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Bio-inspired impact resistant coatings


Protective coatings are commonly used to extend the service life of components or structures to provide a barrier against unexpected damage and harsh environments by improving the surface hardness, corrosion resistance, or oxidation resistance of materials. The objective of this research is to develop a biomimetic coating inspired by the impact resistant nanocomposite coating found on the dactyl club of the Odontodactylus scyllarus (i.e., the peacock mantis shrimp). These scalable sacrificial coatings would provide added impact protection to core structural components to extend their service life or to prevent catastrophic failure during impacts or collisions. This study will investigate the protective capabilities of a manmade analog comprised of inorganic (silicon carbide) nanoparticles embedded within an organic (chitosan) matrix. By varying particle loading, we can modulate the extent of energy dissipation and damping. Drop casting or spray deposition methods are used to yield thin-film coatings which localize damage and decrease penetration depth, thus protecting underlying substrates and improving overall impact resistance. The results show that up to a certain degree, additional particle loading improves impact resistance, which shows promise in potential implementations in the automotive, aerospace, and energy industries without adding significant weight.

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