Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Michael Porter, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Blob

Committee Member

Dr. Suyi Li

Abstract

Despite the relative compliance of cartilage compared to bone, many chondrichthyans are capable of thriving at a variety of extremes, including: living in high-pressure environments, supporting massive body weights and muscular loads, or feeding on hard-bodied prey. Although there is extensive literature on shark feeding mechanics, cranial anatomy, and tooth structure and function, questions still surround the structural foundation of the chondrichthyan feeding mechanism in polydontic models. Consequently, the efficacy of shark jaws to withstand loads experienced during feeding is a topic of interest among biologists and engineers alike. Polydontic bio-inspired models were developed through additive manufacturing and tested in bending and compression, and the stress distribution through each was approximated to investigate the structural significance of different dentition patterns. This study could provide further insight into design elements in biological systems and their influence on the mechanical behavior through a novel investigation of a rigid staggered element pattern. The results of this research reveal the potential utility of the system with flexible armor engineering applications. We hypothesized that our results would reveal a common theme in biological systems; the staggered dentition patterning in the chondrichthyan jaws will provide an increase in rigidity that is demonstrated by the overlapping elements found in other biological systems, such as abalone nacre, mineralized collagen fibrils, and multilayered silica glass sponges. However, our results proved otherwise. While factors such as tooth depth and file spacing had an influence on the stiffness of the system, the dentition patterning had a minimal impact.

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