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Hindered Crack Propagation in Materials with Periodically Varying Young's Modulus—Lessons from Biological Materials


  • F. D. Fischer and O. Kolednik acknowledge the financial support by the Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH, the Province of Styria, the Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH and the Municipality of Leoben under the frame of the Austrian Kplus Programme under the project number SP18. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the authors.


Many biological materials, such as glass sponges, nacre or bone have a lamellar structure. While it is well known that weak interfaces between lamellae may deflect cracks and, thus, increase the toughness, we analyze the influence of periodic variations in Young's modulus. Even without weak interfaces, a ratio of 5 between maximum and minimum modulus can be sufficient to stop a crack in the vicinity of the stiffness minimum.

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