Bioinspired material architectures from bighorn sheep horncore velar bone for impact loading applications


Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep rams (Ovis canadensis canadensis) routinely conduct intraspecific combat where high energy cranial impacts are experienced. Previous studies have estimated cranial impact forces to be up to 3400 N during ramming, and prior finite element modeling studies showed the bony horncore stores 3 × more strain energy than the horn during impact. In the current study, the architecture of the porous bone within the horncore was quantified, mimicked, analyzed by finite element modeling, fabricated via additive manufacturing, and mechanically tested to determine the suitability of the novel bioinspired material architecture for use in running shoe midsoles. The iterative biomimicking design approach was able to tailor the mechanical behavior of the porous bone mimics. The approach produced 3D printed mimics that performed similarly to ethylene–vinyl acetate shoe materials in quasi-static loading. Furthermore, a quadratic relationship was discovered between impact force and stiffness in the porous bone mimics, which indicates a range of stiffness values that prevents impact force from becoming excessively high. These findings have implications for the design of novel bioinspired material architectures for minimizing impact force.

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Scientific Reports