Model for the robust mechanical behavior of nacre

A. G. Evans, Z. Suo, R. Z. Wang, Ilhan A. Aksay, M. Y. He, J. W. Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

312 Scopus citations


The inelastic deformation of nacre that leads to its structural robustness has been characterized in a recent experimental study. This article develops a model for the inelastic behavior, measured in tension, along the axis of the aragonite plates. The model is based on observations for abalone nacre that the inelasticity is associated with periodic dilatation bands. These bands contain coordinated separations at the periphery of the plates. The separations open as the material strains. The response is attributed to nanoscale asperities on the surfaces of the plates. The model calculates the stresses needed to displace the plates, resisted by elastic contacts at the asperities. The results are compared with the measured stress/strain curves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2475-2482
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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