Crystallographic interdigitation in oyster shell folia enhances material strength

Meng, Y., Fitzer, S. C. , Chung, P., Li, C., Thiyagarajan, V. and Cusack, M. (2018) Crystallographic interdigitation in oyster shell folia enhances material strength. Crystal Growth and Design, 18(7), pp. 3753-3761. (doi:10.1021/acs.cgd.7b01481)

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Shells of oyster species belonging to the genus Crassostrea have similar shell microstructural features comprising well-ordered calcite folia. However, the mechanical strengths of folia differ dramatically between closely related species. For example, the calcareous shells of the Hong Kong oyster Crassostrea hongkongensis are stronger than those of its closest relative, the Portuguese oyster, Crassostrea angulata. Specifically, after removal of organic content, the folia of C. hongkongensis are 200% tougher and able to withstand a 100% higher crushing force than that of C. angulata. Detailed analyses of shell structural and mechanical features support the hypothesis that crystallographic interdigitations confer elevated mechanical strength in C. hongkongensis oyster shells compared to C. angulata shells. Consequently, the folia of C. hongkongensis are structurally equipped to withstand a higher external load compared to C. angulata. The observed relationships between oyster shell structure, crystallography, and mechanical properties provided an insightful context in which to consider the likely fate of these two species in future climate change scenarios. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary approach developed in this study through integrating electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) data into finite element analysis (FEA) could be applied to other biomineral systems to investigate the relationship between crystallography and mechanical behavior.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:S.F. acknowledges the support of the University of Glasgow Principal’s Early Career Mobility Scheme. This study was supported by RGC grants (705511P and 15219314), SKLMP Seed Collaborative Research Fund (2017) (SKLMP/SCRF/0019) and SFC/RGC Joint Research Scheme (X_HKU704/14) to V.T.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cusack, Professor Maggie and Chung, Mr Peter and Fitzer, Dr Susan
Authors: Meng, Y., Fitzer, S. C., Chung, P., Li, C., Thiyagarajan, V., and Cusack, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Crystal Growth and Design
Publisher:American Chemical Society
ISSN (Online):1528-7505
Published Online:21 May 2018

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