Spiral honeycomb microstructured bacterial cellulose for increased strength and toughness

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Natural materials, such as nacre and silk, exhibit both high strength and toughness due to their hierarchical structures highly organized at the nano-, micro-, and macroscales. Bacterial cellulose (BC) presents a hierarchical fibril structure at the nanoscale. At the microscale, however, BC nanofibers are distributed randomly. Here, BC self-Assembles into a highly organized spiral honeycomb microstructure giving rise to a high tensile strength (315 MPa) and a high toughness value (17.8 MJ m-3), with pull-out and de-spiral morphologies observed during failure. Both experiments and finite-element simulations indicate improved mechanical properties resulting from the honeycomb structure. The mild fabrication process consists of an in situ fermentation step utilizing poly(vinyl alcohol), followed by a post-Treatment including freezing-Thawing and boiling. This simple self-Assembly production process is highly scalable, does not require any toxic chemicals, and enables the fabrication of light, strong, and tough hierarchical composite materials with tunable shape and size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50748–50755
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • bio-inspired materials
  • biocomposites
  • cellular materials
  • self-Assembly
  • sustainability


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