Mechanical Engineering Honours Thesis projects available:
The Deformation and Fracture of Hard Biological Materials
Many hard biological tissues such as mollusk shells, teeth or bone are extremely well constructed and
exhibit remarkable combinations of stiffness, strength and toughness. For example, a material like
mother-of-pearl from seashells is 3,000 times tougher than the fragile ceramic of which it is made.
With such impressive performances, these natural materials are becoming a significant source of
inspiration for engineers. Biomimetics - the science of imitating nature - is a growing multidisciplinary
field which is now leading to the fabrication of novel materials with remarkable mechanical properties.
One of the missions of Biomimetic Materials Laboratory is to characterize the complex structure of
hard biological materials and to investigate their mechanical performance though experiments and
There are several available honours thesis projects, including:
• Structure characterization using optical, electron and scanning probe microscopy.
• Small-scale mechanical experiments: tension, shear, and fracture tests on millimeter size
samples with in-situ monitoring of deformation and fracture processes.
• Numerical modeling including finite elements, microstructure-based representative volumes.
The materials of interest include:
• Mother-of-pearl (nacre) from seashells.
• Tooth dentin, tooth enamel.
• Fish scales.
Abalone shell Lungfish experiment with in-situ microscopy
Microstructure-based fracture models
More information: Contact Prof. Francois Barthelat: firstname.lastname@example.org