Electrically assisted 3D printing of nacre-inspired structures with self-sensing capability

Yang Yang, Xiangjia Li, Ming Chu, Haofan Sun, Jie Jin, Kunhao Yu, Qiming Wang, Qifa Zhou, Yong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Lightweight and strong structural materials attract much attention due to their strategic applications in sports, transportation, aerospace, and biomedical industries. Nacre exhibits high strength and toughness from the brickand-mortar-like structure. Here, we present a route to build nacre-inspired hierarchical structures with complex three-dimensional (3D) shapes by electrically assisted 3D printing. Graphene nanoplatelets (GNs) are aligned by the electric field (433 V/cm) during 3D printing and act as bricks with the polymer matrix in between as mortar. The 3D-printed nacre with aligned GNs (2 weight %) shows lightweight property (1.06 g/cm3) while exhibiting comparable specific toughness and strength to the natural nacre. In addition, the 3D-printed lightweight smart armor with aligned GNs can sense its damage with a hesitated resistance change. This study highlights interesting possibilities for bioinspired structures, with integrated mechanical reinforcement and electrical self-sensing capabilities for biomedical applications, aerospace engineering, as well as military and sports armors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaau9490
JournalScience Advances
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrically assisted 3D printing of nacre-inspired structures with self-sensing capability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this