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Concept: Compressive stress


Object Bicycle accidents are a very important cause of clinically important traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. One factor that has been shown to mitigate the severity of lesions associated with TBI in such scenarios is the proper use of a helmet. The object of this study was to test and evaluate the protection afforded by a children’s bicycle helmet to human cadaver skulls with a child’s anthropometry in both “impact” and “crushing” situations. Methods The authors tested human skulls with and without bicycle helmets in drop tests in a monorail-guided free-fall impact apparatus from heights of 6 to 48 in onto a flat steel anvil. Unhelmeted skulls were dropped at 6 in, with progressive height increases until failure (fracture). The maximum resultant acceleration rates experienced by helmeted and unhelmeted skulls on impact were recorded by an accelerometer attached to the skulls. In addition, compressive forces were applied to both helmeted and unhelmeted skulls in progressive amounts. The tolerance in each circumstance was recorded and compared between the two groups. Results Helmets conferred up to an 87% reduction in so-called mean maximum resultant acceleration over unhelmeted skulls. In compression testing, helmeted skulls were unable to be crushed in the compression fixture up to 470 pound-force (approximately 230 kgf), whereas both skull and helmet alone failed in testing. Conclusions Children’s bicycle helmets provide measurable protection in terms of attenuating the acceleration experienced by a skull on the introduction of an impact force. Moreover, such helmets have the durability to mitigate the effects of a more rare but catastrophic direct compressive force. Therefore, the use of bicycle helmets is an important preventive tool to reduce the incidence of severe associated TBI in children as well as to minimize the morbidity of its neurological consequences.

Concepts: Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Compressive stress, Bicycle, Motorcycle helmet, Helmet, Bicycle helmet, Helmets


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


One of the major challenges facing researchers of tissue engineering is scaffold design with desirable physical and mechanical properties for growth and proliferation of cells and tissue formation. In this research, firstly, nano-bioglass powder with grain sizes of 55-56 nm was prepared by melting method of industrial raw materials at 1,400 °C. Then the porous ceramic scaffold of bioglass with 30, 40 and 50 wt% was prepared by using the polyurethane sponge replication method. The scaffolds were coated with poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (P3HB) for 30 s and 1 min in order to increase the scaffold’s mechanical properties. XRD, XRF, SEM, FE-SEM and FT-IR were used for phase and component studies, morphology, particle size and determination of functional groups, respectively. XRD and XRF results showed that the type of the produced bioglass was 45S5. The results of XRD and FT-IR showed that the best temperature to produce bioglass scaffold was 600 °C, in which Na2Ca2Si3O9 crystal is obtained. By coating the scaffolds with P3HB, a composite scaffold with optimal porosity of 80-87 % in 200-600 μm and compression strength of 0.1-0.53 MPa was obtained. According to the results of compressive strength and porosity tests, the best kind of scaffold was produced with 30 wt% of bioglass immersed for 1 min in P3HB. To evaluate the bioactivity of the scaffold, the SBF solution was used. The selected scaffold (30 wt% bioglass/6 wt% P3HB) was maintained for up to 4 weeks in this solution at an incubation temperature of 37 °C. The XRD, SEM EDXA and AAS tests were indicative of hydroxyapatite formation on the surface of bioactive scaffold. This scaffold has some potential to use in bone tissue engineering.

Concepts: Petroleum, Materials science, Porosity, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Physical compression, Deformation, Compressive stress


The villi of the human and chick gut are formed in similar stepwise progressions, wherein the mesenchyme and attached epithelium first fold into longitudinal ridges, then a zigzag pattern, and finally individual villi. We find that these steps of villification depend on the sequential differentiation of the distinct smooth muscle layers of the gut, which restrict the expansion of the growing endoderm and mesenchyme, generating compressive stresses that lead to their buckling and folding. A quantitative computational model, incorporating measured properties of the developing gut, recapitulates the morphological patterns seen during villification in a variety of species. These results provide a mechanistic understanding of the formation of these elaborations of the lining of the gut, essential for providing sufficient surface area for nutrient absorption.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Sociology, Stomach, Integral, Mathematical analysis, Smooth muscle, Surface area, Compressive stress


Sea urchin spines (Heterocentrotus mammillatus), with hierarchical open-cell structures similar to human trabecular bone, and superior mechanical property (compressive strength ~43.4 MPa) suitable for machining to shape, are explored for potential applications to bone defect repair. Finite element analyses reveal that the compressive stress concentrates along the dense growth rings and dissipates through strut structures of the stereoms, indicating that the exquisite mesostructures play an important role in high strength-to-weight ratios. The fracture strength of magnesium-substituted tricalcium phosphate (β-TCMP) scaffolds, produced by hydrothermal conversion of urchin spines, is about 9.3 MPa, comparable to that of human trabecular bone. New bone forms along outer surfaces of β-TCMP scaffolds after implantation in rabbit femoral defects for one month, and grows into the majority of the inner open-cell spaces post-operation in three months, showing tight interface between the scaffold and regenerative bone tissue. Fusion of beagle lumbar facet joints using a Ti-6Al-4V cage and β-TCMP scaffold can be completed within seven months with obvious biodegradation of the β-TCMP scaffold, which is nearly completely degraded and replaced by newly-formed bone after ten months implantation. Thus, sea urchin spines suitable for machining to shape have advantages for production of biodegradable artificial grafts for bone defect repair.

Concepts: Bone, Skeletal system, Materials science, Osseous tissue, Compressive strength, Physical compression, Sea urchin, Compressive stress


Nanoscale stress-sensing can be used across fields ranging from detection of incipient cracks in structural mechanics to monitoring forces in biological tissues. We demonstrate how tetrapod quantum dots (tQDs) embedded in block-copolymers act as sensors of tensile/compressive stress. Remarkably, tQDs can detect their own composite dispersion and mechanical properties, with a switch in optomechanical response when tQDs are in direct contact. Using experimental characterizations, atomistic simulations and finite-element analyses, we show that under tensile stress, densely-packed tQDs exhibit a photoluminescence peak shifted to higher energies (“blue-shift”) due to volumetric compressive stress in their core; loosely-packed tQDs exhibit a peak shifted to lower energies (“red-shift”) from tensile stress in the core. The stress-shifts result from the tQD’s unique branched morphology in which the CdS arms act as antennas that amplify the stress in the CdSe core. Our nanocomposites exhibit excellent cyclability and scalability with no degraded properties of the host polymer. Colloidal tQDs allow sensing in many materials to potentially enable auto-responsive, smart structural nanocomposites that self-predict impending fracture.

Concepts: Redshift, Polymer, Force, Materials science, Classical mechanics, Solid mechanics, Compressive stress, Tensile stress


Subduction zone megathrust faults produce most of the world’s largest earthquakes. Although the physical properties of these faults are difficult to observe directly, their frictional strength can be estimated indirectly by constraining the orientations of the stresses that act on them. A global investigation of stress orientations in subduction zones finds that the maximum compressive stress axis plunges systematically trenchward, consistently making an angle of 45° to 60° with respect to the subduction megathrust fault. These angles indicate that the megathrust fault is not substantially weaker than its surroundings. Together with several other lines of evidence, this implies that subduction zone megathrusts are weak faults in a low-stress environment. The deforming outer accretionary wedge may decouple the stress state along the megathrust from the constraints of the free surface.

Concepts: Earth, Plate tectonics, Geology, English language, Angle, Earthquake, Compressive stress, Subduction


Diabetes is associated with an exaggerated platelet thrombotic response at sites of vascular injury. Biomechanical forces regulate platelet activation, although the impact of diabetes on this process remains ill-defined. Using a biomembrane force probe (BFP), we demonstrate that compressive force activates integrin αIIbβ3on discoid diabetic platelets, increasing its association rate with immobilized fibrinogen. This compressive force-induced integrin activation is calcium and PI 3-kinase dependent, resulting in enhanced integrin affinity maturation and exaggerated shear-dependent platelet adhesion. Analysis of discoid platelet aggregation in the mesenteric circulation of mice confirmed that diabetes leads to a marked enhancement in the formation and stability of discoid platelet aggregates, via a mechanism that is not inhibited by therapeutic doses of aspirin and clopidogrel, but is eliminated by PI 3-kinase inhibition. These studies demonstrate the existence of a compression force sensing mechanism linked to αIIbβ3adhesive function that leads to a distinct prothrombotic phenotype in diabetes.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Coagulation, Fibrin, Platelet, Clopidogrel, Von Willebrand factor, Aspirin, Compressive stress


Asperities play a central role in the mechanical and electrical properties of contacting surfaces. Changes in trends of uniaxial compression of an asperity tip in contact with a polycrystalline substrate as a function of substrate geometry, compressive stress and applied voltage are investigated here by implementation of a coupled continuum and atomistic approach. Surprisingly, an unmodified Au polycrystalline substrate is found to be softer than one containing a void for conditions of high stress and an applied voltage of 0.2 V. This is explained in terms of the temperature distribution and weakening of Au as a function of temperature. The findings in this communication are important to the design of materials for electrical contacts because applied conditions may play a role in reversing relative hardness of the materials for conditions experienced during operation.

Concepts: Electricity, Heat, Materials science, Electric heating, Surfaces, Compressive stress, Contact, Compression


Single grit scratching is a basic form of material removal for many processes, such as grinding single point diamond turning and coating bonding performance tests. It has been widely used in the study of micro-scale and nano-scale material removal mechanisms. In this study, single grit linearly loading scratching tests were carried out on a scratching tester. A Rockwell indenter made of natural diamond was selected as the tool used, and the material of the workpiece was oxygen-free copper. Scratch topography was measured using a super-depth microscope to analyze the material deformation of the scratching process. A single grit scratching simulation has been developed by AdvantEdge™ to comprehensively study the material deformation of scratching processes. A material constitutive model and friction model were acquired using a quasi-static uniaxial compression experiment and a reciprocating friction test, respectively. These two models were used as the input models in the finite simulations. The simulated scratching forces aligned well with the experimental scratching forces, which verified the precision of the simulation model. Since only the scratching force could be obtained in the scratching experiment, the plastic strain, material flow, and residual stress of the scratching were further analyzed using simulations. The results showed that the plastic strain of the workpiece increased with the increase in scratching depth, and further analysis showed that the workpiece surface was distributed with residual compressive stress and the sub-surface was distributed with residual tensile stress in single grit scratching.

Concepts: Continuum mechanics, Copper, Simulation, Force, Elasticity, Solid mechanics, Compressive stress, Tensile stress