Bioinspired hierarchical alumina-graphene oxide-poly(vinyl alcohol) artificial nacre with optimized strength and toughness

Jinrong Wang*, Jinliang Qiao, Jianfeng Wang, Ying Zhu, Lei Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Due to hierarchical organization of micro- and nanostructures, natural nacre exhibits extraordinary strength and toughness, and thus provides a superior model for the design and fabrication of high-performance artificial composite materials. Although great progress has been made in constructing layered composites by alternately stacking hard inorganic platelets and soft polymers, the real issue is that the excellent strength of these composites was obtained at the sacrifice of toughness. In this work, inspired by the layered aragonite microplatelets/chitin nanofibers-protein structure of natural nacre, alumina microplatelets-graphene oxide nanosheets-poly(vinyl alcohol) (Al2O3/GO-PVA) artificial nacre is successfully constructed through layer-by-layer bottom-up assembly, in which Al2O3 and GO-PVA act as "bricks" and "mortar", respectively. The artificial nacre has hierarchical "brick-and-mortar" structure and exhibits excellent strength (143 ± 13 MPa) and toughness (9.2 ± 2.7 MJ/m3), which are superior to those of natural nacre (80-135 MPa, 1.8 MJ/m3). It was demonstrated that the multiscale hierarchical structure of ultrathin GO nanosheets and submicrometer-thick Al2O3 platelets can deal with the conflict between strength and toughness, thus leading to the excellent mechanical properties that cannot be obtained using only one size of platelet. We strongly believe that the work presented here provides a creative strategy for designing and developing new composites with excellent strength and toughness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9281-9286
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number17
StatePublished - May 6 2015


  • bioinspiration
  • graphene oxide
  • hierarchical structure
  • mechanical properties
  • nacre

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Bioinspired hierarchical alumina-graphene oxide-poly(vinyl alcohol) artificial nacre with optimized strength and toughness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this