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Published November 2021 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Supersonic impact resilience of nanoarchitected carbon


Architected materials with nanoscale features have enabled extreme combinations of properties by exploiting the ultralightweight structural design space together with size-induced mechanical enhancement at small scales. Apart from linear waves in metamaterials, this principle has been restricted to quasi-static properties or to low-speed phenomena, leaving nanoarchitected materials under extreme dynamic conditions largely unexplored. Here, using supersonic microparticle impact experiments, we demonstrate extreme impact energy dissipation in three-dimensional nanoarchitected carbon materials that exhibit mass-normalized energy dissipation superior to that of traditional impact-resistant materials such as steel, aluminium, polymethyl methacrylate and Kevlar. In-situ ultrahigh-speed imaging and post-mortem confocal microscopy reveal consistent mechanisms such as compaction cratering and microparticle capture that enable this superior response. By analogy to planetary impact, we introduce predictive tools for crater formation in these materials using dimensional analysis. These results substantially uncover the dynamic regime over which nanoarchitecture enables the design of ultralightweight, impact-resistant materials that could open the way to design principles for lightweight armour, protective coatings and blast-resistant shields for sensitive electronics.

Additional Information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited 2021. Received 14 July 2020; Accepted 06 May 2021; Published 24 June 2021. C.M.P. and D.M.K. acknowledge financial support from Office of Naval Research Award N00014-16-1-2431. J.R.G. acknowledges support from the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship. D.V., Y.S. and K.A.N. acknowledge support by the US Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN), under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-18-2-0048. The authors thank W. J. Schill for valuable discussions. Data availability: The data supporting the findings of this study are available within this article and its Supplementary Information. Author Contributions: C.M.P., D.V., K.A.N., D.M.K. and J.R.G. designed the study and interpreted the results. C.M.P. and B.W.E. fabricated the samples and conducted nanomechanical experiments. D.V. and Y.S. performed the impact experiments. C.M.P. and B.W.E. analysed all data. C.M.P., K.A.N. and J.R.G. supervised the project. C.M.P., D.M.K. and J.R.G. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Materials thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023