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Concept: Shock absorber


Abstract -  Aim: Experimental materials incorporating fiberglass cloth were used to develop a thin and lightweight face guard (FG). This study aims to evaluate the effect of fiberglass reinforcement on the flexural and shock absorption properties compared with conventional thermoplastic materials. Material and Method: Four commercial 3.2-mm and 1.6-mm medical splint materials (Aquaplast, Polyform, Co-polymer, and Erkodur) and two experimental materials were examined for use in FGs. The experimental materials were prepared by embedding two or four sheets of a plain woven fiberglass cloth on both surfaces of 1.5-mm Aquaplast. The flexural strength and flexural modulus were determined using a three-point bending test. The shock absorption properties were evaluated for a 5200-N impact load using the first peak intensity with a load cell system and the maximum stress with a film sensor system. Results and Conclusions: The flexural strength (74.6 MPa) and flexural modulus (6.3 GPa) of the experimental material with four sheets were significantly greater than those of the 3.2-mm commercial specimens, except for the flexural strength of one product. The first peak intensity (515 N) and maximum stress (2.2 MPa) of the experimental material with four sheets were significantly lower than those of the commercial 3.2-mm specimens, except for one product for each property. These results suggest that the thickness and weight of the FG can be reduced using the experimental fiber-reinforced material.

Concepts: Shock, Materials science, Tensile strength, Material, Pascal, Young's modulus, Thermoplastic, Shock absorber


Nurses and other NHS staff have become ‘shock absorbers’ for a health service under chronic strain, according to a report.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Shock, Shock absorber


Hedgehogs are agile climbers, scaling trees and plants to heights exceeding 10m while foraging insects. Hedgehog spines (a.k.a. quills) provide fall protection by absorbing shock and could offer insights for the design of lightweight, material-efficient, impact-resistant structures. There has been some study of flexural properties of hedgehog spines, but an understanding of how this keratinous biological material is affected by various temperature and relative humidity treatments, or how spine color (multicolored vs. white) affects mechanics, is lacking. To bridge this gap in the literature, we use three-point bending to analyze the effect of temperature, humidity, spine color, and their interactions on flexural strength and modulus of hedgehog spines. We also compare specific strength and stiffness of hedgehog spines to conventional engineered materials. We find hedgehog spine flexural properties can be finely tuned by modifying environmental conditioning parameters. White spines tend to be stronger and stiffer than multicolored spines. Finally, for most temperature and humidity conditioning parameters, hedgehog spines are ounce for ounce stronger than 201 stainless steel rods of the same diameter but as pliable as styrene rods with a slightly larger diameter. This unique combination of strength and elasticity makes hedgehog spines exemplary shock absorbers, and a suitable reference model for biomimicry.

Concepts: Materials science, Physical quantities, Humidity, Relative humidity, Stiffness, Specific strength, Shock absorber, Hedgehog


The intervertebral discs (IVDs) provide unique flexibility to the spine and exceptional shock absorbing properties under impact. The inner core of the IVD, the nucleus pulposus (NP) is responsible for this adaptive behavior. Herein we evaluate an injectable, self-healing dynamic hydrogel (DH) based on gold(I)-thiolate/disulfide (Au-S/SS) exchange as NP replacement on ex-vivo models. For the first time we report the application of dynamic covalent hydrogels inside biological tissues. The dynamic exchange between Au-S species and disulfide bonds (SS) resulted in self-healing ability and frequency-dependent stiffness of the hydrogel, which was also confirmed in spine motion segments. Injection of DH into nucleotomized IVDs restored the biomechanical properties of intact IVDs, including the stiffening effect observed at increasing frequencies. DH has the potential to counteract IVD degeneration associated with high frequency vibrations. The persistence of DH in the IVD space following cyclic high-frequency loading, confirmed by tomography after mechanical testing, suggests that this material would have long life span as NP replacement material.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Shock, Disulfide bond, Frequency, Intervertebral disc, High frequency, The Spine, Shock absorber


The periodontal ligament (PDL) connects the tooth root and alveolar bone. It is an aligned fibrous network that is interposed between, and anchored to, both mineralized surfaces. Periodontal disease is common and reduces the ability of the PDL to act as a shock absorber, a barrier for pathogens and a sensor of mastication. Although disease progression can be stopped, current therapies do not primarily focus on tissue regeneration. Functional regeneration of PDL may be achieved using innovative techniques, such as tissue engineering. However, the complex fibrillar architecture of the PDL, essential to withstand high forces, makes PDL tissue engineering very challenging. This challenge may be met by studying PDL anatomy and development. Understanding PDL anatomy, development and maintenance provides clues regarding the specific events that need to be mimicked for the formation of this intricate tissue. Owing to the specific composition of the PDL, which develops by self-organization, a different approach than the typical combination of biomaterials, growth factors and regenerative cells is necessary for functional PDL engineering. Most specifically, the architecture of the new PDL to be formed does not need to be dictated by textured biomaterials but can emerge from the local mechanical loading conditions. Elastic hydrogels are optimal to fill the space properly between tooth and bone, may house cells and growth factors to enhance regeneration and allow self-optimization by the alignment to local stresses. We suggest that cells and materials should be placed in a proper mechanical environment to initiate a process of self-organization resulting in a functional architecture of the PDL.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Liver, Cellular differentiation, Engineering, Periodontology, Ligament, Periodontal ligament, Shock absorber


The long-term chemical instability and the presence of toxic Pb in otherwise stellar solar absorber APbX3 made of organic molecules on the A site and halogens for X have hindered their large-scale commercialization. Previously explored ways to achieve Pb-free halide perovskites involved replacing Pb(2+) with other similar M(2+) cations in ns(2) electron configuration, e.g., Sn(2+) or by Bi(3+) (plus Ag(+)), but unfortunately this showed either poor stability (M = Sn) or weakly absorbing oversized indirect gaps (M = Bi), prompting concerns that perhaps stability and good optoelectronic properties might be contraindicated. Herein, we exploit the electronic structure underpinning of classic Cu[In,Ga]Se2 (CIGS) chalcopyrite solar absorbers to design Pb-free halide perovskites by transmuting 2Pb to the pair [B(IB) + C(III)] such as [Cu + Ga] or [Ag + In] and combinations thereof. The resulting group of double perovskites with formula A2BCX6 (A = K, Rb, Cs; B = Cu, Ag; C = Ga, In; X = Cl, Br, I) benefits from the ionic, yet narrow-gap character of halide perovskites, and at the same time borrows the advantage of the strong and rapidly rising Cu(d)/Se(p)→Ga/In(s/p) valence-to-conduction-band absorption spectra known from CIGS. This constitutes a new group of CuIn-based Halide Perovskite (CIHP). Our first-principles calculations guided by such design principles indicate that the CIHPs class has members with clear thermodynamic stability, showing rather strong direct-gap optical transitions, and manifesting a wide-range of tunable gap values (from zero to about 2.5 eV) and combination of light electron and heavy-light hole effective masses. Materials screening of candidate CIHPs then identifies the best-of-class Rb2[CuIn]Cl6, Rb2[AgIn]Br6, and Cs2[AgIn]Br6, having direct band gaps of 1.36, 1.46, and 1.50 eV, and theoretical spectroscopic limited maximal efficiency comparable to chalcopyrites and CH3NH3PbI3. Our finding offers new routine for designing new-type Pb-free halide perovskite solar absorbers.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Atom, Absorption, Perovskite, Electron configuration, Atomic orbital, Halogen, Shock absorber


This work for the first time reports the results on study of a polymer-free carbon nanotube (CNT) films used as a saturable absorber in an all-fibre laser. It is demonstrated that free-standing single-walled CNT films fabricated by an aerosol method are able to ensure generation of transform-limited pulses in an Er all-fibre ring laser with duration of several picoseconds and high quality of mode locking. The optimal average output power levels are identified, amounting to 0.4-0.5 mW depending on the linear transmission of the studied samples (60% or 80%). Application of polymer-free CNT films solves problems related to degradation of conventional polymer matrices of CNT-based saturable absorbers and paves the way to longer-lasting and more reliable saturable absorbers compatible with all-fibre laser configurations.

Concepts: Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Graphene, Nonlinear optics, Lasers, Fiber laser, Shock absorber, Saturable absorption


Dystrophin is a large sub-sarcolemmal protein. Its absence leads to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Binding to the sarcolemma is essential for dystrophin to protect muscle from contraction-induced injury. It has long been thought that membrane binding of dystrophin depends on its cysteine-rich domain (CR). Here we provide in vivo evidence suggesting that dystrophin contains three additional membrane-binding domains including spectrin-like repeats ®1-3, R10-12 and C-terminus (CT). To systematically study dystrophin membrane binding, we split full-length dystrophin into ten fragments and examined subcellular localizations of each fragment by adeno-associated virus-mediated gene transfer. In skeletal muscle, R1-3, CR and CT were exclusively localized at the sarcolemma. R10-12 showed both cytosolic and sarcolemmal localization. Importantly, the CR-independent membrane binding was conserved in murine and canine muscles. A critical function of the CR-mediated membrane interaction is the assembly of the dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex (DGC). While R1-3 and R10-12 did not restore the DGC, surprisingly, CT alone was sufficient to establish the DGC at the sarcolemma. Additional studies suggest that R1-3 and CT also bind to the sarcolemma in the heart, though relatively weak. Taken together, our study provids the first conclusive in vivo evidence that dystrophin contains multiple independent membrane-binding domains. These structurally and functionally distinctive membrane-binding domains provide a molecular framework for dystrophin to function as a shock absorber and signaling hub. Our results not only shed critical light on dystrophin biology and DMD pathogenesis, but also provide a foundation for rationally engineering minimized dystrophins for DMD gene therapy.

Concepts: Gene, Cell membrane, Muscle, Muscular system, Muscular dystrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Localization, Shock absorber


Custom-fitted mouthguards are devices used to prevent dental injuries. The aim of this study was to verify the influence of the antagonist contact on the stresses and strains of the anterior teeth, shock absorption and displacement of EVA custom-fitted mouthguards during a horizontal impact.

Concepts: Teeth, Tooth, Physical trauma, Shock absorber


Structures and materials absorbing mechanical (shock) energy commonly exploit either viscoelasticity or destructive modifications. Based on a class of uniaxial light-weight geometrically nonlinear mechanical microlattices and using buckling of inner elements, either a sequence of snap-ins followed by irreversible hysteretic - yet repeatable - self-recovery or multistability is achieved, enabling programmable behavior. Proof-of-principle experiments on three-dimensional polymer microstructures are presented.

Concepts: Materials science, Social class, Geometric progression, Shock absorber