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Concept: Compressive strength


There has been a growing interest in thermal management materials due to the prevailing energy challenges and unfulfilled needs for thermal insulation applications. We demonstrate the exceptional thermal management capabilities of a large-scale, hierarchal alignment of cellulose nanofibrils directly fabricated from wood, hereafter referred to as nanowood. Nanowood exhibits anisotropic thermal properties with an extremely low thermal conductivity of 0.03 W/m·K in the transverse direction (perpendicular to the nanofibrils) and approximately two times higher thermal conductivity of 0.06 W/m·K in the axial direction due to the hierarchically aligned nanofibrils within the highly porous backbone. The anisotropy of the thermal conductivity enables efficient thermal dissipation along the axial direction, thereby preventing local overheating on the illuminated side while yielding improved thermal insulation along the backside that cannot be obtained with isotropic thermal insulators. The nanowood also shows a low emissivity of <5% over the solar spectrum with the ability to effectively reflect solar thermal energy. Moreover, the nanowood is lightweight yet strong, owing to the effective bonding between the aligned cellulose nanofibrils with a high compressive strength of 13 MPa in the axial direction and 20 MPa in the transverse direction at 75% strain, which exceeds other thermal insulation materials, such as silica and polymer aerogels, Styrofoam, and wool. The excellent thermal management, abundance, biodegradability, high mechanical strength, low mass density, and manufacturing scalability of the nanowood make this material highly attractive for practical thermal insulation applications.

Concepts: Carbon, Heat, Materials science, Compressive strength, Heat transfer, Thermal insulation, Building insulation, Insulator


To enhance the strength-to-weight ratio of a material, one may try to either improve the strength or lower the density, or both. The lightest solid materials have a density in the range of 1,000 kg/m(3); only cellular materials, such as technical foams, can reach considerably lower values. However, compared with corresponding bulk materials, their specific strength generally is significantly lower. Cellular topologies may be divided into bending- and stretching-dominated ones. Technical foams are structured randomly and behave in a bending-dominated way, which is less weight efficient, with respect to strength, than stretching-dominated behavior, such as in regular braced frameworks. Cancellous bone and other natural cellular solids have an optimized architecture. Their basic material is structured hierarchically and consists of nanometer-size elements, providing a benefit from size effects in the material strength. Designing cellular materials with a specific microarchitecture would allow one to exploit the structural advantages of stretching-dominated constructions as well as size-dependent strengthening effects. In this paper, we demonstrate that such materials may be fabricated. Applying 3D laser lithography, we produced and characterized micro-truss and -shell structures made from alumina-polymer composite. Size-dependent strengthening of alumina shells has been observed, particularly when applied with a characteristic thickness below 100 nm. The presented artificial cellular materials reach compressive strengths up to 280 MPa with densities well below 1,000 kg/m(3).

Concepts: Structure, Materials science, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Solid mechanics, Physical compression, Specific strength, Buckling


This paper presents the effect of desliming on the short- and long-term strength, stability and rheological properties of cemented paste backfill (CPB) produced from two different mill tailings. A 28-day unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of ≥1.0 MPa and the maintenance of stability over 224 days of curing were selected as the design criteria for the evaluation of paste backfill performance. Desliming induced some changes in the physical, chemical, mineralogical and rheological properties of the tailings. CPB mixture of the deslimed tailings achieved the required consistency at a lower water to cement ratio. The short-term UCSs of CPB samples of the deslimed tailings were found to be 30-100% higher than those samples of the reference tailings at all the binder dosages and curing times. CPB samples of the deslimed tailings achieved the long-term stability at relatively low binder dosages (e.g. 5 wt% c.f. ≥6.1% for the reference tailings). It was also estimated that desliming could allow a 13.4-23.1% reduction in the binder consumption depending apparently on the inherent characteristics of the tailings. Over the curing period, generation of sulphate and acid by the oxidation of pyrite present in the tailings was also monitored to correlate with the strength losses observed in the long term. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry (MIP) analyses provided an insight into the microstructure of CPB and the formation of secondary mineral phases (i.e. gypsum) confirming the beneficial effect of desliming. These findings suggest that desliming can be suitably exploited for CPB of sulphide-rich mill tailings to improve the strength and stability particularly in the long term and to reduce binder consumption.

Concepts: Time, Electron, Mineral, Materials science, Term, Scanning electron microscope, Compressive strength, Concrete


The influence of cellulose ethers additives (CEAs) on the performance of final calcium phosphate cement (CPC) products is thoroughly investigated. Four CEAs were added into the liquid phase of apatitic CPCs based on the hydrolysis of α-tricalcium phosphate (α-TCP), to investigate the influence of both molecular weight and degree of substitution on the CPCs' properties, including handling properties (e.g. injectability, cohesion, washout resistance and setting time), microstructure (e.g. porosity and micromorphology) and mechanical properties (e.g. fracture toughness and compressive strength). The results showed that even a small amount of CEAs have modified most of these CPCs' features depending on the structural parameters of CEAs. The CEAs dramatically improved injectability, cohesion and washout resistance of the pastes, prolonged the final setting time and increased the porosity of CPCs. Moreover, the CEAs had an evident toughening effect on CPCs, and this effect become more significant with increasing molecular weight and mass fraction of CEAs, inducing also a significant tolerance to damage. Overall, the molecular weight of CEAs played a major role compared to their degree of substitution in CPCs' performances.

Concepts: Bone, Water, Mass, Calcium, Materials science, Cellulose, Compressive strength, Portland cement


PURPOSE: The stress relaxation and compressive strength of resin, resin-modified glass ionomer, glass ionomer, polycarboxylate, and zinc oxide eugenol cements were measured to determine the characteristics of these materials after setting. METHODS: A total of 19 luting cements including 12 permanent cements and 7 temporary cements were used. Cylindrical cement specimens (10mm long and 6mm in diameter) were obtained by chemical setting or light curing. The specimens were stored for 24-36h in water at 37°C and were then used for the stress relaxation and compression tests. The stress relaxation test was carried out using three constant cross-head speeds of 5, 50, and 100mm/min. Upon reaching the preset dislocation of 0.5mm, the cross-head movement was stopped, and the load was recorded for 60s. Fractional stress loss at 1s was calculated from the relaxation curves. The compressive strength and modulus were measured at a cross-head speed of 1mm/min. Data were analyzed with the Kruskal-Wallis test and Holm’s test. RESULTS: A zinc oxide eugenol cement [TempBOND NX] exhibited the largest fractional stress loss. A resin cement [ResiCem] showed the largest compressive strength, while a glass ionomer cement [HY-BOND GLASIONOMER CX] showed the largest compressive modulus among all tested cements (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: The fractional stress loss could not be classified by the cement type. Two implant cements [Multilink Implant and IP Temp Cement] showed similar properties with permanent resin cements and temporary glass ionomer cements, respectively. Careful consideration of the choice of cement is necessary.

Concepts: Materials science, Compressive strength, Zinc oxide, Portland cement, Glass ionomer cement, Zinc oxide eugenol, Eugenol, Dental materials


In this research, four types of waste seashells, including short-necked clam, green mussel, oyster, and cockle, were investigated experimentally to develop a cement product for masonry and plastering. The parameters studied included water demand, setting time, compressive strength, drying shrinkage and thermal conductivity of the mortars. These properties were compared with those of a control mortar that was made of a conventional Portland cement. The main parameter of this study was the proportion of ground seashells used as cement replacement (5%, 10%, 15%, or 20% by weight). Incorporation of ground seashells resulted in reduced water demand and extended setting times of the mortars, which are advantages for rendering and plastering in hot climates. All mortars containing ground seashells yielded adequate strength, less shrinkage with drying and lower thermal conductivity compared to the conventional cement. The results indicate that ground seashells can be applied as a cement replacement in mortar mixes and may improve the workability of rendering and plastering mortar.

Concepts: Compressive strength, Bivalvia, Physical compression, Portland cement, Cement, Mortar, Concrete, Stucco


Bone tissue regeneration in load-bearing regions of the body requires high strength porous scaffolds capable of supporting angiogenesis and osteogenesis. 70% porous Nitinol (NiTi) scaffolds with a regular 3-D architecture resembling trabecular bone were produced from Ni foams using an original reactive vapor infiltration technique. The ‘trabecular Nitinol’ scaffolds possessed a high compressive strength of 79 MPa and high permeability of 6.9x10(-6) cm(2). The scaffolds were further modified to produce a near Ni-free surface layer and evaluated in terms of Ni ion release and human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) proliferation (AlamarBlue), differentiation (alkaline phosphatase activity, ALP) and mineralization (Alizarin Red S staining). Scanning electron microscopy was employed to qualitatively corroborate the results. hMSCs were able to adhere and proliferate on both as-produced and surface modified ‘trabecular NiTi’ scaffolds, to acquire an osteoblastic phenotype and produce a mineralized extracellular matrix. Both ALP activity and mineralization were increased on porous scaffolds compared to control polystyrene plates. Experiments in a model coculture system of microvascular endothelial cells and hMSCs demonstrated the formation of pre-vascular structures in ‘trabecular NiTi’ scaffolds. These data suggest that load-bearing ‘trabecular Nitinol’ scaffolds could be effective in regenerating damaged or lost bone tissue.

Concepts: Extracellular matrix, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Cellular differentiation, Tissues, Compressive strength


Silk fibroin cryogels with remarkable properties were obtained from frozen fibroin solutions (4.2 - 12.6 %) at subzero temperatures between -5 and -22oC. This was achieved by the addition of ethylene glycol diglycidyl ether (EGDE) into the cryogelation system. EGDE triggers the conformational transition of fibroin from random coil to β-sheet structure and hence fibroin gelation. One of the unique features of fibroin cryogels is their elasticity that allows them to resist complete compression without any crack development, during which water inside the cryogel is removed. The compressed cryogel immediately swells during unloading to recover its original shape. The scaffolds obtained by freeze-drying of the cryogels consist of regular, interconnected pores of diameters ranging from 50 to 10 μm that could be regulated by the synthesis parameters. The mechanical compressive strength and the modulus of the scaffolds increase with decreasing pore diameter, that is, with decreasing gelation temperature or, with increasing fibroin or EGDE concentrations in the feed. The scaffolds produced at 12.6 % fibroin exhibit a very high compressive modulus (50 MPa) making them good candidates as bone scaffold materials.

Concepts: Probability theory, Materials science, Compressive strength, Young's modulus, Elasticity, Ethylene glycol, Physical compression, Compressive stress


PURPOSE: In the present study we evaluated a novel processing technique for the continuous production of hotmelt extruded controlled release matrix systems. A cutting technique derived from plastics industry, where it is widely used for cutting of cables and wires was adapted into the production line. Extruded strands were shaped by a rotary-fly cutter. Special focus is laid on the development of a process analytical technology by evaluating signals obtained from the servo control of the rotary fly cutter. The intention is to provide a better insight into the production process and to offer the ability to detect small variations in process-variables. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A co-rotating twin-screw extruder ZSE 27 HP-PH from Leistritz (Nürnberg, Germany) was used to plasticize the starch; critical extrusion parameters were recorded. Still elastic strands were shaped by a rotary fly-cutter type Dynamat 20 from Metzner (Neu-Ulm, Germany). Properties of the final products were analyzed via digital image analysis to point out critical parameters influencing the quality. Important aspects were uniformity of diameter, height, roundness, weight and variations in the cutting angle. Stability of the products was measured by friability tests and by determining the crushing strength of the final products. Drug loading studies up to 70% were performed to evaluate the capacity of the matrix and to prove the technological feasibility. Changes in viscosities during API addition were analyzed by a Haake Minilab capillary rheometer. X-ray studies were performed to investigate molecular structures of the matrices. RESULTS: External shapes of the products were highly affected by die-swelling of the melt. Reliable reproducibility concerning uniformity of mass could be achieved even for high production rates (>2500 cuts/min). Both mechanical strength and die swelling of the products could be linked to the ratio of amylose to amylopectin. Formulations containing up to 70% of API could still be processed. Viscosity measurements revealed the plasticizing effect caused by API addition. Dissolution data proved the suitability of extruded starch matrices as a sustained release dosage form. Monitoring of consumed energies during the cutting process could be linked to changes in viscosity. The established PAT system enables the detection of small variations in material properties and can be an important tool to further improve process stability.

Concepts: Viscosity, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Work hardening, Industry, Extrusion, Rheometer, Starch gelatinization


Biocompatibility, injectability and in situ self-setting are characteristics of calcium phosphate cements which make them promising materials for a wide range of clinical applications in traumatology and maxillo-facial surgery. One of the main disadvantages is their relatively low strength which restricts their use to nonload-bearing applications. α-Tricalcium phosphate (α-C3 P) cement sets into calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite (CDHA), which is biocompatible and plays an essential role in the formation, growth and maintenance of tissue-biomaterial interface. β-Dicalcium silicate (β-C2 S) and tricalcium aluminate (C3 A) are Portland cement components, these compounds react with water to form hydrated phases that enhance mechanical strength of the end products. In this study, setting time, compressive strength (CS) and in vitro bioactivity and biocompatibility were evaluated to determine the influence of addition of β-C2 S and C3 A to α-C3 P-based cement. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy were used to investigate phase composition and morphological changes in cement samples. Addition of C3 A resulted in cements having suitable setting times, but low CS, only partial conversion into CDHA and cytotoxicity. However, addition of β-C2 S delayed the setting times but promoted total conversion into CDHA by soaking in simulated body fluid and strengthened the set cement over the limit strength of cancellous bone. The best properties were obtained for cement added with 10 wt % of β-C2 S, which showed in vitro bioactivity and cytocompatibility, making it a suitable candidate as bone substitute. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2014.

Concepts: Calcium, Materials science, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Physical compression, Portland cement, Cement, Tricalcium aluminate