New Sutural Gabions will Resist Impact and Vibrations

MIE Associate Professor Yaning Li, in collaboration with Jongmin Shim from the University at Buffalo, is leading a $667K NSF grant for “Bio-Inspired Impact-Resistant Phononic Sutural Gabions.”

Abstract Source: NSF

Sutures in biological systems play an important role in resisting high impact and hazardous vibrations. Examples of these sutures can be found in woodpecker beaks and plant seedcoats. At a much larger scale, certain engineered seawalls using gabions resist impact from breaking waves and control erosion. Inspired by biological sutures and engineering gabions, a new family of composite materials named ‘sutural gabions’ are researched in this project. Compared to traditional materials, the new designs are expected to significantly mitigate adverse effects from impact and vibrations. This new family of composite material designs is expected to have broad applications in the next generation of shock-proof materials. These could be employed in applications ranging from built infrastructure to biomedical materials. As a result, the new knowledge generated from this project will advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare. By integrating mechanics, materials science, and additive manufacturing, this project will also provide training opportunities to diverse groups of students. The researched outreach efforts will also provide hand-on activities relating to engineering, sciences, and arts.

The project will focus on revealing the fundamental mechanics behind the superior dynamic properties of biological sutures and engineered gabions. This will be accomplished by developing a comprehensive framework providing impact-resistant phononic sutural gabions. Fully integrated approaches will be employed, including nonlinear finite element simulations, advanced multi-material 3D printing, and mechanical experiments via electrodynamic shaker, drop tower, and split-Hopkinson pressure bars. The project will generate new knowledge to expedite research in designing innovative structural materials with unconventional mechanical properties. By bridging mechanics and materials, the project will promote two research avenues: one focusing on protective multi-phase composites, and the other centering on soft phononic multi-functional materials.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Related Faculty: Yaning Li

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering