Characterization of cuttlebone for a biomimetic design of cellular structures

Joseph Cadman, Shiwei Zhou, Yuhang Chen, Wei Li, Richard Appleyard, Qing Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Cuttlebone is a natural material possessing the multifunctional properties of high porosity, high flexural stiffness and compressive strength, making it a fine example of design optimization of cellular structures created by nature. Examination of cuttlebone using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) reveals an approximately periodic microstructure, appropriate for computational characterization using direct homogenization techniques. In this paper, volume fractions and stiffness tensors were determined based on two different unit cell models that were extracted from two different cuttlefish samples. These characterized results were then used as the target values in an inverse homogenization procedure aiming to re-generate microstructures with the same properties as cuttlebone. Unit cells with similar topologies to the original cuttlebone unit cells were achieved, attaining the same volume fraction (i.e. bulk density) and the same (or very close) stiffness tensor. In addition, a range of alternate unit cell topologies were achieved also attaining the target properties, revealing the non-unique nature of this inverse homogenization problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalActa Mechanica Sinica/Lixue Xuebao
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


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