Biomimetic Material Design New ideas - Novel Flexible Fatigue-Resistant Materials

Chinese Scientists reveal why hinge of Plicatula pectinoides is fatigue-resistant, providing new ideas for designing future novel flexible fatigue-resistant materials.

The team led by Academician Yu Shuhong of the University of Science and Technology of China, in collaboration with Professor Wu Hengan's team, has successfully revealed the fatigue-resistant mechanism of deformable biological mineral hard tissues in the hinge of the bivalve Plicatula pectinoides, and proposed a new fatigue-resistant strategy that combines multi-scale structural design with inherent component characteristics, providing new insights for the rational design and preparation of fatigue-resistant structural materials in the future. The relevant research results were published on June 23rd in the international academic journal "Science".

In this study, the research team explored the design principles of the fan-shaped tissue in the hinge of Plicatula pectinoides, and found that this biological tissue can withstand large deformations during the repetitive opening and closing movement of the bivalve, while maintaining the stability of its structure and function in the long term. Even after 1.5 million cycles, this biological tissue can still function stably without showing obvious fatigue behavior.

It is not easy to truly use natural principles for our own benefit. As early as 2013, this research began under the guidance of Yu Shuhong, and has been ongoing for more than 10 years.

To study the composition, structure, and the relationship between the two and the final performance of this biological material, the research team used mathematical approximation to simulate the state of the hinge of Plicatula pectinoides during deformation. After accumulating experience time and time again, the team finally successfully revealed the fatigue-resistant mechanism of the deformable biomineralization tissue inside the hinge of Plicatula pectinoides, clarified the mechanical behavior of the hinge tissue from macro to microstructure, and provided a clear and convincing physical image description of the multi-scale structure and fatigue-resistant properties of the hinge tissue.

The unique design principles of nature give the hinge tissue of Plicatula pectinoides high deformability and fatigue resistance. This study has successfully revealed the mechanism behind this, providing a new biomimetic model for the assembly and design of flexible functional materials, and providing new solutions for extending the service life of materials. It has important guiding significance for the development of flexible fatigue-resistant materials in the future.


With the development of small smart wearables in recent years, product flexibility has become a trend. It can be said that flexibility is an important direction for future product development. Foldable screen phones have gradually become a part of our daily lives. However, there are currently urgent problems that need to be solved in order to achieve reliable flexibility performance. The fatigue-resistant structural design strategy extracted from deformable biomineralization in the hinge of Plicatula pectinoides has universal guiding significance for the creation of flexible functional materials that require the use of brittle elements while also needing to withstand certain deformations.

Yu Shuhong believes that the future development prospects of biomimetic materials are very broad. Through new boinic design concepts, new materials with superior performance can be created, and they can play unique functions and application values in the fields of aerospace, special environments, and protection. This is also an important direction for the team's future efforts.

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