Many structures and materials from flora and fauna alike exhibit astounding fracture resistance. Biologically this ensures, for instance, protection of seeds against predators, or life-long processing of food in the case of teeth. At FGWT, we investigate the fracture behaviour of nut- and seed shells, bracket fungi, and of tooth components, and we transfer structural features identified as especially important to glass- and ceramic based composites. For instance, we process glass foams with hierarchical porosity by 3D printing, microwave foaming, and continuous freeze casting, or layered zirconia constructs by electrophoretic deposition. We combine mechanical testing on the macro-, micro- and nanoscale, 2D/3D visualisation of deformation and failure, and finite element simulations to understand the influence of structural features on different length scales and their interactions with the resistance to failure under quasi-static and fatigue loading.
Claudia Fleck is head of the Chair of Materials Science & Engineering at Technische Universität Berlin. Her lab focuses on the understanding of the relationship between microstructure and mechanical-properties of biological, bio-inspired and biomedical materials. An important centre of interest is fatigue behaviour while mimicking the complex in vivo loading and environmental conditions as closely as possible and necessary. Claudia has extensive experience in characterisation of hierarchical structures across length scales, and in developing and applying customised mechanical testing set-ups in situ, together with 2D/3D evaluation of deformation and failure mechanisms.
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