Flexural behavior of 3D printed bio-inspired interlocking suture structures

Sachini Wickramasinghe, Truong Do, Phuong Tran

Article ID: 9
Vol 1, Issue 2, 2022, Article identifier:9

VIEWS - 131 (Abstract) 38 (Full-Text)


Additive manufacturing has allowed producing various complex structures inspired by natural materials. In this research, the bio-inspired suture structure was 3D printed using the fused deposition modeling printing technique to study its bending response behavior. Suture is one of the most commonly found structures in biological bodies. The primary purpose of this structure in nature is to improve flexibility by absorbing energy without causing permeant damage to the biological structure. An interesting discovery of the suture joint in diabolical ironclad beetle has given a great opportunity to further study the behavior of these natural suture designs. Inspired by the elliptical shape and the interlocking features of this suture, specimens were designed and 3D printed using polylactic acid thermoplastic polymer. A three-point bending test was then conducted to analyze the flexural behavior of each suture design, while digital image correlation and numerical simulation were performed to capture the insights of deformation process.


Suture structure; Fused deposition modeling; Three-point bending; Digital image correlation; Numerical simulation

Full Text:



Ghazlan A, Ngo T, Tan P, et al., 2021, Inspiration from nature’s body armours-a review of biological and bioinspired composites. Compos B Eng, 205: 108513. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesb.2020.108513

Ahamed MK, Wang H, Hazell PJ, 2022, From biology to biomimicry: Using nature to build better structures a review. Constr Build Mater, 320: 126195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2021.126195

Du Plessis A, Broeckhoven C, Yadroitsava I, et al., 2019, Beautiful and functional: A review of biomimetic design in additive manufacturing. Addit Manuf, 27: 408–427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2019.03.033

Plocher J, Mencattelli L, Narducci F, et al., 2021, Learning from nature: Bio-inspiration for damage-tolerant high-performance fibre-reinforced composites. Compos Sci Technol, 208: 108669. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compscitech.2021.108669

Liu J, Li S, Fox K, et al., 2022, 3D concrete printing of bioinspired bouligand structure: A study on impact resistance. Addit Manuf, 50: 102544. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2021.102544

Tee YL, Maconachie T, Pille P, et al., 2021, From nature to additive manufacturing: Biomimicry of porcupine quill. Mater Des, 210: 110041. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2021.110041

Peng C, Tran P, 2020, Bioinspired functionally graded gyroid sandwich panel subjected to impulsive loadings. Compos B Eng, 188: 107773. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesb.2020.107773

Achrai B, Wagner HD, 2013, Micro-structure and mechanical properties of the turtle carapace as a biological composite shield. Acta Biomater, 9: 5890–5902. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2012.12.023

Krauss S, Monsonego‐Ornan E, Zelzer E, et al., 2009, Mechanical function of a complex three‐dimensional suture joining the bony elements in the shell of the red‐eared slider turtle. Adv Mater, 21: 407–412. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.200801256

Lee N, Horstemeyer M, Rhee H, et al., 2014, Hierarchical multiscale structure-property relationships of the red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) beak. J R Soc Interf, 11: 20140274. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2014.0274

Liu Z, Zhang Z, Ritchie RO, 2020, Interfacial toughening effect of suture structures. Acta Biomater, 102: 75–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2019.11.034

Vincent JF, Wegst UG, 2004, Design and mechanical properties of insect cuticle. Arthrop Struct Dev, 33: 187–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asd.2004.05.006

Yang W, Naleway SE, Porter MM, et al., 2015, The armored carapace of the boxfish. Acta Biomater, 23: 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2015.05.024

Magwene PM, Socha JJ, 2013, Biomechanics of turtle shells: How whole shells fail in compression. J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet, 319: 86–98. https://doi.org/10.1002/jez.1773

Jia Z, Yu Y, Wang L, 2019, Learning from nature: Use material architecture to break the performance tradeoffs. Mater Des, 168: 107650. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2019.107650

Chen IH, Yang W, Meyers MA, 2015, Leatherback sea turtle shell: A tough and flexible biological design. Acta Biomater, 28: 2–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2015.09.023

Alheit B, Bargmann S, Reddy B, 2020, Computationally modelling the mechanical behaviour of turtle shell sutures a natural interlocking structure. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater, 110: 103973. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.103973

Gao C, Li Y, 2019, Mechanical model of bio-inspired composites with sutural tessellation. J Mech Phys Solids, 122: 190–204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2018.09.015

Lin E, Li Y, Ortiz C, et al., 2014, 3D printed, bio-inspired prototypes and analytical models for structured suture interfaces with geometrically-tuned deformation and failure behavior. J Mech Phys Solids, 73: 166–182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2014.08.011

Malik IA, Mirkhalaf M, Barthelat F, 2017, Bio-inspired “jigsaw”-like interlocking sutures: Modeling, optimization, 3D printing and testing. J Mech Phys Solids, 102: 224–238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2017.03.003

Schmidt MJ, Farke D, Staszyk C, et al., 2022, Closure times of neurocranial sutures and synchondroses in Persian compared to Domestic Shorthair cats. Sci Rep, 12: 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-04783-1

Nicolay CW, Vaders MJ, 2006, Cranial suture complexity in white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). J Morphol, 267: 841–849. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmor.10445

Bailleul AM, Scannella JB, Horner JR, et al., 2016, Fusion patterns in the skulls of modern archosaurs reveal that sutures are ambiguous maturity indicators for the Dinosauria. PLoS One, 11: e0147687. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0147687

Rivera J, Hosseini MS, Restrepo D, et al., 2020, Toughening mechanisms of the elytra of the diabolical ironclad beetle. Nature, 586: 543–548.

Arakane Y, Lomakin J, Gehrke SH, et al., 2012, Formation of rigid, non-flight forewings (elytra) of a beetle requires two major cuticular proteins. PLoS Genet, 8: e1002682. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002682

Fédrigo O, Wray GA, 2010, Developmental evolution: How beetles evolved their shields. Curr Biol, 20: R64–R66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.012

Linz DM, Hu AW, Sitvarin MI, et al., 2016, Functional value of elytra under various stresses in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Sci Rep, 6: 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep34813

Tomoyasu Y, Arakane Y, Kramer KJ, et al., 2009, Repeated co-options of exoskeleton formation during wing-to-elytron evolution in beetles. Curr Biol, 19: 2057–2065. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.014

Chen PY, 2020, Diabolical ironclad beetles inspire tougher joints for engineering applications. Nature, 586: 502–504. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-02840-1

Lazarus BS, Velasco-Hogan A, Gómez-del Río T, et al., 2020, A review of impact resistant biological and bioinspired materials and structures. J Mater Res Technol, 9: 15705– 15738. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmrt.2020.10.062

Huang W, Restrepo D, Jung JY, et al., 2019, Multiscale toughening mechanisms in biological materials and bioinspired designs. Adv Mater, 31: 1901561. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201901561

Studart AR, 2016, Additive manufacturing of biologically-inspired materials. Chem Soc Rev, 45: 359–376. https://doi.org/10.1039/C5CS00836K

Gharde S, Surendren A, Korde JM, et al., 2019, Recent advances in additive manufacturing of bio-inspired materials. In: Biomanufacturing, Springer, Berlin, p35–68. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-13951-3_2

Dev S, Srivastava R, 2021, Effect of infill parameters on material sustainability and mechanical properties in fused deposition modelling process: A case study. Prog Addit Manuf, 6: 631–642.

Gu GX, Chen CT, Richmond DJ, et al., 2018, Bioinspired hierarchical composite design using machine learning: simulation, additive manufacturing, and experiment. Mater Horiz, 5: 939–945. https://doi.org/10.1039/C8MH00653A

Dimas LS, Buehler M, 2014, Modeling and additive manufacturing of bio-inspired composites with tunable fracture mechanical properties. Soft Matter, 10: 4436–4442. https://doi.org/10.1039/C3SM52890A

Samykano M, Selvamani S, Kadirgama K, et al., 2019, Mechanical property of FDM printed ABS: Influence of printing parameters. Int J Adv Manuf Technol, 102: 2779–2796. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-019-03313-0

Mazzanti V, Malagutti L, Mollica F, 2019, FDM 3D printing of polymers containing natural fillers: A review of their mechanical properties. Polymers, 11: 1094. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071094

Cuiffo MA, Snyder J, Elliott AM, et al., 2017, Impact of the fused deposition (FDM) printing process on polylactic acid (PLA) chemistry and structure. Appl Sci, 7: 579. https://doi.org/10.3390/app7060579

Luis E, Pan HM, Sing SL, et al., 2020, 3D direct printing of silicone meniscus implant using a novel heat-cured extrusion-based printer. Polymers, 12: 1031. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12051031

Velasco‐Hogan A, Xu J, Meyers MA, 2018, Additive manufacturing as a method to design and optimize bioinspired structures. Adv Mater, 30: 1800940. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201800940

Wang D, Chen D, Chen Z, 2020, Recent progress in 3D printing of bioinspired structures. Front Mater, 7: 286. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmats.2020.00286

Ehrmann G, Ehrmann A, 2021, Investigation of the shape-memory properties of 3D printed PLA structures with different infills. Polymers, 13: 164. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010164

Raj SA, Muthukumaran E, Jayakrishna K, 2018, A case study of 3D printed PLA and its mechanical properties. Mater Today Proc, 5: 11219–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matpr.2018.01.146

Kiendl J, Gao C, 2020, Controlling toughness and strength of FDM 3D-printed PLA components through the raster layup. Compos B Eng, 180: 107562. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesb.2019.107562

Rajpurohit SR, Dave HK, 2018, Effect of process parameters on tensile strength of FDM printed PLA part. Rapid Prototyp J, 24: 1317–1324. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-06-2017-0134

Cao Y, Wang W, Wang J, et al., 2019, Experimental and numerical study on tensile failure behavior of bionic suture joints. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater, 92: 40–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2019.01.001

Malik IA, Barthelat F, 2018, Bioinspired sutured materials for strength and toughness: Pullout mechanisms and geometric enrichments. Int J Solids Struct, 138: 118–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2018.01.004

Miura T, Perlyn CA, Kinboshi M, et al., 2009, Mechanism of skull suture maintenance and interdigitation. J Anat, 215: 642–655. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01148.x

Standard A, 2014, ASTM D638-14 Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Plastics. ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA.

Blaber BA, Antoniou A, 2015, Ncorr: Open-source 2D digital image correlation matlab software. Exp Mech, 55: 1105–1122.

Peng C, Fox K, Qian M, et al., 2021, 3D printed sandwich beams with bioinspired cores: Mechanical performance and modelling. Thin Walled Struct, 161: 107471. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tws.2021.107471

Habib F, Iovenitti P, Masood S, et al., 2017, In-plane energy absorption evaluation of 3D printed polymeric honeycombs. Virtual Phys Prototyp, 12: 117–131. https://doi.org/10.1080/17452759.2017.1291354

Kardel K, Ghaednia H, Carrano AL, et al., Experimental and theoretical modeling of behavior of 3D-printed polymers under collision with a rigid rod. Addit Manuf, 14: 87–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2017.01.004

Lee SH, Lee KG, Hwang JH, et al., 2019, Evaluation of mechanical strength and bone regeneration ability of 3D printed kagome-structure scaffold using rabbit calvarial defect model. Mater Sci Eng C, 98: 949–959. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2019.01.050

Liu L, Jiang Y, Boyce M, et al., 2017, The effects of morphological irregularity on the mechanical behavior of interdigitated biological sutures under tension. J Biomech, 58: 71–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.04.017

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/msam.v1i2.9


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Author(s)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.