Materials Science

Glassy carbon for maximum impact

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Science  11 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6462, pp. 197-198
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6462.197-b

Materials designed for impact absorption need to be able not only to cope with high-stress deformations but also to accommodate high strain, as the energy absorbed is the integral of the stress-strain response. Although lightweight designed materials, such as those based on trusses, can show high strength or high deformability, they usually cannot do both. Guell Izard et al. devised an architected material with smooth interconnected surfaces, similar to a shell, that they fabricated out of glassy carbon. Under optimal conditions with a spinodal topology, the propagation of cracks is impeded as they do not align with the stress direction. This enables a slow, progressive failure during impact, and thus higher energy absorption.

Small 10.1002/smll.201903834 (2019).

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