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Variable stiffness biological and bio-inspired materials

Friswell, Michael I.; Saavedra Flores, Erick I.; Friswell, Michael; Xia, Yuying


Michael I. Friswell

Erick I. Saavedra Flores

Michael Friswell


This article reviews the main mechanisms of stiffness variation typically found in nature. The temporal changes in stiffness may be fully or partially reversible, or completely irreversible, and can be very slow or fast in time depending on the strategy adopted to alter the mechanical properties. It is also possible to observe changes in the stiffness in order to recover the original mechanical properties in damaged natural materials by means of self-healing mechanisms. In addition to stiffness variations in time, natural materials can also exhibit stiffness changes in space. These variations can be represented by alterations in the spatial distribution of the microscopic constituents across multiple hierarchical scales, from very small physical scales to large macroscopic dimensions. In order to optimise the strength and multifunctionality of these materials, spatial changes can also occur over larger areas at one single scale. In addition, several examples are provided to illustrate how natural materials have been exploited further in order to develop new bio-inspired materials. © 2012 The Author(s).


Friswell, M. I., Saavedra Flores, E. I., Friswell, M., & Xia, Y. (2013). Variable stiffness biological and bio-inspired materials. Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, 24(5), 529-540.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Mar 1, 2013
Journal Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Print ISSN 1045-389X
Electronic ISSN 1530-8138
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 5
Pages 529-540
Keywords variable stiffness, natural materials, bio-inspired materials
Public URL
Publisher URL

This file is under embargo due to copyright reasons.

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