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Concept: Tensile strength


The extraordinary properties of graphene and carbon nanotubes motivate the development of methods for their use in producing continuous, strong, tough fibres. Previous work has shown that the toughness of the carbon nanotube-reinforced polymer fibres exceeds that of previously known materials. Here we show that further increased toughness results from combining carbon nanotubes and reduced graphene oxide flakes in solution-spun polymer fibres. The gravimetric toughness approaches 1,000 J g(-1), far exceeding spider dragline silk (165 J g(-1)) and Kevlar (78 J g(-1)). This toughness enhancement is consistent with the observed formation of an interconnected network of partially aligned reduced graphene oxide flakes and carbon nanotubes during solution spinning, which act to deflect cracks and allow energy-consuming polymer deformation. Toughness is sensitive to the volume ratio of the reduced graphene oxide flakes to the carbon nanotubes in the spinning solution and the degree of graphene oxidation. The hybrid fibres were sewable and weavable, and could be shaped into high-modulus helical springs.

Concepts: Redox, Nitrogen, Graphene, Carbon nanotube, Carbon dioxide, Tensile strength, Spider silk, Carbon


PURPOSE: To compare the biomechanical and technical properties of flexor tendon repairs using a 4-strand cruciate FiberWire (FW) repair and a 2-strand multifilament stainless steel (MFSS) single cross-lock cable-crimp system. METHODS: Eight tests were conducted for each type of repair using cadaver hand flexor digitorum profundus tendons. We measured the required surgical exposure, repair time, and force of flexion (friction) with a custom motor system with an inline load cell and measured ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and 2-mm gap force on a servo-hydraulic testing machine. RESULTS: Repair time averaged less than 7 minutes for the 2-strand MFSS cable crimp repairs and 12 minutes for the FW repairs. The FW repair was performed with 2 cm of exposure and removal of the C-1 and A-3 pulleys. The C-1 and A-3 pulleys were retained in each of the MFSS cable crimp repairs with less than 1 cm of exposure. Following the FW repair, the average increase in friction was 89% compared with an average of 53% for the MFSS repairs. Six of the 8 MFSS specimens achieved the UTS before any gap had occurred, whereas all of the FW repairs had more than 2 mm of gap before the UTS, indicating that the MFSS was a stiffer repair. The average UTS appeared similar for both groups. CONCLUSIONS: We describe a 2-strand multifilament stainless steel single cross-lock cable crimp flexor repair system. In our studies of this cable crimp system, we found that surgical exposure, average repair times, and friction were reduced compared to the traditional 4-strand cruciate FW repair. While demonstrating these benefits, the crimp repair also produced a stiff construct and high UTS and 2-mm gap force. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: A cable crimp flexor tendon repair may offer an attractive alternative to current repair methods. The benefits may be important especially for flexor tendon repair in zone 2 or for the repair of multiple tendons.

Concepts: Stainless steel, Strength of materials, Knee, Force, Titanium, Flexor digitorum profundus muscle, Tensile strength, Steel


We report the synthesis and application of an elastic, wearable crosslinked polymer layer (XPL) that mimics the properties of normal, youthful skin. XPL is made of a tunable polysiloxane-based material that can be engineered with specific elasticity, contractility, adhesion, tensile strength and occlusivity. XPL can be topically applied, rapidly curing at the skin interface without the need for heat- or light-mediated activation. In a pilot human study, we examined the performance of a prototype XPL that has a tensile modulus matching normal skin responses at low strain (<40%), and that withstands elongations exceeding 250%, elastically recoiling with minimal strain-energy loss on repeated deformation. The application of XPL to the herniated lower eyelid fat pads of 12 subjects resulted in an average 2-grade decrease in herniation appearance in a 5-point severity scale. The XPL platform may offer advanced solutions to compromised skin barrier function, pharmaceutical delivery and wound dressings.

Concepts: Materials science, Strength of materials, Elasticity, Linear elasticity, Elastic modulus, Skin, Tensile strength


Osteoporosis is characterised by trabecular bone loss resulting from increased osteoclast activation and unbalanced coupling between resorption and formation, which induces a thinning of trabeculae and trabecular perforations. Bisphosphonates are the frontline therapy for osteoporosis, which act by reducing bone remodelling, and are thought to prevent perforations and maintain microstructure. However, bisphosphonates may oversuppress remodelling resulting in accumulation of microcracks. This paper aims to investigate the effect of bisphosphonate treatment on microstructure and mechanical strength. Assessment of microdamage within the trabecular bone core was performed using synchrotron X-ray micro-CT linked to image analysis software. Bone from bisphosphonate-treated fracture patients exhibited fewer perforations but more numerous and larger microcracks than both fracture and non-fracture controls. Furthermore, bisphosphonate-treated bone demonstrated reduced tensile strength and Young’s Modulus. These findings suggest that bisphosphonate therapy is effective at reducing perforations but may also cause microcrack accumulation, leading to a loss of microstructural integrity and consequently, reduced mechanical strength.

Concepts: Multiple myeloma, Materials science, Osteoclast, Solid mechanics, Tensile strength, Bone, Bisphosphonate, Osteoporosis


Glasses with high elastic moduli have been in demand for many years because the thickness of such glasses can be reduced while maintaining its strength. Moreover, thinner and lighter glasses are desired for the fabrication of windows in buildings and cars, cover glasses for smart-phones and substrates in Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) displays. In this work, we report a 54Al2O3-46Ta2O5 glass fabricated by aerodynamic levitation which possesses one of the highest elastic moduli and hardness for oxide glasses also displaying excellent optical properties. The glass was colorless and transparent in the visible region, and its refractive index nd was as high as 1.94. The measured Young’s modulus and Vickers hardness were 158.3 GPa and 9.1 GPa, respectively, which are comparable to the previously reported highest values for oxide glasses. Analysis made using (27)Al Magic Angle Spinning Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (MAS NMR) spectroscopy revealed the presence of a significantly large fraction of high-coordinated Al in addition to four-coordinated Al in the glass. The high elastic modulus and hardness are attributed to both the large cationic field strength of Ta(5+) ions and the large dissociation energies per unit volume of Al2O3 and Ta2O5.

Concepts: Glass, Tensile strength, Elastic modulus, Light, Hardness, Stiffness, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Young's modulus


In modern neuroscience, significant progress in developing structural scaffolds integrated with the brain is provided by the increasing use of nanomaterials. We show that a multiwalled carbon nanotube self-standing framework, consisting of a three-dimensional (3D) mesh of interconnected, conductive, pure carbon nanotubes, can guide the formation of neural webs in vitro where the spontaneous regrowth of neurite bundles is molded into a dense random net. This morphology of the fiber regrowth shaped by the 3D structure supports the successful reconnection of segregated spinal cord segments. We further observed in vivo the adaptability of these 3D devices in a healthy physiological environment. Our study shows that 3D artificial scaffolds may drive local rewiring in vitro and hold great potential for the development of future in vivo interfaces.

Concepts: Nanotechnology, Tensile strength, Graphene, In vivo, In vitro, Graphite, Carbon, Carbon nanotube


The response of amorphous steels to shock wave compression has been explored for the first time. Further, the effect of partial devitrification on the shock response of bulk metallic glasses is examined by conducting experiments on two iron-based in situ metallic glass matrix composites, containing varying amounts of crystalline precipitates, both with initial composition Fe49.7Cr17.7Mn1.9Mo7.4W1.6B15.2C3.8Si2.4. The samples, designated SAM2X5-600 and SAM2X5-630, are X-ray amorphous and partially crystalline, respectively, due to differences in sintering parameters during sample preparation. Shock response is determined by making velocity measurements using interferometry techniques at the rear free surface of the samples, which have been subjected to impact from a high-velocity projectile launched from a powder gun. Experiments have yielded results indicating a Hugoniot Elastic Limit (HEL) to be 8.58 ± 0.53 GPa for SAM2X5-600 and 11.76 ± 1.26 GPa for SAM2X5-630. The latter HEL result is higher than elastic limits for any BMG reported in the literature thus far. SAM2X5-600 catastrophically loses post-yield strength whereas SAM2X5-630, while showing some strain-softening, retains strength beyond the HEL. The presence of crystallinity within the amorphous matrix is thus seen to significantly aid in strengthening the material as well as preserving material strength beyond yielding.

Concepts: Shock wave, Amorphous solids, Materials science, Amorphous metal, Metal, Tensile strength, Solid, Glass


Understanding the compatibility between spider silk and conducting materials is essential to advance the use of spider silk in electronic applications. Spider silk is tough, but becomes soft when exposed to water. Here we report a strong affinity of amine-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes for spider silk, with coating assisted by a water and mechanical shear method. The nanotubes adhere uniformly and bond to the silk fibre surface to produce tough, custom-shaped, flexible and electrically conducting fibres after drying and contraction. The conductivity of coated silk fibres is reversibly sensitive to strain and humidity, leading to proof-of-concept sensor and actuator demonstrations.

Concepts: Spider, Carbon nanotube, Fiber, Materials science, Continuum mechanics, Tensile strength, Spider silk, Silk


Additive manufacturing allows for the production of complex parts with minimum material waste, offering an effective technique for fabricating permanent magnets which frequently involve critical rare earth elements. In this report, we demonstrate a novel method - Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) - to fabricate isotropic near-net-shape NdFeB bonded magnets with magnetic and mechanical properties comparable or better than those of traditional injection molded magnets. The starting polymer magnet composite pellets consist of 65 vol% isotropic NdFeB powder and 35 vol% polyamide (Nylon-12). The density of the final BAAM magnet product reached 4.8 g/cm(3), and the room temperature magnetic properties are: intrinsic coercivity Hci = 688.4 kA/m, remanence Br = 0.51 T, and energy product (BH)max = 43.49 kJ/m(3) (5.47 MGOe). In addition, tensile tests performed on four dog-bone shaped specimens yielded an average ultimate tensile strength of 6.60 MPa and an average failure strain of 4.18%. Scanning electron microscopy images of the fracture surfaces indicate that the failure is primarily related to the debonding of the magnetic particles from the polymer binder. The present method significantly simplifies manufacturing of near-net-shape bonded magnets, enables efficient use of rare earth elements thus contributing towards enriching the supply of critical materials.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic moment, Lodestone, Nylon, Tensile strength, Magnetic field, Magnet, Magnetism


The teeth of limpets exploit distinctive composite nanostructures consisting of high volume fractions of reinforcing goethite nanofibres within a softer protein phase to provide mechanical integrity when rasping over rock surfaces during feeding. The tensile strength of discrete volumes of limpet tooth material measured using in situ atomic force microscopy was found to range from 3.0 to 6.5 GPa and was independent of sample size. These observations highlight an absolute material tensile strength that is the highest recorded for a biological material, outperforming the high strength of spider silk currently considered to be the strongest natural material, and approaching values comparable to those of the strongest man-made fibres. This considerable tensile strength of limpet teeth is attributed to a high mineral volume fraction of reinforcing goethite nanofibres with diameters below a defect-controlled critical size, suggesting that natural design in limpet teeth is optimized towards theoretical strength limits.

Concepts: Fiber, Pressure, Scientific method, Materials science, Teeth, Spider silk, Thermodynamics, Tensile strength