Advanced Materials

Mechanical Function of a Complex Three-Dimensional Suture Joining the Bony Elements in the Shell of the Red-Eared Slider Turtle



The shell of turtles is a shield which needs to be stiff at high loads but should provide sufficient flexibility for respiration and locomotion at smaller loads. We show that this seemingly contradictory requirement is met by a self-locking material, whereby stiff bony elements are connected by a much softer suture with a complex three-dimensional shape.

original image