Mechanics of Cutting and Piercing

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 essential scaling considerations that require accurate mechanical modeling to respond to this question. To completely understand the mechanics of cutting and piercing, scientists need to understand better 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 out in collaboration with Dr. David Labonte (Imperial College, London) and Dr. Nathalie Holt (University of California, Riverside).

Selected papers

S Fregonese, M Bacca (2022). How friction and adhesion affect the mechanics of deep penetration in soft solids. Soft Matter 18 (36), 6882-6887

S Fregonese, M Bacca (2021). Piercing soft solids: A mechanical theory for needle insertion. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 154, 104497