A reversibly strain stiffening material - the biomimetic approachWednesday (07.06.2017) 14:10 - 14:30 Förde II Part of:
Today´s strain stiffening materials show a very limited field of application because they are either stiffening non-reversibly or as a function of speed, or they have an extremely low initial stiffness. We use a cell-inspired approach to overcome these obstacles and make a strain-stiffening effect applicable to many rubber materials. Cells react to external forces by reversibly cross-linking cytoskeletal fibers and therefore increasing their stiffness. The material we are developing mimics this behavior. The elastomer is shaped such that deformation leads to a reversible interconnection of internal surfaces and, due to higher friction between these surfaces, to a stiffening of the material as a whole. This increased friction arises either from the material´s tack or can be increased by reversible biological binding-systems. FEM analysis has been used to optimize the sample shape to achieve a maximum effect. A successful implementation of this approach could revolutionize the field of strain stiffening materials and might find applications not only in biomaterials for tissue engineering, but also as special macroscopic shock absorbing structures.