All animals, including humans, have evolved with the ability to cut and pierce through tissue to feed and defend. Teeth, claws, nails, quills, etc. are geometrically designed by nature to achieve sufficient sharpness based on the mechanical properties of the materials involved. But how do we determine ‘sufficient sharpness’? There are important scaling considerations which, require accurate mechanical modeling to respond to this question.
To completely understand the mechanics of cutting and piercing, scientists need to better understand fracture nucleation and propagation in nonlinear material, under severe contact loading.
This project is funded by the Human Frontiers in Science Program, involves several members of the Micro & Nano Mechanics Group, and is carried in collaboration with Dr. David Labonte (Imperial College, London) and Dr. Nathalie Holt (University of California, Riverside).