikie for providing the geologic FAP sample, A. Krishna for assistance with sample preparation, A. Serjouei and M. Qwamizadeh for advice on DFEA simulations, and A. Cohen for providing access to the microCT equipment.

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S.A. conducted all experiments and DFEA simulations, and performed all data analysis. M.T. helped conduct nanoindentation experiments, DFEA simulations, and Raman spectroscopy data analysis. S.I. advised on Hertzian indentation experiments, supervised DFEA simulations, and provided editorial comments. A.M. designed and supervised the study. A.M. and S.A. wrote the paper with input from all authors.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ali Miserez.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Amini, S., Tadayon, M., Idapalapati, S. et al. The role of quasi-plasticity in the extreme contact damage tolerance of the stomatopod dactyl club. Nature Mater 14, 943–950 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat4309

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