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Title: Bioinspired investigation via X-ray microtomography
Author: North, Laura E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 5356
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2018
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Biological materials and systems are increasingly studied to provide inspiration, through the correlation of structure and function, for the design of materials in areas such as technology, engineering and medicine. X-ray microtomography allows three dimensional and non-destructive visualisation of both internal and external structures. It is the primary method used in this study to identify and investigate these natural structures and their functions. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis is performed on the resulting 3D volumetric data. Further insight is achieved by incorporating complementary methods including high-resolution electron microscopy, nanoindentation and additive layer manufacturing, to characterise the structures at varying length scales in terms of their structural, chemical and mechanical properties. Two detailed case studies are given: the vertebrae of the hero shrew (Scutisorex somereni); and the cuttlebone of Sepia officinalis. Hero shrew vertebrae are analysed for the first time using X-ray microtomography. Large variations in vertebrae volume, surface area and pillar count are shown across samples. Additive layer manufacturing is used to test a simple method for understanding flexibility across the vertebrae. The results show limitations of movement in certain directions, giving potential inspiration for applications in robotics and flexible shafts. The diversity of internal architecture of the cuttlebone is captured for the first time in three dimensions, highlighting substantial variation in the morphology of pillars. New frameworks are established for pillar morphology across the cuttlebone. These provide a greater understanding to the relationship between pillar morphology and fluid interaction with the structures of the cuttlebone. Mechanical analysis via time-lapse compression testing shows a progressive collapse mechanism of the chambers. The morphology and properties investigated can provide inspiration for improved design of cellular structures, energy absorption and protection, and potentially for the design of a sophisticated buoyancy device.
Supervisor: Johnston, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral