Predicting the Mechanical Properties of Biological Inspired Diatoms

M.F.D. Moreno, L.P. Davila, and F. Viscarra
University of California at Merced, Merced, CA, USA

Our computational work has focused on calculating the mechanical properties of diatom silica structures using COMSOL Multiphysics. We have used selected diatom geometries based on their structure classification and different loading conditions. Various 3D structures were modeled on Pro/ENGINEER, and then exported to COMSOL for further analysis. The mechanical behavior of diatom structures was examined while varying their pore size and location configurations. These simulations were run by adjusting parameters such as material properties, loads and constraints in order to mimic experimental tests. Based on preliminary results, we derived the elastic modulus of the diatom structures from the stress-strain curves under tension and compression loadings and analyzed the dependence on diatom diameter and pore size for different diatom species. Results were compared with recent experimental findings for evaluating the accuracy of the simulations performed. This research contributes to improve the knowledge of the mechanical behavior of biomaterials such as diatoms and it moves a step towards their future applications in photonics, self-repair devices and templates for nanotechnology applications.