Many bio-structures, such as the paddlefish rostrum, owe their remarkable resistance to permanent deformation to an optimized arrangement of hard and soft materials. This study utilizes the unique characteristics seen in biological systems to determine the optimized composition of hard and soft materials to develop an enhanced damping mechanism for dynamic load resistance. This work develops novel 3D printed prototypes inspired by the material composition of the paddlefish rostrum. The design-test-build cycle of the prototypes will consist of numerical analyses to inform the experimental boundary conditions and multi-material configuration. In biological systems, the boundary conditions determine an optimized material configuration. This study consists of quasi-static flexure experiments under different load and displacement boundary conditions to determine the optimized configuration for the given boundary condition. This investigation compares the prototypes' deformation, load transfer distribution, shear capacity, and the optimized material configuration per specific load and displacement boundary conditions against other samples with single material properties. When compared to isotropic materials currently in use, bio-inspired, multi-material structures demonstrate an enhanced stress to deformation performance . The study also determined the best material layup for the 3D printed prototype for each of the load and displacement boundary conditions.
Lightweight structures are in demand in many application areas since they provide an optimum use of available resources. For example, in the transportation and aviation industries, lightweight structures increase the energy efficiency. However, lightweight structures need to have adequate strength for their safe usage. This work investigates the performance of novel proof-of-concept structural systems developed based on the rostrum (snout) of the paddlefish. Numerical experiments are conducted on the conceptual prototypes of bioinspired, energy- dissipative mechanical system models with different lattice patterns that mimic those found in the rostrum of the paddlefish. The performance of the models is quantified in terms of deformations and maximum principal stresses experienced by the model under a blast load using fixed plate and cantilever beam boundary conditions. The bioinspired models showed identical trends of stress and deformation. However, the heterogeneous bioinspired structures showed a decrease of 30% in deformation and experienced lower stresses as compared to a structure with identical geometry and homogeneous material properties.