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  1. Knobby starfish construct a skeleton with a periodic porous lattice from single-crystal calcite for enhanced protection.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 11, 2023
  2. Cuttlefish, a unique group of marine mollusks, produces an internal biomineralized shell, known as cuttlebone, which is an ultra-lightweight cellular structure (porosity, ∼93 vol%) used as the animal’s hard buoyancy tank. Although cuttlebone is primarily composed of a brittle mineral, aragonite, the structure is highly damage tolerant and can withstand water pressure of about 20 atmospheres (atm) for the speciesSepia officinalis. Currently, our knowledge on the structural origins for cuttlebone’s remarkable mechanical performance is limited. Combining quantitative three-dimensional (3D) structural characterization, four-dimensional (4D) mechanical analysis, digital image correlation, and parametric simulations, here we reveal that the characteristic chambered “wall–septa” microstructure of cuttlebone, drastically distinct from other natural or engineering cellular solids, allows for simultaneous high specific stiffness (8.4 MN⋅m/kg) and energy absorption (4.4 kJ/kg) upon loading. We demonstrate that the vertical walls in the chambered cuttlebone microstructure have evolved an optimal waviness gradient, which leads to compression-dominant deformation and asymmetric wall fracture, accomplishing both high stiffness and high energy absorption. Moreover, the distribution of walls is found to reduce stress concentrations within the horizontal septa, facilitating a larger chamber crushing stress and a more significant densification. The design strategies revealed here can provide important lessons for the development of low-density,more »stiff, and damage-tolerant cellular ceramics.

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  3. Metal additive manufacturing (AM) provides a platform for microstructure optimization via process control, but establishing a quantitative processing-microstructure linkage necessitates an efficient scheme for microstructure representation and regeneration. Here, we present a deep learning framework to quantitatively analyze the microstructural variations of metals fabricated by AM under different processing conditions. The principal microstructural descriptors are extracted directly from the electron backscatter diffraction patterns, enabling a quantitative measure of the microstructure differences in a reduced representation domain. We also demonstrate the capability of predicting new microstructures within the representation domain using a regeneration neural network, from which we are able to explore the physical insights into the implicitly expressed microstructure descriptors by mapping the regenerated microstructures as a function of principal component values. We validate the effectiveness of the framework using samples fabricated by a solid-state AM technology, additive friction stir deposition, which typically results in equiaxed microstructures.